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St. Clair Beach, Dunedin Overview

St. Clair, a suburb in Dunedin, New Zealand is best known for its beach called the St. Clair Beach or Ocean Beach. It stretches across 3 kilometres along the Pacific Ocean in South Dunedin as it touches Saint Clair in the South West, Saint Kilda and the foot of Lawyer’s Head in the East. This destination is one of the major recreational areas, not only for Dunedites but also for tourists.

This white sand beach is quite popular during the summer when people indulge in surfing, swimming and other water sports on this inner-city beach. It is ideal to visit the beach for a few hours during the summer (around December to April) when the influx of people leads to a range of activities opening up on the beachside. People also have a range of cafes and restaurants to eat at, making this place a perfect weekend spot. So, if you’re into water sports, swimming, walking or even strolling along the beach, then St. Clair beach is one of the perfect destinations for you. 

There is no entry fee for the beach as such. However, if you wish to take part in surfing, surfboards start at NZD 40. The beach is open on all days and at all times. However, it is better to avoid visiting the beach at night in order to ensure safety. Moreover, water sports take place during the day so it is ideal to visit the beach then. 

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St. Clair Beach

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Things to Do

  • Swimming is always open at the beach. Visitors can simply dive in and explore the waters.
  • Surfing lessons and board hires are available at Esplanade on the beach during summers and during other times, they need to be arranged.
  • St. Clair hot salt water pool is placed right at the South end of the beach which is one of the exclusive heated seawater pools in New Zealand, dating back to 1884. This is an open-air pool ideal for those who want to explore seawater swimming but do not wish to experience cold seawater. 


St. Clair beach is known for the range of cafes, bars and restaurants it offers. The highly recommended eateries in and around this beach are as follows: 
  • Esplanade restaurant that offers a range of beverages and multi cuisine food. 
  • Starfish bar and cafe that offers contemporary New Zealand and European cuisines. It is best known for its breakfast food.
  • Salt is another restaurant that offers similar foods. 
  • For those who want to explore Thai, Chinese and other Asian delicacies, Spirit House Dunedin is a good option.
  • St. Clair Star Fish and Chip Chop also offers fast food and Asian cuisines.
  • Regular cafes include The Long Dog Cafe, Equinox Bar and Restaurant and Perc Cafe St. Clair. These offer a range of baked foods, beverages, grills and New Zealand delicacies.  

How To Reach St. Clair Beach

  • St Clair beach is located in Otago, South of Dunedin.
  • The closest airport to this beach is Dunedin International Airport (DUD) which is around 28 kilometres from the from St. Clair beach and will take you less than half an hour to reach this destination by car and 1 hour 20 minutes on the Queenstown to Dunedin Bus IC8502.
  • The beach is around 4.3 kilometres from the City centre and would take around 7 minutes in a car and around 20 minutes by bus numbers 44, 8 or 50 that go from Downtown to St. Clair Beach.
  • Bus route number 8 is the most common one.

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