Many people visiting New Zealand skip driving down State Highway 1 for the grand mountainous splendour of Mackenzie Country and Central Otago, but Coastal Otago from the Waitaki down to the Catlins is one of my favourite parts of the South Island. It’s only a five hour drive from Christchurch to Dunedin, and there are plenty of places to stop on the way.
One of the best places to visit is Moeraki, but don’t just go see the Moeraki Boulders and eat a delicious lunch at Fleurs Place. One of Moeraki’s best kept secrets is Katiki Point – a short cliff top walk with beautiful ocean views and lots of wildlife.
Directions: From Moeraki town center, drive down Lighthouse Road. There is a public carpark at the lighthouse. Walk from here through the long grass and fields towards the point. Yellow Eyed Penguins and Blue Penguins do nest here, so try and keep your voices low and watch out for holes in the path (Little Blues often build their nest in abandoned rabbit holes). You can often see Yellow Eyed Penguins on the beach, or standing on the hills around the beach moulting. There is also a reasonable sized seal colony here and huge numbers of NZ Shags (Cormorants).
Katiki point is also the site of an old Maori Pa. If you go at low tide you can walk over the rocks to the old pa site.