Curio Bay Southland New Zealand Credit Sam Deuchrass 5

Curio Bay

one of the many gems of The Catlins

A rugged and wild coastline next to a lovely beach provide the setting for a Petrified Forest, a Living forest and a chance to see some amazing wildlife.

Curio Bay is of international significance for its Petrified Forest dating back to the Jurassic period. The tree fossils you see here, similar to Kauri and Matai, are approximately 170 million years old. The forest was alive when New Zealand was part of Gondwanaland.

Curio Bay’s Petrified Forest is best viewed at low tide from the viewing platform. Please do not damage or remove any fossils and in order to protect the wildlife no dogs are permitted in the area. You can also walk through the Living Forest walkway and see how the Petrified Forest may have looked millions of years ago. This is a special occurrence in the world to see a fossil forest so close to its living counterpart.

You may also see protected yellow-eyed penguins at Curio Bay in the late afternoon as they come ashore after a day at sea. Please be sure to read the Department of Conservation information on these protected birds.

From Curio Bay you could take a short walk to Porpoise Bay a beautiful beach for walking, swimming and where you may see the endangered Hector’s dolphins playing in the surf during summer months.

The recently opened Curio Scape has a café and interactive museum.

Check out the Our Communities page to find out more about Curio Bay.

Walk from car park to Petrified Forest – 5 minutes.

Living Forest Walkway - 15 minutes return.