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Curio Bay Tumu Toka 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, improving how visitors are managed 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 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.

In 2017 construction of the facility commenced.  This is an exciting milestone for the community and the Trust and it is hoped that it will be completed by the end of the year.  This follows on the completion of two key infrastructural projects – a new waste water system (Southland District Council) and the development of a new car park (Department of Conservation).

The Trust would like to thank our generous funders…

  • The Community Trust of Southland
  • Mataura Licensing Trust
  • Department of Internal Affairs – Lottery Grants Board
  • MBIE Tourism Growth Partnership Fund

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

We are working with the Yellow Eyed Penguin Trust and the Department of Conservation to restore penguin habitat and the camping ground has also seen some improvement with a new amenities block.

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‘.