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Sandfly Bay

Home > Dunedin > Beaches | Free | Lookouts | Outdoor | Walks
by Thomas Sylva (subscribe)
International travel enthusiast and expat from New Zealand, currently living in Germany.
Published March 8th 2017
Flying Sand and perfect beaches
Don't let the name fool you, you'll be pleased to hear there are actually no sandflies in Sandfly Bay. It is named as such because of the way the sand flies through the air to create the unique landscaping.

Now that we have got that out the way... Sandfly Bay is located on the Otago Peninsula which you can access straight out of the city of Dunedin on the South Island.

While it is a very beautiful and picturesque beach, the temperature here is often a little on the low side, the weather can be a little temperamental and of course, the wind is usually rather prominent which is how the beach got its name and geology, so a picnic on the sand might not be the best idea (although you could be lucky). There are still a number of reasons that a visit to the bay is well worth your time. Firstly, if you turn up just before sunset, on the right-hand side of the bay as you face the water there are often a couple of yellow-eyed penguins that like to climb up the side of the sand dune whom you can watch for about half an hour as they take a few steps, have a long rest, and then take a few more (my kind of exercise!).

Secondly, you can also often spot sea lions here. These magnificent beasts will blow you away with their sheer size but do make sure to keep your distance. There are signs depicting just how far you should stay from the animals on your way down into the bay.

And thirdly, just look at those awesome views. Your photos will be jealousy-inducing and Instagram-worthy, guaranteed.

The easiest access is by car but you can cycle there from Dunedin. I would only recommend this to people who cycle regularly as it's rather hilly on the peninsula, and in particular, when you're going down into the bay it's rather steep and, from first hand experience, it's extremely difficult to come back up again. There is a small car park by the start of a short path down into the bay. The walk to the lookout is an easy 10 minutes, and from there it's a further 10 minutes of scaling down steep sand dunes to the beach.
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Why? Beautiful views and animal sightings
When: Always
Where: Otago Peninsula, Dunedin
Cost: Free!
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