Dunedin has a reputation for gloomy weather, but sometimes in summer it gets okay for a little bit. Nothing beats exam stress like a swim at the beach, and as long as you can swim, you can have a swell time hitting the waves this summer. And as everyone knows, the best way to enjoy the crowning peak of the year is to hit the beach. So with no further ado, grab some friends, a sportsball, your camera and get stuck in. Don’t forget to bring sunscreen and a basic first aid kit!
The shore most synonymous with swimming in Dunedin, St Clair is only a short bus safari from the student section of town. It has a surf lifesaving club for superior surf safety and is popular with surfers and dog walkers alike. A classic choice for a Kiwi summer.
The next bay up the coast from St Clair, Smails is a little more wild and remote. You’ll need a car for this one, and bring some friends because there are no lifeguards. Watch out for sea lions!
About half an hour up the coast, Karitane beach is great for swimming, surfing, and seeing seaweed. A scenic stroll around the headland to stretch your legs might save your skin from a summertime sunburn if the solar scorching gets too sweltering. Also, the Karitane Store is a proprietor of phenomenally pleasant pizzas.
Another beach accessible by bus, Brighton is one of Dunedin’s best and most beloved bays. Another safety-conscious beach with surf lifesaving services, try the waves here, and hit Tunnel Beach for an adventure on the trip back into town.
Doctors Point is a well-kept secret, popular with those born and raised in Dunedin, and especially the retired doctor community, for which the beach is named. The beach here has a big tide channel and gets deep very quickly, making it perfect for swimming, but less well suited for those students spoiling for surfing swells. A pro tip: Avoid Doctors Point in windy weather — wait for a warm, wan one instead.
Along the coast road to Karitane lies Warrington Beach, which has a campground, along with a surf lifesaving club. A great beach for surfing, swimming, bodyboarding and exploring.
The eponymic emergence of Long Beach’s name is pretty self explanatory. One of the longest, and slightly more wild beaches on this list, it is endearing for its great range of normal beach activities and, in addition, walking and rock-climbing. Be sure to keep your distance from any penguins you might see, lest you spook them!
Strikingly scenic, Sandfly Bay is superlatively suited for sauntering, moreso than swimming or surfing. Fur seals, sea lions, and yellow eyed penguins can all be seen with a bit of luck and good timing.
Victory Beach is a nice venue for a visit. It’s the home of the world renowned Great Pyramids of Dunedin, which make for a nice outing if you’re looking for a basalt fix but are tired of climbing the Organ Pipes. It’s located along Dick Road, near Portobello on the Peninsula, so make sure you bring a car. Watch out for the welter of wildlife which makes Victory Beach such a wonderful spot for a wellness wander.