Curio Bay FergusSutherland v2

Forests & Fossils

Where to See

Read more on Fossils and Forests and where you can see them on The Catlins map


Tawhai (Silver beech)

Can be found in: Beech Forests found in higher and northern inland locations.

The Catlins Mixed podocarp forests

Large and ancient podocarps – Rimu, Matai, Totara and Kahikatea – that emerge over a canopy of broadleaved species such as Kamahi and Rata.

Can be found in: The forests of the lower altitudes and southern Catlins. Fern, moss, coprosma, broadleaf, marble leaf, lemonwood and peppertree create a rich understory in these forests.

Kamahi/Podocarp forest

Can be found at: The Cathedral Caves. The walk from the car park takes you through Kamahi/Podocarp forest.

Views of windswept macrocarpa trees (Monterey cypress)

Can be found at: Slope Point

Podocarp forest

Can be found at: Pounawea Bush & Nature Walk and most walking tracks of The Catlins.

Good cross-section of vegetation types, including ferns and perching plants. Most Podocarp species are also present.

Can be found at: Kaka Point bush walk

Excellent example of the mixed podocarp forest with an impressive range of species, especially ferns.

Can be found at: Waipohatu

Fossils and Fault Lines

Fossilised forest

Dating back to the Jurassic period. The tree fossils you see here are 160 million years old and the forest was alive when New Zealand was part of Gondwanaland.

Can be found at: Curio Bay/Porpoise Bay

Plant fossils - The youngest rocks (mid Jurassic) of The Catlins

Can be found at: Found in many places where Jurassic rocks outcrop, especially Otara and in the Waikawa, Chaslands, Tahakopa and Catlins River valleys.

Marine fossils

Can be found at: Found in many places where Jurassic and Triassic rocks outcrop, especially where rocks are freshly exposed by the sea along the coast from Nugget Point to Papatowai.

Fault lines and fractures

Can be found at: Old fault fractures are visible in the cliffs at Nugget Point and at the Cathedral Caves.