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Doctors Point and the Arches, Dunedin

Doctors Point and the Arches, Dunedin

If you’re travelling in New Zealand (or planning a trip here) you’ve probably heard of Cathedral Cove on the Coromandal Peninsula. It’s one of New Zealand’s most famous beaches, appearing on countless Instagram feeds and travel blogs. It turns out Dunedin has something very similar (but way less well-known). Doctors Point, on Dunedin’s northern coast, is home to the Arches, a small series of caves which separates the two sides of Doctors Point Beach.

Walking Through the Arches

From the car park, walk along the wide expanse of sand backed by Blueskin Bay. The beach you can see across the water is Warrington Beach — it’s worth checking out if you have the time. The first time we visited the Arches the tide was high and we could only access the very first part. I returned a few days later at low tide and strolled through with no trouble. There are a couple arches to walk through and the views from inside the caves to the beach are really cool.

The Arches at Doctors Point, Dunedin, New Zealand

Walking Along the Beach

Once through the Arches you can continue along the beach. There are heaps of seaweed covered rocks, which give this beach a unique look. You probably won’t see any tourists but you might encounter some locals walking their dogs or heading out for a surf.

Doctors Point, Dunedin, New Zealand

Continuing on to Canoe Beach and Purakaunui Beach

Before long you’ll reach a calm little bay known as Canoe Beach, and walking along a short track will bring you to Purakaunui Beach. You can also climb a headland between those two beaches for great views.

READ MORE: 30 Stunning Viewpoints in Dunedin

Canoe Beach, Dunedin, New ZealandPurakaunui Beach, Dunedin, New Zealand

Getting back before the tide comes in

I ended up walking all the way down Purakaunui Beach and around the inlet, so I was a bit late getting back to the Doctors Point car park. I had to climb over lots of rocks on the way back but it was easy enough. If you’re worried about climbing on rocks or getting wet, you could go back after Canoe Beach and then drive around to Purakaunui Beach.

Walking through the Arches at Doctors Point, Dunedin, New Zealand

Getting to Doctors Point

Doctors Point is around a 20 minute drive from central Dunedin. Take the main road north towards Oamaru / Timaru / Christchurch. Turn right at Waitati and then turn when you see the Doctors Point sign. You can also take the more scenic route through Port Chalmers and then over the hill. There is a lot to see in this area, including the Silver Peaks Reserve, home to one of the best hikes in Dunedin.

Silver Peaks, Dunedin, New Zealand

Planning a trip to Dunedin? Check out our post about the best things to do in Dunedin, including hikes, viewpoints, beaches and city sights.

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Jon Algie

I'm a South Island local -- born in Timaru and raised in Dunedin. I left the island in 2006 and returned 10 years later. Having seen a good chunk of the world I realised how special this place is -- the most beautiful island in the world! Seven years (and almost 400 posts) later I'm still helping locals and tourists alike plan their trips around the South Island.