About Catlins

River Ridge Retreat

The Catlins is a major highlight and destination (a hidden gem) on the East coast of the South Island, New Zealand. The Catlins is an area of great contrasts and natural beauty with an abundance of extraordinary wildlife. From magnificent coastal cliffs and headlands, long white beaches, coves and sandy bays; to beautiful native rainforests, waterfalls, river valleys, hidden lakes, and rolling farmland, the Catlins is a fascinating, unspoilt, scenic, rugged place “off the beaten track”, with so much to see!

The Catlins view

Wildlife and native plants and trees are a feature of the Catlins. Varieties of sea birds are prolific and you may see the forest-dwelling birds Tui, Bellbird, Fantail, Native pigeon and the rare Mohua. You may also be fortunate enough to observe Yellow-eyed penguins from the viewing hides provided. The Catlins is also home to the New Zealand Sea lion, Fur seal and the Hector’s dolphin.

The forests contain many native tree species especially Tree ferns, Rata, Kahikatea, Miro, Kamahi, and Silver beech.

The Catlins sea view

The remarkable Catlins is renowned for its ever-changing panoramic views of moody skies, wind-shorn trees, rugged shores, forests and pastureland.

The Catlins is an important destination on your New Zealand adventure and it is recommended that you take time to enjoy its attractions. You can expect to have a memorable holiday in this truly magnificent part of the world.

The Catlins McLean Falls

Be sure to bring your camera when you explore the Catlins!

The Catlins road view

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We had a really good time here.

The food was great, the outlook was great and the place I stayed overnight, at the lodge was fantastic!

Dave Cull, the Mayor of Dunedin

How To Find RiverRidge Retreat – Natures Paradise…

Getting here is easy! We are far enough to get away from it all, but not too far to get here!...

Drive 10kms south of Owaka on the Papatowai Highway.
Look for the Catlins River Walk sign,
turn at the Catlins River Walk sign and drive 3.5 km to us.

You know you are getting close as you drive on the gravel road with the beautiful Catlins River on your right, birds, wildlife, sheep and cattle surround you at differing times of the year.

Look for the Catlins River Walk sign,
turn at the Catlins River Walk sign
and drive 3.5 km to us.

When you come from the south you are treated to a panoramic view of the Houipapa and Tawanui Valleys in the Catlins. After winding down what is known as Gibbs hill, the sign you are looking for is within a kilometre from the bottom of the hill.