Hilltop Accommodation | Off The Beaten Track

Hilltop Accommodation

Cabins & Cottages

Papatowai, Otago                    Listed By Stuart


Hilltop Accommodation is nestled alongside native forest on a sheep and beef farm, overlooking the tiny seaside community of Papatowai, in the heart of the Catlins.

A renovated, turn of the century, former miners cottage it retains its original charm, and is your ideal private family unit and base for exploring what the area has to offer.

- From Hilltop it is only a short walk or drive to Papatowai and the beach, where there are a variety of short walking tracks including the Picnic Point track at the end of the Papatowai beach, which joins onto the Kings Rock track. Across the Tahakopa River, the Old Coach track past the moa hunter camp leads to Tahakopa Bay.
- The Shanks Bush Reserve interpretation area is at the Tahakopa Valley road intersection.
- The local Papatowai store offers takeaways, fuel, groceries, wine and beer and closes at 6 pm (7pm in summer.)
- A must see is the acclaimed Lost Gypsy Gallery featuring nature inspired handmade gizmos and gadgets.
- The drive south along the Southern Scenic Route passes through Papatowai ; the much photographed Florence Hill panorama of Tautuku beach and peninsula, Lake Wilkie, the historic Traills Tractor historic walk ; the Cathedral Caves; and McLean Falls, before winding down through native forest to Niagara, Waikawa and the Curio Bay petrified forest. Do bring your binoculars, and allow time for stops.
- The route north from Hilltop towards Owaka crosses the Tahakopa and Maclennan rivers, passes close to Matai and Purakanui Falls, with many side routes available to such features as the Jacks Bay Blowhole on the coast or the Catlins River walk inland.

Unique Experiences at Hilltop Accommodation

  1. Walk the Picnic Point track
  2. Visit the acclaimed Lost Gypsy Gallery featuring nature inspired handmade gizmos and gadgets
  3. Watch the penguins, seals and sea lions ... surf, tramp, cycle, fish and gather paua

Why You Will Love Hilltop Accommodation

We invite you to stay awhile, and share our beautiful ocean and valley views, relax in our tranquil gardens, and wake to the bellbird dawn chorus. Our place is warm and comfortable even if the weather is not. Most guests that come for one night wish they could stay longer.

Accommodation Types

Bottom House

You will have exclusive use of this renovated, turn of the century cottage.

Retaining its original charm, this is your ideal private cosy family unit, featuring master bedroom with ensuite, and second bedroom sleeping two in comfortable long single beds.

The well equipped kitchen with dishwasher, microwave, and a unique dining table adjoins the comfortable lounge, also with a sofa bed. French doors look out to panoramic sea views, and open onto a sheltered veranda. Laundry facilities are available.

We support the principles of Sustainable Tourism South and the Catlins Care Code, and are taking steps towards sustainability, for instance by providing recycling and composting facilities, encouraging energy conservation, and using renewable firewood for heating. We welcome your ideas to help preserve our unique environment.

View Amenities

$230.00 per night
(up to 4 guests)

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Property Amenities

-2WD access all areas
Family Friendly
-Shop/groceries with 5kms


Cycle Tracks
Fishing Access (BYO gear)
Historical Site
Do Something Different
Nature Walks
Hiking | Tramping
Family Friendly

About the Landowner, Stuart

Our families have loved, lived and toiled in the Catlins for well over a hundred years. The Hilltop story really began around 1880 when Murdoch and Mary McLennan and their eight children settled in the Tahakopa Valley. Many local place names, including nearby Florence Hill (the lookout to Tautuku Bay) are named after this pioneer farming family from Scotland who are direct ancestors of the present owners.

A grandfather of two of the present owners, Henry Evans, grew up in nearby Tahakopa in the early 1900's, where he went to school and worked at a local sawmill with his father. Later he married and raised a family of nine children, while working down the road at a sawmill at Niagara near Waikawa.

The visitor accommodation began around 1993 when Rodney McDonald, brother and son of the present owners (and great great grandson of Murdoch and Mary McLennan), saw the need to provide somewhere for the increasing numbers of tourists to stay and enjoy the beauty and tranquillity of this unspoilt area. He transported the former Te Anau schoolhouse by truck to his farm, and five years later also moved the century old coal miners cottage from Kaitangata , near Balclutha. Both houses were refurbished to create Hilltop.

Hilltop Catlins is now run by a team of family and local duty managers who feel the need to retain and enhance this special lodge for our guests.

Approximate Location

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Accommodation Type

Please select which accommodation option you wish to book and you will be able to select your check in and check out dates

Your Booking


You will have an opportunity to review your booking before it is placed