Tumu Toka CurioScape

Monday9:00 am – 5:30 pm.

Tuesday9:00 am – 5:30 pm.

Wednesday9:00 am – 8:30 pm.

Thursday9:00 am – 8:30 pm.

Friday9:00 am – 8:30 pm.

Saturday9:00 am – 8:30 pm.

Sunday9:00 am – 8:30 pm.

590 Waikawa-Curio Bay Road, Waikawa

03-246 8897

One of the Catlins most intriguing aspects is the petrified forest at Curio Bay. But how does a forest become perfectly preserved in stone? It’s a process that is hard to conceptualise. Luckily ‘The Gateway’ at Tumu Toka CurioScape incorporates everything from cutting edge video content to perfectly preserved fossils to tell the story of how this unique environment came to be.

Started by the South Catlins Charitable Trust, which was formed by the local community in 2002 to protect and share local treasures, Tumu Toka CurioScape has a cafe and campground as well as ‘The Gateway’. The kaitiaki, or guardians of this place, welcome visitors from near and far and invite people of all ages to explore the Catlin’s history, flora and fauna both indoors and out at Tumu Toka Curioscape.

‘The Gateway’ is one of the most engaging museum set ups you’ll find with a high definition theatre, drawers full of petrified wood fossils, videos of the area’s penguin species sitting on their eggs, interactive timelines that explain petrified wood and a massive touch screen wall where visitors can thumb through hundreds of local stories. The immersive video that plays on loop in the theatre will take you from the Jurassic period (145 million years ago) to today, and the carefully curated exhibits take a deep dive into the area’s unique geology and environment. A mobile app integration enables visitors to keep track of what they learn and mark down spots within the region they’d like to explore.

Once you’ve immersed yourself in the Catlins wonders, head to the café for a coffee or snack above the sea, then head outside to apply your knowledge in the field - Curio Bay is just a few minutes walk from CurioScape.

Words by Olivia Sisson & Photography by Nancy Zhou

590 Waikawa-Curio Bay Road, Waikawa

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