Tuatapere, a small rural town, is located 9 kilometers from the southern coastline of the South Island of New Zealand, which faces towards Antarctica. It is midway between Invercargill and Te Anau on the Southern Scenic Route.
Tuatapere developed into a sawmilling and farming area as other cultures arrived; mostly Scottish, Irish, Welsh, Hungarian, Dutch, Polish and Australian. Many coming from goldfields in and around the area. At its peak, there were 120 small sawmills operating in the area, however only one now remains operational at the edge of the township.
Tourism is growing in the area for both historic and nature based attractions. A Bushman’s Museum is located in the center of town.
From around 1809, the area was active with whalers and sealers; originally named Papatotara, the town was renamed Tuatapere in 1904.
Things to do
Gemstone Beach, located about 15 minutes from Tuatapere, is very popular with travelling tourists. Details on identifying gemstones found on the beach and tide times are provided on the Gemstone Beach page.
A choice of accommodation ranging from very basic to luxury is available and free camping is close by. The various places to eat offer a good range of food, wine and atmosphere – many using fresh, locally sourced produce.
One of the main attractions in the area is the Tuatapere community operated Hump Ridge Track, with its high quality lodges and stunning views. It takes trampers from the sea to the sub-alpine zone of the Hump Ridge. Developed and managed by the Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track Charitable Trust, it is the only walking track in southern Fiordland that offers such comfortable facilities to independent trampers. Trampers have the option to have themselves or their packs flown to the lodges by helicopter and enjoy a hot shower and comfortable bed.
If you are up for the challenge, you can kayak, or Jet Boat, across Lake Hauroko and then down the beautiful Wairaurahiri River, one of the most remote and pristine environments New Zealand has to offer. Travelling through the spectacular, untouched wilderness of the Fiordland National Park. You have the choice of returning by Jet Boat, Helicopter or walking via the Southern Coast Track or Hump Ridge Track.