Sandfly Bay, Dunedin

One of the most accessible beaches on the wild Otago Peninsula coast, Sandfly Bay should be close to the top of anyone’s Dunedin itinerary. The viewpoint above Sandfly Bay is breathtaking on a sunny day, and the dunes backing the beach not only look cool but also provide the perfect conditions for sand boarding.

The Viewpoint Above Sandfly Bay

There are at least a dozen viewpoints similar to this in Dunedin, but the lookout above Sandfly Bay is definitely one of the best. There’s a wooden platform overlooking the beach but the views from the track slightly above it are better. From the track you get a great view over Sandfly Bay, including the dunes behind the beach and the rocks jutting out into the ocean at the end of the bay. It’s one of the best coastal views in New Zealand — don’t miss it! In fact, we visited this viewpoint three times before even walking down to the beach, so if you don’t fancy walking all the way down it’s still worth a visit. A good time to visit this viewpoint (if you want to get good photos) is late afternoon.

The track to Sandfly Bay, Dunedin, New ZealandSandfly Bay Viewpoint, Dunedin, New ZealandSurf at Sandfly Bay, Dunedin, New Zealand

Walking Down to the Beach

It’s a fairly easy little walk down to the beach, but it gets quite steep at the end and most of it is down the sand dunes, meaning it’s a bit of an effort to walk back up. These are among the biggest sand dunes in Dunedin, so if you’ve ever wanted to do some sand boarding (or just slide down the dunes on something) this is a good place to do it. We did some sand boarding in Peru and it was a lot of fun.

Walking down the dunes to Sandfly Bay, Dunedin

Once you set foot on the beach you might be lucky enough to see penguins and sea lions. We saw a couple of sea lions relaxing in the sand and heard a penguin squawking in the distance. The best time for spotting penguins is just before sunset. The beach itself is nice, although, as is generally the case in Dunedin, it looks better from above. I’ve heard the surfing is pretty good at Sandfly Bay, and it’s a cool place for a relaxing pre-sunset stroll.

Sandfly Bay Beach near sunset, Dunedin, New ZealandSandfly Bay beach, Dunedin, New Zealand

There’s also another track to Sandfly Bay, which veers off from the Sandymount Track (at the far end of the beach). I’ve never walked to it from Sandymount but I’m sure there are some great views (it’s best to it in the morning as you’ll be looking straight into the sun in the afternoon).

READ MORE: 30 Fun Things to Do in Dunedin

Getting to Sandfly Bay

Drive up Highcliff Road and you’ll eventually come to the turnoff to Sandfly Bay (Seal Point Road). This is one of the most scenic drives in Dunedin — make sure to stop at the side of the road when you get a chance for views of the Otago Harbour. The Soldiers Memorial Track (a 10-15 minute walk starting from Highcliff Road) is a good place to stop and admire the views.

READ MORE: 26 of the Best Beaches in Dunedin

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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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