Skip to Content

A Trip to Bull Creek and Chrystalls Beach, South Otago

A Trip to Bull Creek and Chrystalls Beach, South Otago

The main road between Dunedin and Milton doesn’t make for the most interesting of journeys, but head towards the coast via gravel roads and you’ll see some rarely visited pieces of Otago coastline. While it’s more of a local experience than something I’d recommend to tourists there are some great views on offer at Bull Creek and Chrystalls Beach!

The Dunedin – Milton – Taieri Mouth Loop

For this trip it’s best to drive the main road to Milton and then head to the coast from there. After visiting Bull Creek and Chrystalls Beach you then drive to Taieri Mouth via the backroads. You could do it in the opposite direction too although you’d be leaving the most boring part of the drive until last. Stop off at Lake Waihola on the way for some lunch or maybe the Sinclair Wetlands if you’re keen for a walk.

Milton to Bull Creek

Turn down Springfield Road (then Back Road and Glenledi Road), just after the supermarket / kink in the road in Milton. The road soon turns to gravel and it’s a winding drive to Bull Creek and Chrystalls Beach. Signage is pretty good so the route should be obvious. You’ll eventually come to a turnoff — left is Bull Creek and right is Chrystalls Beach, although there’s another road to Chrystalls Beach off  Bull Creek Road (more on that later).

Bull Creek

From that turnoff it’s around 10 km to Bull Creek. We drove there for the first time recently and weren’t sure what to expect. A creek? Beach area? Village? All of the above!

A narrow road cuts through the village and down to the beaches. Park up at the end and walk down the short track to the beach or hang out on the grassy area above it which includes a few places to sit. It’s a picturesque spot to eat a picnic or go on a short walk. We didn’t walk around the village too much as it’s just a collection of holiday houses which didn’t seem to want to be disturbed.

Chrystalls Beach

From Bull Creek head back the way you came until you reach Chrystalls Beach Road. Turn down there and you’ll reach the northern end of Chrystalls Beach. There are some good views from the rocks (beware of sea lions), with the beach stretching off into the distance.

If you want to visit the middle section of the beach you’ll have to drive back the way you came to the turnoff I mentioned towards the start of this post. From there it’s around 10 km to the beach.

This part of Chrystalls Beach is long and deserted, with Cook’s Head Rock the only landmark in miles. It looks pretty cool but the farmland backing the beach smelt terrible — the northern end was much more pleasant to look around!

Chrystalls Beach to Taieri Mouth

From Chrystalls Beach you’ll head back towards Milton before joining up with Akatore Road. This will take you to Taieri Mouth via the backroads. The roads are in decent shape but take care as gravel roads are a far different beast to tarmac.

There isn’t a whole lot to see on this route, but closer to Taieri Mouth you’ll get a decent view of the coast. The Akatore Creek is another interesting spot to look out for. The drive from Chrystalls Beach to Taieri Mouth should take around 40 minutes.

Taieri Mouth to Dunedin

From Taieri Mouth it’s around 30 minutes along the Southern Scenic Route to Dunedin. Check out the Taieri River Track or hang out at some of the best beaches in Dunedin at Brighton. Lots of awesome views on this road!

READ MORE: 30 of the Best Things to Do in Dunedin

The Details

It should take around two hours to drive this route, plus stops. You’re looking at a half-day trip from Dunedin, a fun outing for people who are keen to explore Dunedin off the beaten path!

Are you planning a trip to Dunedin? Check out our three-seven-day itinerary!

The following two tabs change content below.

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.


Saturday 2nd of September 2023

Love Bull Creek spent a lot of holidays there over the past 20 years. Not sure now as I've been away from the area but you could rent a house there for a week or more . Great fishing & walking tracks.

Jon Algie

Monday 4th of September 2023

Thanks for the comment Debs, must have been a cool place to keep returning to!

David Picard

Tuesday 29th of August 2023

Remarkable countryside we're afforded in the south. Great article Mr Algie! Formerly KVHS by chance?

Jon Algie

Wednesday 30th of August 2023

Cheers, David -- nope probably a family member though!

Comments are closed.