Tunnel Beach

As promised, I’m back with more pictures from our first day in Dunedin! After a big lunch and seaside wander, we made the short but winding drive (thanks again for taking the van on, Sarah) to the start of the Tunnel Beach walking track. I’d heard this was a must-do, and anything promising both tunnels and beaches sounds awesome in my book.


Downhill first? Sure – easy! On the steeper slippy bits, the hardest part was not getting distracted by the view and losing your footing.


Easy to see why, right? Even though gorse is nasty and spiky up close, its brilliant yellow always makes for lovely pictures, especially against the sea.


The view unfolding below reminded me a bit of a mix between Cathedral Cove and Castlepoint, while still possessing a unique epic-ness all its own.




Time and tide have uniquely molded the sandstone coast here.



Closer to the edge (not too close, Mom!), the view got even more incredible, as the crashing waves below were exposed. It’s easy to see how the constant battering smooths the sandstone cliffs.


I wasn’t the only one creeping up for a better look…



Despite the natural tunnels and arches carved into the rocks by the sea, this beach actually gets its name from a manmade one.




According to the Dunedin tourism site, “in the 1870’s John Cargill, a son of Captain William Cargill, excavated a tunnel down to a secluded beach so that the Cargill families could bathe in privacy.”


Although I’ve gotta hand it to old Johnny for effort, I don’t know that the beach would be ideal for bathing, what with all the rocks and massive waves. Pretty, though!

I couldn’t get over the shapes, some so perfectly geometric, that the sea has carved into the cliffs here.



Only truly tenacious flowers could hold on in a spot like this.


And it takes an equally tenacious group to pose atop a massive windswept sandstone cliff.


Edge of the world, really!



Thanks to photographer Emma for these. 🙂


Someone had left behind a lovely collection of pāua shells, just waiting to be photographed.


I think we’ve probably ended up with a lot of duplicate shots across our phones/cameras after this trip. Who could resist though, in a place like this?



It does seem just a matter of time before some of these amazing rock formations are worn away entirely. I’m glad we got to see them as they are now.

As with all things that first come down, it was time for the less enjoyable portion of the walk, the trek back uphill! Well worthwhile, but we were ready for a good rest and some wine and food back at our bach afterwards.

Just before getting to the car, Kate spotted this little guy, a yellowhammer. He blends in nicely with the gorse blooms.


We had a good night’s sleep, and after the shower queue that comes with any house where there are six ladies and only one full bathroom, we were ready for an action-packed Saturday. Up next, a photographic walking tour of Dunedin’s vibrant street art!

2 thoughts on “Tunnel Beach

  1. Gorgeous spot, Kelsey. I’m ready to explore more of the South Island. And that beautiful photo of the yellowhammer is the perfect closing shot.


  2. Sweet little yellowhammer! Dunedin looks pretty great. But the tunnel – not sure I could be persuaded to pass through. And thank you for not getting TOO close to the edge for those photos. 🙂


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