Tunnel Beach Walk provides spectacular coastal views including a natural archway / land bridge alongside a buttress like headland covered in coastal turf. The walk includes access through a historic 1870’s tunnel to a small but beautiful beach nestled amongst towering cliffs.
From Tunnel Beach Road end, climb the stile and follow the fenced track downhill to the spectacular, rocky coastline. At the end of the track, a short tunnel with steps leads down to a secluded beach.
The track is steep in some sections and walking shoes are advised.
The coastal vegetation on the headland is special and easily damaged. Respect the vegetation by remaining behind the barrier and taking photos only.
Tunnel Beach is to the south of Dunedin. Start at the car park on Tunnel Beach Road, signposted off Blackhead Road.
The car park is small. Only park in the designated spaces.
Parking is available on the roadside and is limited. Your vehicle can be towed if you block a private road or driveway.
There is no point to turn on the road. If you have a large campervan, it can be a challenge.
The beach area is tidal and prone to rogue waves. There are caves to explore but make sure to check the tide timetable to avoid getting trapped. Torches are recommended in caves.
This is an exposed coastal site. Take care around cliffs as they may be slippery and unstable after heavy rain.
This is not a swimming beach.
Take care walking on the road as it can become busy, particularly between 9 am - 3 pm.
Don't leave valuables in your car – there have been break-ins.
Coastal turf in bloom. DOC photo.
The headland at Tunnel Beach is home to a fragile, critically endangered, community of native plants. These plants and the soils they live in are permanently damaged if people walk on them.
DOC and the University of Otago are working together to test restoration methods to repair damage caused by human trampling.
You may notice aluminium tags and metallic protection marking experimental plots. We are trying to understand what the turf plants need in order to recover from the damage.
What you can do to help:
Eligible people must be fully vaccinated to use DOC accommodation.