Sandfly Bay: Otago Peninsula


Sandfly Bay Recreation Reserve is remarkable for its native fauna and flora and its spectacular views of the Otago Peninsula coastline and cliff tops. Among the many outstanding natural features are the yellow-eyed penguins.


Wildlife viewing

Sandfly Bay has a significant colony of yellow-eyed penguins/hoiho. To view the penguins, a marked track leads up to a public viewing hide near the southern end of the beach. Please do not linger on the beach or around the rocks, if the penguins feel threatened they will not come ashore. The best viewing time is late afternoon or early evening.

Hoiho and young. Photo: Cheryl Pullar.
Hoiho and young


Other seabirds such as spotted shags, sooty shearwaters and variable oystercatchers are also based in the area.

Marine mammals

New Zealand fur seals/kekeno and New Zealand sea lions/pakake haul out on the rocks and beach and wallow in the sand. Please keep at least 10 metres away from them and if you are in a group do not surround them - they can run fast! 


From Dunedin, the Otago Peninsula stretches along the southern edge of the Otago harbour.

Getting there

From Highcliff Road, (which is along the top of the Otago Peninsula), turn onto Seal Point Road. Carpark at road end.


Bird and wildlife watching Bird and wildlife watching

Places to stay

There are no places to stay at Sandfly Bay, but there are B&B's, backpackers and motels on the Otago Peninsula.

Plan and prepare


Find out more


Follow the Outdoor Safety Code:
1. Plan your trip
2. Tell someone
3. Be aware of the weather
4. Know your limits
5. Take sufficient supplies

Alerts for Otago places


Ōtepoti / Dunedin Office
Phone:      +64 3 477 0677
Full office details