Film fuelling interest in biking and walking events

The Catlins Great Escape Coastal Walk ends with a tour of the Waipapa Point lighthouse. Photo by S Butler, Department of Conservation.
The Catlins Great Escape Coastal Walk ends with a tour of the Waipapa Point lighthouse. Photo by S Butler, Department of Conservation.
Two Catlins events are becoming more popular, with organisers attributing a growing interest in the area to movies filmed there.

In 2009, Tourism Catlins launched the ''Catlins Great Escape Bike Journey'', adding sister event the ''Catlins Great Escape Coastal Walk'' in 2010. Tourism Catlins projects co-ordinator Kim Dodds said the group had fielded significant interest in both events.

''We've had heaps of inquiries from Queenstown, Central Otago, and Southland. People are really interested in what we have to offer.''

Mrs Dodds said interest had increased with the success of New Zealand film Two Little Boys, which was filmed in the Catlins.

The Catlins is no stranger to the silver screen, with the 2005 movie The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe also filmed there.

This year, the coastal walk will be on February 2 in the south Catlins area, and is expected to take about four hours.

The route will go along the coastline from Fortrose to Waipapa Point, finishing with a tour of the Waipapa Point Lighthouse.

''There's beautiful rugged coastline there, so the view will be amazing.''

The 2013 bike journey on April 20-21 will tour locations highlighted in Two Little Boys. The journey will run between Curio Bay and Nugget Point, with a maximum of 100 people.

''It's also exciting that this will be the first year the Cathedral Caves will be open at the same time as the bike journey. The tides will be right, so we'll be visiting there as part of the trip.''

Mrs Dodds said the roads around the Catlins were bustling with tourists visiting the area, despite a wet start to the new year.

Participants can register online at www.catlins.org.nz

- helena.dereus@odt.co.nz