Catlins River Wetland

Description: A large area of shrub wetland, with kahikatea (Dacrycarpus dacrydioides) and silver beech (Nothofagus menziesii) remnants, on either side of the lower Catlins River. 1

Type/Class: Bog. 2

Size: 44.2 ha.

Altitude: 0 - 20 m above sea level.

Approximate location: 5 km Southwest of Owaka | NZTM (centre point): E1338850 N4846370.

Regional Plan: Water for Otago | Schedule 9 Regionally Significant Wetland, no.22, Map F33.

Territorial Authority: Clutha District Council.


Interactive map of Catlins River Wetland

Recorded Values

Value Description
A1 Habitat for nationally or internationally rare or threatened species or communities. Contains giant kokopu (Galaxias argenteus). 2
A4 High degree of wetland naturalness.
A5 Scarce in Otago in terms of its ecological or physical character. Less than 15% of swamps remain in Otago. 2
A6 Highly valued by Kai Tahu for cultural and spiritual beliefs, values and uses, including mahika kai and waahi taoka. 1
A7 High diversity of indigenous wetland flora and fauna. High diversity of flora. 1
A2, A3, A8, A9 No relevant information is currently held by the ORC.


Other Information

  • Included in the Statutory Acknowledgement for Kuramea (Lake Catlins). 19

  • The Catlins River Wetland supports recreational fisheries for brown trout (Salmo trutta), whitebait (Galaxias spp.) and flounder. It is also important as a whitebait (Galaxias spp.) spawning area. 53

  • The Catlins River Wetland forms part of the Catlins Lake and Estuary. The Catlins Lake and Estuary is listed in the Clutha District Plan as a Significant Wetland with a diverse range of avifauna and botany. It is described as a large area of mudflats with associated wetland and saltmarsh, a habitat type much restricted in the region. 37

  • The Clutha District Plan also identifies a 1.5 km long stretch of the Lower Catlins River immediately upstream from Catlins Lake as a Significant Wetland. The Catlins River is described in the Clutha District Plan as a slow single-channel river. 37

  • The Catlins River Wetland is adjacent to the coastal marine area, which is covered by the Regional Plan: Coast for Otago.


Aerial View of Catlins River Wetland (March 2006


Catlins River Wetland (March 2010)


Kahikatea and silver beech remnants in the Catlins River Wetland (March 2010)



1 Otago Regional Council (2004) Regional Plan: Water for Otago. Published by the Otago Regional Council, Dunedin.

2 Ausseil, A.G., Newsome, P., Johnson, P. (2008) Wetland Mapping in the Otago Region. Landcare Research Contract Report prepared for the Otago Regional Council.

19 Otago Regional Council (2009) Regional Plan: Coast for Otago. Published by the Otago Regional Council, Dunedin.

37 Clutha District Council (1998) Clutha District Plan. Published by the Clutha District Council, Balclutha.

51 Otago Regional Council – Photo Archive.

53 Davis, S.F. (1987) Wetlands of national importance to fisheries. New Zealand freshwater fisheries report no. 90. Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Christchurch.

Page last updated 12 July 2024.