Off the Beaten Track to... Nugget Point
Nugget Point is one of the most distinctive landforms along the Otago coast of the South Island. Located at the northern end of the Catlins coast down the road from Kaka Point, this steep headland has a lighthouse at its tip and is surrounded by The Nuggets (a scattering of rocky islets).
The point is home to many seabirds, including yellow-eyed penguins, shags, gannets and spoonbills and a large breeding colony of fur seals. You'll see the fur seals on the rocks directly below the lighthouse. Bring your binoculars and watch them up close as they loll around, play and have fun. You may also see elephant and leopard seals and Hector's dolphins, one of the world's smallest dolphins (and only found in New Zealand).
The lighthouse that overlooks this spectacular coastline was built in 1869 and is 76 metres tall. It was automated in 1989 and is operated by Maritime New Zealand.
Things To Do
- Bird watching – View yellow-eyed penguins, shags, gannets and spoonbills.
- Photography – Stay and enjoy the views and capture the beautiful seascapes of Nugget Point. At sunset the islets are said to resemble gold nuggets.
- Roaring Bay Walk to View Yellow Eye Penguins – From Nugget Point it's an easy walk to Roaring Bay where you can hide and view the penguins as they come ashore in the late afternoon. Get there before 3pm to avoid disturbing them.
- Nugget Point Seascapes – Follow the pathway (suitable for all ages) to the viewing platform beside the lighthouse for some great seascapes. The area is rich in wildlife; several seabird species nest on the rock stacks. New Zealand fur seals also breed here and other marine mammal species can sometimes be seen. In summer the ocean can be covered in large flocks of sooty shearwater. This is a treasured site for Kāi Tahu.
- Awakiki Track Short Walk – Visit the Awakiki Bush Scenic Reserve, an outstanding example of lowland tōtara forest. There is foot access from the road through neighbouring farm land to the loop track through the reserve.
- Kaka Point Bush Walk – Almost within the township of Kaka Point, this lovely easy (and short) walk makes you feel far away from it all.
To help plan your holiday in the Catlins region, simply choose from the main categories below:
More Off the Beaten Track Suggestions
If you want to discover some of New Zealand's hidden treasures, travel to some out-of-the-way places and see sites that many travellers and tourists miss out on, look at more of our 'Off the Beaten Track' suggestions.