Jack’s Blowhole Track | An Awesome Coastal Walk In The Catlins

If you’re searching for a unique walk that takes you off the beaten path and leads you to a remarkable natural wonder, then you must visit Jack’s Blowhole on your road trip through The Catlins.

We stumbled upon Jack’s Blowhole by chance, after deciding to explore Jack’s Bay, and we were blown away by the horizontal blowhole that emits such a formidable force of power. 

Jack’s Blowhole is a peaceful and easy walk that most travellers can enjoy. In this post, we will provide all the information you need to include this beautiful coastal track in your Catlins Itinerary.

Jacks Bay from the Jack's Bay Blowhole Track in the Catlins

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What To Know About Visiting Jack’s Blowhole In The Catlins

Quick Statistics For Jack’s Blowhole Track

Distance
3 km return

Time
40 – 60 minutes

Navigation Difficulty
Very Easy

Trail Difficulty
Very Easy

Physical Effort
Easy

Elevation Gain
123 m

Highest Elevation
90 m 

Entrance Fees
None

Facilities
Trailhead: Car park, toilet

Where Does Jack’s Blowhole Track Start?

Jacks Bay Track Trailhead and Carpark

Jack’s Blowhole is a fascinating phenomenon that can be found 200 m inland from the soaring seacliffs that dominate the Catlins’ coastline. The beautiful coastal walk to Jack’s Blowhole begins at the southern end of Jack’s Bay, where you’ll find a long car park and a toilet block just before the trailhead.

Even on its own, Jack’s Bay is a destination worthy of a detour from the Southern Scenic Route. The sweeping bay is lined with holiday houses overlooking the sheer white cliffs and surging ocean, which is a popular spot for surfing and searching for sea lions. Jack’s Bay is a short 10-minute drive southeast of Owaka – the largest town in the Catlins.

How To Get To Jack’s Bay

Google Map Directions to the Jack's Bay Track Trailhead

Jack’s Bay is located 2 hours east of Invercargill and 1 hour 30 minutes southwest of Dunedin. Unfortunately, there are no public transport or tour options for Jack’s Bay or the blowhole so your only option for visiting Jack’s Blowhole is by self-driving.

If you’re in need of a hire car, we recommend considering a campervan hire as this is the best way to explore the Catlins – in our option. Jucy is a well-loved company that offers very competitive rates for campervan rentals in New Zealand.

Don’t Miss Jucy’s 50% discount on Crib hires from Queenstown

By Car

Whether you’re arriving at Jack’s Bay from Invercargill or Dunedin, you’ll drive along the Southern Scenic Route, following the signs to Owaka. Once you’re in Owaka, drive south on Hinahina Rd for roughly 7 km before turning right onto Jack’s Bay Rd – which will lead you to the car park at the southern end of the bay.

Click Here For Directions From Invercargill
Click Here For Directions From Dunedin

Who Is Jack’s Blowhole Track For?

Walking down stairs on the Jack's Blowhole Track in the Catlins, New Zealand

The peaceful walk to Jack’s Blowhole meanders through lush farmland and alongside the rugged coastline on an easy gravel path. With only a few steps to ascend, this track is easily accessible for most travellers – including families with young children.

While the track to Jack’s Blowhole may not excite avid hikers, it offers a lovely short walk to witness the incredible power of the ocean. Plus, it offers a nice change from the many waterfalls in the Catlins that you’re likely to visit.

What To Pack For Your Visit To Jack’s Blowhole

Walking along the Jacks Blowhole Track in the Catlins

Jack’s Blowhole Track is a short 3 km return walk that takes roughly 40 – 60 minutes to complete. Therefore, you can easily get away with taking only your camera to snap some photos of the impressive blowhole.

The path itself is very easy and doesn’t require the need for hiking shoes. We completed the walk in sandals with no problems. 

Furthermore, there are no shops in Jack’s Bay so if you’re planning to spend the day at the beach you will need to grab any food and water you need from Owaka before you leave.

Best Time To Visit Jack’s Blowhole

White cliffs on Jack's Bay in the Catlins, New Zealand

Jack’s Blowhole can be visited year-round and there is no real benefit to visiting at a certain time of year – except that it can be bitterly cold during the winter months. However, to witness the blowhole at its best, try to line up your visit with high tide. You can find this information by searching for the Owaka area on the Tides Charts website.

Jack’s Blowhole Track Notes

Jack’s Bay Car Park To Jack’s Blowhole

Jack's Blowhole Track Trailhead

From the southern end of the car park at Jack’s Bay, just behind the colourfully painted toilet block, you’ll find a set of steps leading to the official trailhead for Jack’s Blowhole Track. Step over the stile and wander along the wide gravel path carved between lush farmland and a dense forested gully.

The track traverses across the headland, offering snippets of ocean vistas between the rolling hills as you walk. After 600 m, you’ll come to a second stile which leads you to the edge of the forested seacliffs.

Stile on Jack's Blowhole Track in New Zealand
Hidden Bay off the Jack's Blowhole Track in the Catlins

Follow the track for another 600 m as it hugs the treeline, with stairs to help with the short steep sections. And finally, after a total of 1.2 km and roughly 15 minutes, you’ll find yourself at the beginning of the short loop that circles Jack’s Blowhole.

Jack’s Blowhole Loop

Looking down at Jack's Blowhole in the Catlins from Jack's Blowhole Lookout

You can walk the short 300 m loop either clockwise or anti-clockwise, arriving at a viewing platform at the far end of the circuit. Before you even see the blowhole, you’ll begin to hear the roar that bounces off the dark grey rock walls.

From the viewing platform, you’re gifted uninterrupted views of the formidable horizontal blowhole. Jack’s Blowhole is 55 m deep, 144 m long and 68 m wide. The water travels 200 m inland from the sea with a monstrous amount of power.

Jack's Blowhole in the Catlins

It’s an incredible sight to witness, allowing you to get a grasp of just how wild and powerful the ocean can be. Not only that, but the dark grey cliffs encompassing the blowhole are stunningly adorned with ferns and grass trees growing from the damp rock slabs.

Returning To Jack’s Bay Car Park

Jack's Bay Blowhole Track Stile

Once you’ve completed the loop around Jack’s Blowhole, return along the same gravel path to the trailhead. As you wander back, you’re afforded breathtaking vistas of Jack’s Bay sprawled out in front of you.

The track to Jack’s Blowhole took us roughly 40 minutes to complete, with a lengthy stop at the blowhole to take photos and admire the surging phenomenon. It’s a fantastic little walk to include on your road trip through the Catlins and if you’re lucky enough to score a warm day, allow enough time to enjoy a swim at Jack’s Bay after your walk.

Other Things To Know About Jack’s Blowhole And Jack’s Bay

Leave No Trace

The majority of the walk to Jack’s Blowhole passes through private farmland. Please be respectful of the owners and follow the 7 Leave No Trace Principles. These include sticking to the marked trail and taking your rubbish with you – including tissues and food scraps. Additionally, please keep a good distance from the livestock and don’t try to feed them.

More Things To Do In Jack’s Bay

Swimming in Jack's Bay, New Zealand
Walking along the cliffs at Jack's Bay

Jack’s Bay was one of our favourite beaches in the Catlins – and one of the most easily accessible. The enormous stretch of sand is perfect for an afternoon of beach games or sunbaking and the flanking seacliffs and rock pools provide fun explorations.

The sandy dunes and rocks on the headlands are also popular sunbaking spots for sea lions, which are most commonly seen in the afternoon. And for those who are keen surfers, you can often find a fun wave off the point when the swell is working.

Where To Stay Near Jack’s Bay

Jack’s Bay is an easy day trip from either Dunedin or Invercargill, but to truly experience the beautiful coastline, we suggest staying in the Catlins. Owaka is the largest town and offers a range of accommodation options, but there are also plenty of little shacks and quaint homes scattered throughout the Catlins.

Here is a list of our top 3 accommodation recommendations near Jack’s Bay. 

Camping Near Jack’s Bay

Campervans camping at Purakaunui Campsite in the Catlins
Purakaunui Campsite in the Catlins

The Catlins offers several beautiful campsites that are either free or very affordable. The closest campsite to Jack’s Bay is actually our favourite in the region – Purakaunui Bay Campsite. This campsite is $10 or free with the DOC Campsite Pass.

Other campsites near Jack’s Bay:

Final Thoughts

Jack’s Blowhole offers something unique for your visit to the Catlins and we truly enjoyed the peaceful walk and the stunning Jack’s Bay. When you plan your walk to the blowhole, ensure you allow enough time to enjoy the bay as well. It’s a great place to search for sea lions and to surf or swim if you’re lucky enough to score some warm weather.

We hope you have found our guide to Jack’s Blowhole helpful. If you have any additional questions about Jack’s Bay or the Catlins in general, please feel free to leave a comment below or reach out to us via Instagram.

Happy Adventuring 🙂