The Catlins is an astonishing place. It was much, much more engaging than I had expected. I thought it was a formidable land of wind-battered, difficult terrain, hard to explore for a city wimp like me. What I found was something much friendlier and more accessible: as well as stunning rocky shores pounded by great waves (we had only one day of this), we spent our time exploring lovely meandering estuaries and bays and doing short walks through bush and rainforest to thundering waterfalls and tranquil lakes.
Plus, of course, the wildlife. Jenn, my companion and guide, stood in the bush and whistled to bellbirds, brown creepers and fantails. We saw only one yellow-eyed penguin (they're moulting now, they sit on land and can't go out to sea until they've replaced their feathers), but the sealions swam, challenged each other and dragged themselves up into the dunes right in front of us. (I took this with the zoom - we were a very safe distance away.)