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Natural Heritage Centre

How can we protect this International Treasure for current and future generations to enjoy?

Proposed Building Elevations

Proposed Building Landscape Plan

Already 100,000 people visit Curio Bay each year, and numbers continue to rise. Left unmanaged the site and its wildlife are hugely at risk.

The community’s vision is to see this special place accessible to visitors but well managed and protected. To achieve this The South Catlins Charitable Trust has been formed to develop a Natural Heritage Centre. This centre will provide an ongoing business that will enhance visitors’ experience, whilst better supervising the site and protecting its wildlife.

The proposed development has to be ‘just right’! In true adherence to the principles of eco-tourism, all buildings within the Reserve will be established with sustainability in mind, including water and energy saving initiatives. All operations on site will be environmentally responsible, including waste minimisation and recycling. The main building will include a shop, a cafe/restaurant, an information centre and an educational interpretation area. Its design must be of world class standard, meeting visitors’ needs whilst protecting the fossil forest, the beach and the wildlife.

It is an ambitious project that will cost around $5 million and much progress has already been made in terms of funding and groundwork. Business case studies are being assessed, architectural and layout designs prepared and Cultural Impact and Archaeological Reports completed.

The Trust would like to thank…

  • The Community Trust of Southland
  • Mataura Licensing Trust
  • Community Employment Group
  • New Zealand National Parks
  • Conservation Funding
  • Nature Heritage Fund
  • and Environment Southland for their grant funding to date.

We acknowledge the partnership support of Department of Conservation, Southland District Council; from whom the land is leased, and Venture Southland.

We are Working with the Yellow Eyed Penguin Trust to restore penguin habitat and the campsite has also seen some improvement. The community has set a fundraising target of $500,000 towards the goal and the trust are now looking for business partners and other funding opportunities.

So whether you’re drawn to Curio Bay for a taste of history or heritage, to experience the enormous stillness in its native midst, or to immerse yourself in the pre-historic forest, please keep in mind the community’s vision and help us realise our dream… by becoming a ‘Guardian of Curio Bay‘.