Tunnel Beach Walkway – Dunedin

The tunnel beach walkway is 7.5 kilometres from the centre of Dunedin, a very short trip that will reward you with breathtaking scenery,  sea-carved sandstone cliffs, secluded beaches, rock arches and caves.

Tunnel Beach draws its name from a passage that was hand carved through a rock promontory to allow access to a secluded and sheltered beach at the base of the cliffs. In the 1870’s John Cargill,  excavated a tunnel down to a secluded beach so that the Cargill families could bathe in privacy. The tunnel descends 72 steps to the beach which has massive sandstone boulders and a dangerous rip that sadly drowned Cargill’s youngest daughter. The ocean and wind have sculpted the sandstone coastline, the outcome is a line of high cliffs, arches and headlands that provide endless vantage points for breathtaking views. 

The Tunnel Beach walk takes about an hour, an easy walk – although there’s obviously a bit of a climb involved. The walk is at its best around low tide.  As well as the spectacular scenery, the walkway takes you to a magnificent sandstone sea arch and man-made tunnel to the secluded beach with fossil filled cliffs on all sides.

How to get there:

Tunnel Beach is located off the Dunedin to Brighton coastal road. The track starts from the car park at the seaward end of Green Island Bush Road, off Blackhead Road. Public transport is available to within about a half hour walk to the start of the walkway.  The walkway is through private farm land and is closed for lambing from 1st of August 31 Oct.

Another Dunedin treasure – see other posts for more amazing places around Dunedin and New Zealand.

DSC_3146 (2) The track can be seen on the bottom left hand side of the photo.


The tunnel looking down to the beach


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