There are heaps of places to stop on the short drive between Dunedin and Oamaru, and Waikouaiti Beach and the nearby Matanaka Farm Buildings is one of the best. Keep reading for more information about these little-visited gems in Coastal Otago.
You’ll pass through the small, nondescript town of Waikouaiti when driving between Dunedin and Oamaru, but turn off the main road and you’ll soon find yourself at a stunning beach. The beach is long and is great for a stroll, and for an awesome view of it from above you can walk up the headland at the northern end of the beach. You can also walk all the way along the beach to the Karitane Estuary if you have the time. Waikouaiti Beach, as with most beaches in New Zealand, can be dangerous to swim in if the conditions are wrong, so be careful! Quite a few people die each year while swimming at New Zealand beaches and things can go badly very quickly. To be safe, try and swim at beaches which are patrolled by surf lifesavers.
The Matanaka Farm Buildings
From the northern end of Waikouaiti Beach drive up the hill (Matanaka Road) to the Matanaka Farm Buildings. This little collection of buildings dates back to the 1850s and are New Zealand’s oldest surviving farm buildings. It also helps that they look cool. They are all painted red and contrast perfectly with the green fields and blue waters of the Pacific Ocean which sits behind them. You can peek inside some of the buildings and there are information panels detailing life in the early days of European migration. This place is fairly off the beaten path, but the interesting buildings and awesome views make it well worth a visit. I reckon this would also be a cool place to a wedding (or pre-wedding) photo shoot.
Getting to Waikouaiti
Waikouaiti is around 40 km from Dunedin. You can drive there along State Highway 1 (the main road to Christchurch and beyond) but you can also take some detours along the way, including the scenic road through Karitane and Beach Road near Oamaru. If you’re heading north make sure to check out my post about the best things to do in Oamaru!
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