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Time Required : 2-3 hours

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Tunnel Beach, Dunedin Overview

Located around 7.5 kms southwest of the city of Dunedin in South Island, New Zealand, Tunnel Beach is a spectacular and evocative beach backed by the Pacific Ocean which is blessed with rocky sandstone cliffs, mysterious caves, rugged arches, sea-carved headlands, gurgling waterfalls, massive rocky boulders and exotic vantage points. Aside from the numerous natural features and elements that make the beach look surreal and out of the world, the highlight of Tunnel Beach is the namesake hand-carved rock tunnel.

It was built by a local politician, John Cargill, son of Captain William Cargill in the 1870s for his family. The tunnel was originally just a simple slope; however, now it also has a flight of steps leading to it which was added when the tunnel was open for the public in 1983. It still gives an amateurish and unpolished labour look with straw and raw material sticking out at places, and signs of handwork. Considered to be one of the most romantic spots in all of Dunedin, the secluded spot is perfect to spend some quality time with your loved ones or just to revel in solitude. Tunnel Beach track offers visitors a great way to take in the unpolished splendour of Tunnel Beach and it's surroundings. A quick hour-long walk that skirts along the jagged coastline and rustic cliffside, this walking trail shows you Tunnel Beach from a new perspective.

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Things to Do at Tunnel Beach

  • Rock Climbing: The availability of several protruding rocks and rugged cliffs, the spot is an ideal place for rock climbing. 
  • Vantage Points: Admire the stunning coastline views and the cascading water from the gushing waterfalls. Climb up to the vantage points and soak in the surreal view from up above. The crashing of the waves against the rocks, the gurgling of the waterfalls and the rustling of the wind is like sweet music to the ears.
  • Caves and Tunnels: Explore the several caves and the tunnel. However, be careful of the slippery ground.

Best Time to Visit

The most interesting part of the beach is the massive rock boulder sticking out in the ocean. However, this is not visible during high tides when half the beach is drowned in water. So the best time to visit the Tunnel Beach is during low tides. You should check the Lunar positions before visiting and only venture here on low tide days to get the best views and an amazing experience.

How To Reach Tunnel Beach

There is public transport available that can take you to the entrance of the track route.
  • You can catch a public bus Corstorphine on route numbered 32, 33, 34, 35 or 36.
  • It will drop you at the corner of Middleton Road and Stenhope Crescent, from where it is a pleasant 30 min walk to the track.
  • Once you are at the entrance, you can start walking on the track, which is at an elevated sea level and offers beautiful views of the surroundings.
  • Towards the end, you can descend down the 72 stairs at the tunnel on Tunnel Beach itself. 

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