You can get some stunning views of Smails Beach from the series of car parks on Tomahawk Road, but if you’re keen for a hike and want to see this stretch of coastline from a different perspective the Karetai Road Track is a great option. Walking from Smails Beach (starting on Lower Karetai Road) up the hill to the other end of the road takes around 75 minutes return and there is heaps to see.
Hiking the Karetai Road Track
A large section of Karetai Road is off limits to traffic, but connecting the two ends makes for an easy hike and you’ll see some wonderful views over Smails Beach, Tomahawk Beach and the long suburban stretch of St Kilda / St Clair Beach. You’re likely to have the track all to yourself too — this certainly isn’t a popular hike. The track follows an old road which cuts through farmland. You’ll see some cows and sheep but of most interest are the expansive views on offer. There are so many great coastal views to see in Dunedin and this is right up there with the best.
There’s a short detour (which you should see as it’s quite obvious) which takes you to a viewpoint looking out over the Otago Peninsula coastline towards Sandfly Bay and Sandymount. There are some spectacular short hikes in this area — check out my other Dunedin posts!
READ MORE: 30 Fun Things to Do in Dunedin
After the detour the track continues up to the top of Karetai Road. This is the other end of the track and you could easily start there instead (although I much prefer to get the uphill hiking out of the way first). There are several other tracks nearby including the Paradise Track and the Highcliff Track (for Boulder Beach). If you have a car it’d be easy to head back down the hill, pick your car up and then drive to the start of those tracks.
Getting to the Karetai Road Track
Drive along Tomahawk Road and then turn up short lower section of Karetai Road. The track is easy to find and there is plenty of room to park. The Karetai Road Track is a good option for people relying on public transport. You can catch bus number 3 to Tomahawk Road at the near side of Smails Beach and then walk along the road (or part of the way on the beach) and then on towards the track.
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