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Catlins River Track, Otago

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Catlins River TrackBeginner - Intermediate

Submitted by Kieran Philip

Info Info
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Trail Information







Front country - easily accessible

Out and Back

Undulating, small hills only

Native bush
Plantation/exotic forest

Beginner - Intermediate

3:30 (Slow)
2:40 (Moderate)
1:45 (Fast)



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Starting at the Tawanui Campsite, follow the grass track from the signpost and head up river. The track is pretty straightforward, some nice single track with very few deviations from it. Where there are deviations, there are signposts pointing the way. Other times, there are triangle markers placed on various trees in case you need them.

The track heads up the river, sticking close mostly, but with a few excursions over smalls hills which take you away from the river for a bit. There are four nice single person swing bridges to head over on your way up the track. After the last swing bridge on the way out, the bush changes to forestry for a while as you near The Wisp area. Here there is a small camping area with table, toilet and a good place to be picked up if you don't fee like the double back. If you want the whole hog, turn back around and head home the way you came (there is also a signposted route up through the forestry roads via Rocky Knoll if you want something different).

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Features of interest

Swing bridges to cross are always fun, mossy covered trails, native bush.

Make Up of Run

Technical Single Track: 10%

Moderate Single Track: 50%

Easy Single Track: 40%

Route Data


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Wild Explorers

I did it!
  • Access

    The start is located in the Tawanui Campsite in the Catlins Valley. It is well signposted from the Papatowai Highway (Southern Scenic Route).

    Lots of parking. Is rural and lots of campers around, so keep valuables hidden.

    48 km

    44 minutes



  • Staying Safe



    Thermal leggings, Lightweight fleece top, Windproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival blanket, Cellphone, Map.

    Small streams/river, but you'd want to treat it before drinking.

    Very wet when its raining and muddy underfoot.

    Normal footing hazards, swing bridges (a friend from school slipped and got herself impaled many years ago, had to be removed by paramedics).

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