Te Waewae Bay is the westernmost of three large bays lying on the Foveaux Strait coast of Southland, New Zealand, the others being Oreti Beach and Toetoes Bay. Twenty-seven kilometres in length, the western end of the bay is mountainous, with the southern terminus of the Southern Alps and Fiordland National Park.
The small farming town of Orepuki is situated on the cliffs at the eastern end of the bay and the timber town of Tuatapere and Port Craig is located seven kilometres north of the bay, on the banks of the Waiau River, which has its outflow in the bay.
This huge sweeping bay has nothing between it and Antarctica. Depending on the day the sea can be clear and inviting, or it can churn like a bubbling cauldron spraying sea mist high onto the cliffs. Te Waewae Lagoon can be seen from the hills outside Orepuki.
The bay, lining from Sand Hill Point to Pahia Point, is declared as a marine mammal sanctuary and hosts an important habitat for New Zealand fur seals, the endemic Hector’s dolphins and one of major winter breeding grounds for southern right whales on mainland coasts. Other species can be seen within the areas, from time to time, include such as humpback whales, orcas, Hooker’s sea lions, and leopard seals.
Surrounding lands, both coastal and terrestrial, are home to 2 species of penguins (little and Fiordland Crested), 25 species of native birds, and the endangered New Zealand long-tailed bats