We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Curio bay

London, United...
Level Contributor
158 posts
394 reviews
Save Topic
Curio bay

We want to see the petrified forest but our map suggests the roads into Curio bay from the Invercargill to Balclutha road are both unsealed,

As we have a hire car which would not be insured on such roads we would like confirmation, before we undertake a long detour - we are going from Te Anau to Dunedin.

If the roads are unsealed, for what distance, and how good or bad are the quality of the road (eg light gravel)??

Thanks

14 replies to this topic
New Zealand
Level Contributor
9,490 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Curio bay

Only the coast road from Curio Bay to Fortrose is unsealed, all the rest are sealed. Make sure you have low tide for the petrified forest and keep an eye out for Yellow Eyed penguins, they are hard to spot if moving about on the exposed rock flats.

California
Level Contributor
10,675 posts
73 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Curio bay

Use maps.aa.co.nz and zoom in to the Catlins. Any road in yellow is sealed. Roads not yellow are unsealed.

http://maps.aa.co.nz/nz/southland/slope+point/waikawa+curio+bay+road/curio+bay/lon=169.105711100000;lat=-46.661423600000

Personally, I'd find another rental car company. With a restriction of not being able to go on unsealed roads, you would not be able to go to Nugget Point, nor Purakaunui Falls, nor Cannabal Bay, or little else in the Catlins. The attractions are off the main road.

Edited: 05 November 2014, 05:18
Queenstown, New...
Level Contributor
1,823 posts
138 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Curio bay

Hi, I did that road last weekend. As Zappers said the road is unsealed for 20kms from Fortrose to Curio Bay.

The surface is that good on the road , I hardly slowed down. It should not be a issue with rentals.

London, United...
Level Contributor
158 posts
394 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Curio bay

Thank you all. Seems like we can get pretty close on sealed roads and just a little drive on gravel. There may well be local hire outfits who allow driving on unsealed roads but all the major renters are the same - no unsealed roads. When booking from the UK it is not that easy to pick a local renter who can do a decent deal for both islands.

We have driven on some unsealed roads anyway just taking a bit more care. Does depend on how bad they are. Renters seem to fear that any unsealed road will have big ruts and damage their car.

New Zealand
Level Contributor
9,490 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Curio bay

Their fear is real, there are some gut-busting (and vehicle wrecking) roads out there, but the Curio to Fortrose is not one of them. We've been travelling to the extremities of most of our rural roads in our travels and some are little more than goat tracks. We've also seen a number of rental cars on a few of them, I guess they're just hoping nothing goes wrong- a sure fire way of being found out though is the amount of dust that will find its way into every nook & cranny.

California
Level Contributor
10,675 posts
73 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Curio bay

>>>but all the major renters are the same - no unsealed roads.

Just to satisfy my own curiosity, I looked at the Terms and Conditions for both Avis and Hertz for New Zealand.

Hertz, Insurance Exclusions,

Item 42."The Hirer acknowledges that Hertz’ own insurance detailed in clause 36 will not apply where:

9. the Vehicle is driven off-road and/or on roads other than tar seal or metal, or is driven on Skippers Road (Queenstown), the road to Macetown in the Queenstown area, Tasman Valley Road (Mt Cook) or 90 Mile Beach (Northland)"

Avis, Insurance Exclusions,

Item 22. "The hirer acknowledges that the cover referred to in clause 18 will not apply:

q. at any time when the vehicle was being driven on any of the following roads: Tasman Valley Road (Mt Cook), Skipper's Canyon (Queenstown), Ninety Mile Beach (Northland), or any unformed roads and/or roads other than tarseal or metal; including but not limited to beaches, driveways, or any surface likely to damage the vehicle;"

Sorry, TA doesn't give me many options for formatting, underlining, or bolding. I want to point out that metaled roads are the gravel roads in the Catlins. They are well-formed gravel roads. You CAN drive on these gravel (metal) roads and the insurance will be in effect.

If you booked with another major car company, I'll look up their T&Cs and I'm betting I'll find the same thing. I'm surprised Hertz and Avis still exclude Tasman Valley Road, because up to the parking lot for the Tasman Glacier hikes, it's a very good road! Beyond the parking lot is 4WD only.

London, United...
Level Contributor
158 posts
394 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Curio bay

Thanks, that is really interesting. In the UK, I would think we don't have roads called "metal" but I may be wrong, and of course we tend not to hire at home. We are booked with Avis. Awful service at check in by the way. At both AKL and CHC only one member of staff and a queue of about 6 people. Hertz, Thrifty etc also had just one but had no queues at all. Everyone in front of us had booked their cars in advance. Surely Avis should be aware and have appropriate staff - or more likely they don't care. Sorry about the rant.

Looks like the petrified forest is "on"

Biggar, United...
Level Contributor
1,263 posts
887 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Curio bay

Hi gloandbob, many of the attractions off the Southern Scenic Route, including Curio Bay, have sections of gravel road but we found them to generally be in good condition. You just need to drive as if you're going over a newly surfaced route in the UK where stone chips have been put down. Sometimes the gravel can bank at corners but there's no need to crawl along. No need to look in the rear-view mirror either - it's just a cloud of dust! If you can, try to stop over on your visit to the petrified forest and you'll see the penguins coming ashore there (usually at dusk). The Catlins are worth the visit.

London, United...
Level Contributor
158 posts
394 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Curio bay

Thanks, Rover. Staying over is not on our horizon unfortunately, but we have seen penguins a few times and cannot see them all

Tucson, Arizona
Level Contributor
110 posts
Save Reply
10. Re: Curio bay

Hi All, Just curious about the road between Nugget Point and Curio Bay : How do weather conditions affect the "metal" / gravel, If it is quite rainy ?

Reply to: Curio bay
Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted
Get answers to your questions about Invercargill