Hiking the Heyward Point Track, Dunedin
Dunedin’s beaches always look better from above, and some of the best elevated coastal views in (or just outside of) town are on the hike to Heyward Point. It’s an easy (ish) two hour hike through farmland and is fairly off the beaten path — it’s one of the best things to do in Dunedin when the sun is shining.
The Heyward Point Track
At the end of a narrow gravel road sits a gate and a little area of grass where you can park your car. From there it’s an easy 15 – 20 minute walk down an overgrown track to a viewpoint. Turn right and you’ll end up in Aramoana, turn left and you’ll be heading to Heyward Point. The view from this spot, which looks out over Aramoana Beach and Mole (a long breakwater) as well as the tip of Otago Peninsula, is awesome. If you’re feeling lazy you could call it a day and head back to your car, warm in the knowledge that you’ve seen one of Dunedin’s best viewpoints. It is definitely worth continuing to Heyward Point though, so push on if you can.
Along the coast and through the forest
From the turnoff the track winds around cliffs and climbs up and down forest tracks. It does get quite slippery on the Heyward Point Track so wear good shoes if you have them. I wore jandals (which are what we call flip flops in New Zealand) and it was manageable but definitely harder than it needed to be. After a huge downhill section, which you obviously have to walk back up at some point, the track opens out onto Heyward Point.
Keep walking towards the end of the path for more stunning views towards Aramoana. From the end of Heyward Point you can continue around to the other side for a great view over Kaikai Beach. The tracks through the farmland are quite rough and there are some sharp plants around but it’s easy enough. Kaikai Beach on a sunny day looks almost tropical, which isn’t something you can often say about Dunedin. It seems like there may be a track down to the beach but we didn’t investigate further, mostly because we didn’t want to walk back up. After hanging out on Heyward Point for an hour or so we headed back to civilization. It’s a bit harder on the way back but that’s a small price to pay for the views.
READ MORE: 26 of the Best Beaches in Dunedin
- Getting there: Head to Port Chalmers and turn left when you see the sign pointing to Purakaunui / Long Beach. Turn right onto Blueskin Road, then onto Purakaunui Road and right again onto Heyward Point Road (it’s a gravel road but it’s in fairly good shape). If you’re into birds, check out the nearby Orokonui Ecosanctuary.
- Drive carefully: The whole stretch of road between Port Chalmers and the start of the Heyward Point Track is narrow and winding and the road signs don’t give adequate warning about how tight the turns are. Drive slowly and pull over to let locals past.
- Wear better shoes than I did: It gets pretty muddy and the sharp leaves (possibly thistles, but I’m no botanist) can get annoying.
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