ON the road: Six of the best… Dunedin beaches

The abandoned pier, St Clair. PHOTO; Kristin Boyes.

The abandoned pier, St Clair. PHOTO; Kristin Boyes.

Spanning 480 kilometres of coastline, the City of Dunedin boasts a bevy of wild and romantic beaches. Whether it’s sunsets, surf, wildlife, swimming or a stroll you’re after, any visit to the Edinburgh of the South should include a sea-side session. Here are six of the best recommended by ONmag.

Moody St Clair. PHOTO: Rowan Klevstul.

Moody St Clair. PHOTO: Rowan Klevstul.

St Clair is the most popular surf spot, worth a look whether you’re a wave rider or not. Get an #Insta-worthy snap at the old pier to the west – slowly succumbing to the ravages of erosion. Dip your toes in the ocean, then if the briny is too chilly, pay a visit to the Hot Salt Water Pool at the far end (summer only). ‘Hot’ might be a bit of a stretch, but they’re just warm enough to make al fresco bathing in Dunedin downright pleasant. For a post-swim drink, work your way through the selection of tap beers at the Esplanade.

So hot right now, St Kilda. PHOTO: Andrew McPhedran.

So hot right now, St Kilda. PHOTO: Andrew McPhedran.

Park up then jump from the sand dunes into the wild expanse of St Kilda – a haven for summer swimming or tucking into fish n’ chips on the beach. Patrolled by the local surf-lifesavers, it’s safe too, as long as you “swim between the flags”.

Tunnel Beach – In the 1870s, John Cargill excavated a tunnel down to the sea from his cliff-top property so his daughter could swim in privacy. Nowadays the general public can hike to the once-secret enclave, through a couple of farm gates to the tunnel and fossil-filled sandstone rockfaces. The hike is well worth it – both for ocean vistas as well as for the sense you’re clambering into a scene from a Brontë novel.

Whareakeake (Murdering Beach)  Named in colonial times after the skirmish that occurred in 1817, local iwi have reclaimed its first name, Whareakeake. A rugged and remote stretch of shoreline, Whareakeake is directly exposed to southern swells which provide a sweet right hand break. Catch a wave or some rays as you soak in the scenery of Otago’s picturesque coast.

Silver tones at Murdering Beach. PHOTO: ONmag.

Silver tones at Murdering Beach. PHOTO: ONmag.

 

One-time home of poet James K. Baxter, Brighton has retained its old-world charm. Just twenty minutes out of the central city, the beachside village has whopper-stopper ice creams and row boats you can hire to navigate the warm shallows of the estuary. Poke about in the rock pools or hit up the playground perched on the hilltop: this beach is a family-pleaser.

With forest walks, cockle-fields and plenty of scope for bird-watching, Purakaunui is a secluded inlet ideal for a day-trip or longer ‘crib’ stay. Listen to the birdsong of tui and bellbirds that inhabit the headland as you laze about and explore the cliff-fringed bay. At low tide, you can gather cockles (limit 50 per day) or walk at low tide around to neighbouring Doctor’s Point. Make sure you leave enough time for the return journey and keep an eye out for nesting blue penguins.

  • ANNABEL WILSON.
For ON-the-ball previews, promotion, advertising, interviews, reviews and photography for your cool happenings and concepts, contact annabel@onmag.co.nz.

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