Search all sites near me now
Search your favourite swimming spots

Catlins River

The Catlins River flows south-eastward. Its total length is 42km and it shares its estuary with the Owaka River, flowing into the Pacific Ocean at Pounawea 28km south of Balclutha. The river's source is to the west of Mt Rosebery, 15km southwest of Clinton.

The headwaters of the Catlins River has intact native vegetation, this provides a contrast to the Catlins valley and Owaka valley, where agricultural activities are concentrated. The Catlins River has a well developed estuary. Average annual rainfall in the upper Catlins catchment is 1300mm.

The Catlins has a variety of features which make it unique to the eastern coast of the South Island. It is rugged, remote and endowed with large tracts of native rainforest (500km2). It has abundant wildlife, is sparsely populated and is very scenic and unspoilt.

The Catlins River catchment has 40% indigenous forest in its catchment, with approximately the same percentage as high producing grassland. On high producing exotic grassland, sheep and beef grazing represents the majority of recorded land use in the catchment, with dairy, deer and forestry being less common forms of agriculture. The Owaka catchment has 20% indigenous forest much of the remaining area is high producing grassland supporting dairy, sheep and beef.

The Catlins River has a good population of resident brown trout between 1-2 kg and in their lower reaches sea-run brown trout which can reach 3-4kg. Although brown trout are the most common species of fish in the catchment, sensitive native species are also present, these include the Redfin bully ,Gollum galaxias, Longfin Eel and Lamprey.

The Owaka and Catlins Rivers are used extensively for whitebaiting between August and November, with inanga, koaro and banded kokopu all contributing to the whitebait catch.

The most significant active recreational pursuit carried out on the Catlins River is angling The Catlins River supports a diverse ecosystem, with 13 species of fish and one species of freshwater crayfish listed as being present in the catchment (NIWA freshwater fish database).


Sites 1

Monitored sites in the Catlins River catchment

...retrieving sites.

No sites found.

Show more