Hiking the Sandymount Track to Lovers Leap and the Chasm, Dunedin

Hiking the Sandymount Track puts you face to face with some of Dunedin’s best coastal views. It’s an easy, hour-long walk through farmland to a series of viewpoints. It’s a great hike to do just before sunset (it does get cold though!) and is located on the ocean side of the Otago Peninsula.

Update 2020: Parts of the Sandymount Track are now closed, including the viewing platforms for Lovers Leap and the Chasm. You can still see some great views though, including the one below of Hoopers Inlet. I left the rest of this post in tact in case they open it all back up, but it’s definitely still worth visiting now.

The Start of the Hike

The Sandymount Track is a loop track, and some of the best views can be seen right from the car park. The view over Hoopers Inlet and Allans Beach is awesome, try and visit on a clear day though for the full effect. From the car park, head straight up the road through a gauntlet of tall trees. It’s an interesting start to the walk, and from there you’ll head through farmland to the Chasm and Lovers Leap. You can see Allans Beach for most of this section, and there are plenty of inquisitive sheep hanging around.

Hiking the Sandymount Track, Otago Peninsula, Dunedin, New Zealand

The Chasm and Lovers Leap

The Chasm is a series of eroded sea cliffs. It looks cool, and the viewpoint provides great views down the coast towards Lovers Leap.

The Chasm as seen on the Sandymount Track, Dunedin, New ZealandAwesome views on the Sandymount Track, Dunedin, New Zealand

Lovers Leap is a large arch which fills with water as waves crash against the coast. Apparently you can get down to sea level here but I’m pretty sure you have to be a rock climber to do it.

Lovers Leap seen on the Sandymount Track, Dunedin, New Zealand

The track to the Chasm and Lovers Leap is signalled by yellow signs and it’d be pretty hard to get lost. From the Lovers Leap viewpoint you have two choices: you can either head back the way you came or continue on the loop back to the car park. The second option is slightly harder but definitely worth it.

Walking up Sandymount

The loop track continues around the coast for a short while and then heads steeply up Sandymount. This hill is quite sandy (obviously) but it’s pretty easy for those with an average level of fitness. You’ll come to a track heading down to Sandfly Bay which takes around an hour. Remember you will have to walk all the way back to the Sandymount car park if you left your car there (and there is easier access to Sandfly Bay on the other side), so I wouldn’t recommend it. The sun was setting when we were there so we walked down the Sandfly Bay track for minute or so to get some photos (and have a bit of a rest).

READ MORE: 30 Stunning Viewpoints in Dunedin

Sunset while hiking the Sandymount Track, Dunedin, New Zealand

Back to the car park

There’s a viewpoint at the top of Sandymount, which looks out over Hoopers Inlet and the Otago Peninsula coastline. You also get great views while walking down towards the car park. It’s a fine end to one of the top coastal walks in Dunedin.

The view of Hoopers Inlet from the Sandymount Track, Dunedin, New Zealand

Getting to the Sandymount Track

Most people arrive at Sandymount by car. Either drive up Highcliff Road until you come to Sandymount Road or turn down Allans Beach road in Portobello and then turn right onto Hoopers Inlet road. Some of these are gravel roads — I’m pretty sure I lost a hubcap on one of them.

Are you planning a trip to Dunedin? Check out our post about the best things to do in Dunedin, including hikes, beaches, waterfalls and city sightseeing.

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Jon Algie

A travel blogger from New Zealand who has just returned home after 6 years abroad. Join me as I see as much of the South Island as I can.

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