Kaka Point has long been a favourite with locals looking for an escape from city life in Dunedin. Sun, sand and a laidback atmosphere greet travellers to this tiny village with a view of Nugget Point, one of the South Island’s most revered coastal features. We’d passed through Kaka Point a few times but never really lingered, until a recent weekend trip to celebrate our 10-year anniversary. Outside of relaxing by the beach there are plenty of fun things to do in Kaka Point, including surfing, sunrises and walks.
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Hit the Beach
You’re never far from the beach in Kaka Point, especially if you’re staying close to the main road. I could have thrown a stone from our room to the beach, and I don’t have a good arm!
We were there in winter so there wasn’t any swimming or lying on the beach for hours on end. Great place for a stroll though in any season. There are a few different beach areas in town and on the road to Nugget Point.
Watch a Sunrise
The South Island’s east coast regularly rewards early risers with spectacular sunrises. Being just across the road from the beach meant it was easy to get up, stumble outside still half asleep and enjoy the sun rising over another crisp winter’s morning.
Nugget Point is another place to consider for sunrise. It’s a lot more effort (15-minute drive and a 10-minute walk) but well worth it considering the views on offer.
Go For a Walk
From the main road in Kaka Point there’s a short track leading up the hill. There are a few places to stay up there and a seat with a good view of town.
Further up the hill there’s a bush walk in Kaka Point Scenic Reserve. It’s pretty low-key and it never really leaves the forest — good if you’re just looking for a walk but there are much more scenic ones in the general area including Cannibal Bay to Surat Bay, Nugget Point, Roaring Bay and Barrs Falls.
Surfing is a popular activity in Kaka Point, as it is at many of the beaches along the Otago Coastline. I couldn’t tell you what’s special about surfing in Kaka Point compared to elsewhere — let us know in the comments if you’re in the know!
Road to Nugget Point
It takes around 15 minutes to drive to Nugget Point, but that could easily balloon if you make some stops along the way. There are a few different beach areas to stop at as the road hugs the coastline most of the way.
Nugget Point Lighthouse
There are few more spectacularly placed lighthouses in New Zealand than Nugget Point Lighthouse. It sits on the narrow clifftop above the “nuggets”, a group of rocks and small islands.
Look south and you can see some of the headlands of places like Cannibal Bay and Pounawea. It’s a short walk to the lighthouse and there are awesome views pretty much the whole way.
Roaring Bay is next to Nugget Point and it mostly attracts tourists looking for yellow-eyed penguins. We’ve tried a couple of times but have never really timed it right. We were there two hours before sunset recently but couldn’t justify waiting around for another hour or so when we had a nice room with a view to go back to.
Other Things to Do in Kaka Point
You could hang out at the pub, go fishing or play some golf in nearby Owaka. Kaka Point is also very close to several nature spots including Cannibal Bay / Surat Bay, Jacks Blowhole, Catlins Lake and Barrs Falls.
Exploring the Catlins
Kaka Point is the perfect base for exploring the northern Catlins. Most things are within a 30-minute drive and there’s heaps to see. If you’re spending a few days in the Catlins I’d recommend you stay one night in Kaka Point (or Owaka), one night in Papatowai (or that general area) and one in or around Curio Bay. Three nights would be a good window of time, although you can also see a lot in a day or two.
Where to Eat
The pub (The Point Cafe and Bar) serves up pretty good food — there isn’t any other option if you’re looking for a sit-down meal (dinner bookings essential). There’s also a takeaway food truck and a shop next to the pub. Luckily, a lot of places to stay have kitchens — buy supplies on your way (Dunedin, Milton, Balclutha).
Where to Stay
We stayed at Seascape Accommodation for two nights and were impressed with the room and the views. The location couldn’t be better (close to the pub but didn’t notice any noise), with the beach right there.
Planning a trip to Kaka Point? Check out these accommodation options in Kaka Point.
It is right on the road though and you get plenty of cars and walkers passing by. They also have rooms just up the hill — stay up there if you prefer things a little more private.
Are you planning a trip to New Zealand? Check out our two-week South Island itinerary!
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