Cannibal Bay Beach

Holiday Travel Guide

Cross rolling fields and dense macrocarpa forest to reach this isolated bay, home to hollow waves and a colony of sea lions.

Much of the appeal of Cannibal Bay Beach comes with the scenic and adventurous route taken to arrive at its shores. Drive past rolling fields inhabited by sheep to reach a flax-lined beach with perfect waves peeling at either end of the bay. Cannibal Bay is most visited for its colony of sea lions but it is also a great place to watch the sun set, have a swim or walk across the sand dunes to reach the historic Surat Bay.

Before you even reach the water’s edge you’ll have stunning views of the ocean. Follow Cannibal Bay Road to pass fields of Romney sheep, a long-haired breed of white sheep common in the Catlins. As the road rises you’ll be met by sweeping views of New Zealand’s east coast.

Visit the bay on a sunny day to watch sea lions basking on the warm rocks at the northern end of the bay. Capture photos of the curious animals, but avoid getting too close as the larger sea lions can be very aggressive. Visit the beach at dusk to watch as penguins make their way in from the ocean to nest.

While lifeguards do not patrol the beach, Cannibal Bay is a popular surf break for surfers of all experience levels. A number of breaks are spread across the beach with waves ranging from barrels to ambling, gentle waves closer to shore. Bring a surfboard and a good-quality wetsuit, as the water remains cool even in summer.

Embark on a trek across the sand dunes at the southern end of Cannibal Bay for a pleasant family-friendly hike. Cross the dunes to reach Surat Bay, the site of the infamous Surat shipwreck in 1874.

Reach Cannibal Bay Beach by car from Kaka Point in just 30 minutes. Plenty of parking is available at the beachfront and there are no fees to reach the beach. Services here are limited and the beach is reasonably isolated, so bring ample food and water.

48 Cheap Hotels Near Cannibal Bay Beach

Catlins Newhaven Holiday Park
Catlins Newhaven Holiday Park
2 out of 5
324 Newhaven Rd, Surat Bay, The Catlins, New Haven, Otago
The price is NZ$94 per night from 7 Dec. to 7 Dec.
Nestled on the beach, this New Haven campsite is within 9 mi (15 km) of Teapot World, Catlins Lake and Jack's Blowhole. Cannibal Bay Beach is 10.2 mi (16.4 km) ...
4.5/5 Wonderful! (62 reviews)
"Reception is very friendly and informative."

Reviewed on 16 May 2021

Catlins Newhaven Holiday Park
Surat Bay Lodge & Backpackers Hostel
Surat Bay Lodge & Backpackers Hostel
2 out of 5
19 Surat Bay Road, New Haven, South Otago
Nestled on the beach, this New Haven hostel is within 9 mi (15 km) of Teapot World, Catlins Lake and Jack's Blowhole. Cannibal Bay Beach is 10.2 mi (16.4 km) ...
4.2/5 Very Good! (26 reviews)
Friendly and homely hospitality right on the beach
"We enjoyed another lovely stay at Surat Bay Lodge with Esther & Jack, who warmly welcomed us and our children back. Our boys loved helping to feed the chickens again, trying their hands at fishing and eating some of what Dad had caught fresh off the on-site BBQ. And I got to see a big sea lion bull ..."

Reviewed on 1 May 2021

Surat Bay Lodge & Backpackers Hostel
Kepplestone by the Sea
Kepplestone by the Sea
3.5 out of 5
9 Surat Bay Rd, New Haven, OTA
Situated in New Haven, this bed & breakfast is within 9 miles (15 km) of Teapot World, Catlins Lake and Jack's Blowhole. Cannibal Bay Beach is 10.2 mi (16.3 ...
4.6/5 Wonderful! (20 reviews)
"Sea was iustshort walk"

Reviewed on 8 Aug. 2021

Kepplestone by the Sea
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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Top Cannibal Bay Beach Hotel & Accommodation Deals

Catlins Newhaven Holiday Park
Catlins Newhaven Holiday Park
2 out of 5
324 Newhaven Rd, Surat Bay, The Catlins, New Haven, Otago
The price is NZ$94 per night from 5 Dec. to 5 Dec.
Catlins Newhaven Holiday Park
Surat Bay Lodge & Backpackers Hostel
Surat Bay Lodge & Backpackers Hostel
2 out of 5
19 Surat Bay Road, New Haven, South Otago
Surat Bay Lodge & Backpackers Hostel
Kepplestone by the Sea
Kepplestone by the Sea
3.5 out of 5
9 Surat Bay Rd, New Haven, OTA
Kepplestone by the Sea
Kaka Point Holiday House
Kaka Point Holiday House
5 Miro St, Kaka Point, Otago
Kaka Point Holiday House
Pounawea Waterfront Motels
Pounawea Waterfront Motels
3.5 out of 5
43 Park Lane, Pounawea, Owaka
The price is NZ$150 per night from 14 Dec. to 14 Dec.
Pounawea Waterfront Motels
Pounawea Waterfront House
Pounawea Waterfront House
3 out of 5
43 Park Lane, Pounawea, Owaka
Pounawea Waterfront House
Kowhai Flat
Kowhai Flat
3.5 out of 5
350 Pounawea Road, Owaka
The price is NZ$200 per night from 16 Dec. to 16 Dec.
Kowhai Flat
Koru Flat
Koru Flat
3 out of 5
350 Pounawea Road, Owaka
The price is NZ$120 per night from 12 Dec. to 12 Dec.
Koru Flat
Kowhai Flat, Pounawea
Kowhai Flat, Pounawea
350 Pounawea Road, Owaka, Otago
The price is NZ$232 per night from 15 Dec. to 15 Dec.
Kowhai Flat, Pounawea
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.