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St Clair / St Kilda Beach, Dunedin

St Clair / St Kilda Beach, Dunedin

This beach, split into three sections (St Clair Beach, Middle Beach and St Kilda Beach) is one of the best inner-city beaches in New Zealand. Dunedin, and its surrounds, is home to so many great beaches and this one is the easiest to access, making it ideal for people who are short on time (and their own transport).

Things to do at St Clair / St Kilda Beach

Visit Second Beach

As well as the three sections of beach I mentioned earlier, there’s also a small, stony bay around the corner from the St Clair Salt Water Pool. There’s a trail around to this cool little piece of coastline — it’s worth the short walk as it’s quite different to the rest of what you’ll see while visiting St Clair / St Kilda Beach.

Second Beach, Dunedin -- right next door to St Clair beach

Relax at the Esplanade

The St Clair end of the beach (St Clair and St Kilda are suburbs of Dunedin) doesn’t feature much actual sand, but it’s a nice place to hang out and is really the only spot to get a coffee or some food by the water along the whole stretch of beach. This is all a lot of people see, but it’s definitely worth walking along the rest of the beach.

READ MORE: 30 Fun Things to Do in Dunedin

The Esplanade at St Clair Beach, Dunedin, New ZealandThe Esplanade on a sunny day -- St Clair Beach, Dunedin, New Zealand

Walk along the beach

St Clair / St Kilda Beach is really long and makes for a great place to walk or run. Make sure you climb up the dunes behind the beach and walk along some of the trails up there — the beach looks awesome from above.

READ MORE: 26 of the Best Beaches in Dunedin

Walking along St Clair / St Kilda Beach, Dunedin, New ZealandAbove St Kilda Beach, Dunedin, New Zealand

Walk along John Wilson Drive

This used to be a popular boy racer hangout, but that action has largely been shut down after the council decided to block off most of the road between 3 pm and 11 am. You can walk along it anytime though and the views are incredible, especially once you get towards Lawyers Head, which is easily one of the top viewpoints in Dunedin.

Watch out for wildlife

We saw this cute sea lion sleeping on the sand below Lawyers Head last time we visited. Sea lions are pretty common around the beaches in Dunedin — don’t get too close as they do bite!

A sea lion on St Kilda Beach, Dunedin, New Zealand

Getting to St Clair / St Kilda Beach

You can take bus number 9 from the city to the St Clair end, or bus 44/55 to the St Kilda end (get off at the end of Prince Albert Rd). If you’re visiting by bus it makes sense to catch the number 9 bus to St Clair then walk along the beach to Lawyers Head then walk back along John Wilson Drive to Prince Albert Rd and catch the bus from there back to town. Dunedin isn’t the easiest place to get around by bus but it is possible, and this is one of the more accessible natural sights in Dunedin.

Read More: Exploring Dunedin by bus? Check out the bus timetables / route maps here.

Are you planning on visiting New Zealand? Read our South Island Travel Guide!

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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.