The best sea lion spotting in New Zealand – Welcome to Cannibal Bay

Want to get close to the bigger animals of New Zealand? The top sea lion spot is in the Catlins! More precisely: Cannibal bay.

Just don’t get too close, 25 metres distance is the closest you are allowed. Sea lions are dangerous, and coming close to these beasts you realize why. When the sea lions are interacting with each other it is apparent why they share half their name with Africa’s most famous cat.


The location is away from the beaten track. When we were here there were no other cars in sight during the whole day. A lot of people pass through the Catlins, but not many people seem to know about Cannibal Bay.

How to get to Cannibal Bay

The recommended way to explore the Catlins is to drive. Going to Cannibal bay is a beautiful detour from the main road. After parking you walk for a little while along the beach.

Where to stay

Driving around the Catlins in New Zealand you find many places to stay along the way. You can have a look at accommodation alternatives close to Cannibal bay and the Catlins here.

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