Curio Bay Tumu Tokais a small remote coastal settlement in Southland, best known for its petrified forest and resident yellow-eyed penguins, seals and Hector’s dolphins. It is a major attraction within the Catlins, with around 100,000 visitors per year. The popularity of the area has led to pressure on the environment, and a need for new sensitively designed infrastructure to protect the unique environment, provide for an improved visitor experience, and to educate visitors about the area.
Visitor related environmental issues led to three key parties –South Catlins Charitable Trust (SCCT), Southland District Council (SDC) and the Department of Conservation (DOC) –agreeing on a shared vision for the area. Each party identified a project they wished to progress to provide a better experience for tourists to the area whilst addressing effects on the environment. SCCT proposed development of a Visitor Centre (a long-held community goal, SDC a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) and DOC an amenity upgrade incorporating a new carpark and toilets.