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Ōtākou/Otago’s coastline is a wild and diverse environment running 480km from the Waitaki River mouth in the north down to Wallace Beach in the south in the Catlins. Otago’s coast is a hotspot of biodiversity containing iconic species such as yellow-eyed penguins and sperm whales, as well as important habitats such as Macrocystis kelp forests in the shallow subtidal zone and deep sea canyons within 12 nautical miles (NM) or around 22 kms off the coastline.

The estuaries of Otago are equally diverse, home to resting areas of some iconic species such as New Zealand sealions and blue penguins. The estuaries range from Kakanui in the north, through to near pristine Tautuku and Waipati/Chaslands in the south, with many other estuaries in between.

From the north to the south, Otago has a large variety of estuaries with an incredible diversity of catchments and ecology across these complex systems.