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Tunnel Hill, The Catlins

Tunnel Hill, The Catlins

There are heaps of iconic spots to visit in the Catlins, but there are also some lesser-known places you’ll pass by on the way to them. Tunnel Hill is one of those places. Definitely not somewhere you’d plan a trip to exclusively, but a worthwhile stop on the Catlins tourist trail all the same. Keep reading to find out more about the Tunnel Hill Track as well as some of the best places to see nearby.

Where Is the Tunnel Hill Track?

The Tunnel Hill Track is located right by the side of the main road – just park up and you’ll easily see the track. It’s located a few kilometres north of Owaka, so if you’re travelling north to south it’ll be one of the first places you visit (after Nugget Point).

Tunnel Hill Track

The Tunnel Hill Track is short and ideal for families. It should take around 20 minutes to go to the end and back, and it’s not a challenging walk. The first little bit takes you through the forest, and you’ll soon reach the feature which gives this place its name.

You guessed it, it’s a tunnel. This tunnel dates back to the 1800s and is a pretty interesting place to walk through. Bring a torch (I’m guessing you’ll at least have a phone) as it gets dark in there.

Tunnel Hill Track, the Catlins, New Zealand

Once you’ve walked through the tunnel there isn’t a lot else to do but turn around and walk back. There’s not too much else to say about Tunnel Hill – it’s a diversion from the main reason you’re visiting the Catlins (beaches, viewpoints, waterfalls, walks, lighthouses, wildlife) and I’d particularly recommend it if you’re travelling with kids – they seem to love things like this!

READ MORE: 10 of the Best Beaches in the Catlins

Inside an old tunnel in the Catlins, New ZealandThe view at the end of the Tunnel Hill Track, New Zealand

What to do Nearby

Nugget Point and Kaka Point are nearby, and Owaka is only around 5 km away. Near Owaka I’d recommend visiting Jack’s Bay / Blowhole, and not too much further you’ve got Purakaunui Falls and heaps more.

Are you planning a trip around New Zealand? Check out our South Island travel guide!

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Jon Algie

I'm a South Island local -- born in Timaru and raised in Dunedin. I left the island in 2006 and returned 10 years later. Having seen a good chunk of the world I realised how special this place is -- the most beautiful island in the world! Seven years (and almost 400 posts) later I'm still helping locals and tourists alike plan their trips around the South Island.