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November 2017 Issue
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Yellowhead haven

The gorgeous and not-so frequented Catlins River. Photo: Xavier Fores - Joana Roncero / Alamy Stock Photo
This entry is part 16 of 18 in the series Ranger Secrets

Catlins River Track, Catlins Conservation Park

Ranger: Cheryl Pullar, Owaka

Apart from being a gorgeous river full of trout and surrounded by silver beech forest, the Catlins River is one of the places to see mohua. The frighteningly rare species is usually only seen by those wealthy enough to own $100 notes. But here they flutter around as if there’s nothing to worry about.

DOC’s kept the population aloft with trapping and poison drops and a trip along the river will practically guarantee you’ll hear the birds and gives a great chance of seeing them, too.

Summer’s also the best time to see scarlet mistletoe, which the surrounds of the Catlins River has in abundance.

The best way to see the river is to walk the Catlins River Track – a one-way day walk, or a loop, overnighting at Tawanui Campsite, that includes several logging roads on the return.

The loop was completed by volunteers who built a track to a feature called Rocky Knoll. “The Rocky Knoll Track takes you above the bushline, which is unusual on conservation land in the Catlins,” says Pullar. “It leads to a sub-alpine area where the vegetation is very different to other areas and there are great views over the forest and down the coast.”

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