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Smails Beach, Dunedin

Smails Beach, Dunedin

Smails Beach, located a short distance from Dunedin’s city centre, is one of over 25 beaches in Dunedin that are worth visiting. You’ll get some great views of the beach from the road leading to it (and from the Karetai Road Track) and there lots of other beaches, walks and viewpoints nearby. Wondering why you should visit Smails Beach? You’ll find out by the end of this post!

Smails Beach Views

Smails Beach is just next door to Tomahawk Beach and you’ll get views of both beaches from the top of the hill which separates them. From the top of the hill you can walk down past a series of viewpoints, some of which double up as car parks. There are also some old ruined buildings at the top of the hill — walk between them and to the coast for a nice view back towards Tomahawk Beach.

For even better views you should consider the Karetai Road Track. It heads up the hill behind the northern end of the beach — you’ll see a good chunk of Dunedin from up there including St Clair Beach and the southern coastline.

READ MORE: Dunedin Itinerary: How to Spend Three – Seven Days in Dunedin

Sand Dunes

Sand dunes are always fun to walk up and down (unless you’re wearing shoes, in which case they can be annoying). The dunes are small (this certainly isn’t the Sahara we’re talking about) but they add a scenic element to Smails Beach.

Smails Beach

The beach itself, accessed via a narrow path, is one of the best in Dunedin. One of the first times went there the tide was quite far out, which left a patch of water resembling a tropical lagoon. Of course the wind was howling and it was cold, but it did make for some cool photos. 

Getting There

Getting to Smails Beach is exactly the same as getting to Tomahawk Beach, as they are right next to each other. I could have just copied and pasted my instructions from my Tomahawk Beach post but I do tend to make things more difficult than they need to be. If you don’t have a car you can catch the number 3 bus from the city bus depot. You could also walk — it only took me around an hour from the city centre.

Other Beaches in Dunedin

There are over 25 beaches in Dunedin and they are all interesting in their own ways — check out my post if you’re planning on visiting some of them.

Are you a fan of New Zealand beaches? Check out our top 12 beaches in the South Island!

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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.