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Kiwi towns

What’s so great about Aramoana

  • 4 minutes

Aramoana, Otago

What to see and do in Aramoana

Aramoana there are plenty of things to do. Explore Aramoana, a stunning remote, largely holiday settlement on the Otago Peninsula located by the entrance the Otago harbour heads. For outdoor enthusiasts Aramoana offers plenty of things to do with the added joy of quiet natural places. Discover beaches where seals and sea lions rest, birds nest and Royal Albatross soar and float looking for their landing site on Taiaroa Head.

Otago Peninsula Taiaroa Heads overlooking Aramoana and harbour entrance, Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand
Otago Peninsula Taiaroa Heads overlooking Aramoana and harbour entrance

Aramoana Top Sights, Highlights

  • Aramoana Mole, a massive constructed breakwater in the harbour mouth. A favourite haunt for sea lions and seals with the Pacific Ocean pounding the rocks and the quiet harbour waters on the other side. A must-go walk with a promise of meeting the local inhabitants.
  • Visit a place with no shops, no street lights rather nature is in ascendency
  • Cliff faces plunge into the sea with rock caves, arches and magnificent coastal scenery adds a dramatic landscape begging to be explored further
  • Aramoana Spit boardwalk through pristine salt marshes. Linger at the viewing platform with views of incoming ships and the local bird life. The area is a protected wildlife reserve, and significant example of an Otago salt marsh.
  • Climb amazing sand dunes and find spaces galore to walk along a driftwood strewn beach

What is the meaning of Aramoana

  • The Maori name means pathway to the sea


Aramoana Walk

The Aramoana Boardwalk and saltmarsh experience, and other short walks from Aramoana on the edge of Otago Harbour, suit all ages and abilities.

Flat boardwalk

Isolated, pure white sand in contrast to dramatic imposing cliffs plus a saltmarsh walk across a landscape where imagination is all you want it to be. Must visit locations for photo enthusiasts and lovers of nature at its most raw. Aramoana means pathway to the sea, and expect to meet some local residents, sea lions. Remember to keep your distance of at least 20 metres and do not get between a sea lion’s view of the sea. Check DOC resource for up to date information.

Aramoana walks, Dunedin, New Zealand @DOC / Laura Honey
Aramoana walks @DOC / Laura Honey

Stunning white sandy beach is split by the Mole. The Mole is a long breakwater stretching out into the harbour entrance. It’s an exhilarating walk with the ocean pounding the Mole on one side and the quieter harbour waters the other.

The viewing platform at the end of the boardwalk is a great place to enjoy the rich variety of life on the salt marsh. You can also observe bird life on the mud flats and the range of shipping that passes in and out of the harbour.

Keep within a 20-metre (66-feet) distance from all wildlife to avoid any risk of being attacked – fur seals in particular can be quite hostile if they feel threatened.

Other walks around Aramoana spit and the Mole, Otago Peninsula

These short walks all begin at the end of Moana Street.

Moana St – Aramoana Spit

  • Length: 3 km (return)
  • Duration: 45 min (return)

Moana St – sea wall

  • Length: 900 m (return)
  • Duration: 15 min (return)

Moana St – Aramoana mole

  • Length: 2.5 km (return)
  • Time: 30 min (return)

There is a track and boardwalk that takes you through the tidal salt marshes and huge sandhill down the northern end of the beach. The settlement is full of classic kiwiana cribs.


Night sky fans and photographers have found a well known local spot for capturing the Milky Way and, if you are lucky, glimpsing one of the night sky treats, glowing bands of Aurora Australis.

The downtown of Port Chalmers, the suburb of Dunedin city (New Zealand).
Port Chalmers

How to get to Aramoana, Otago Peninsula?

The easiest way to get to Aramoana is driving. Approximately 25 km from central Dunedin head towards Port Chalmers. Park by the Aramoana Domain, Moana Street and then explore on foot.

Aramoana is around 25 km from central Dunedin. Head towards Port Chalmers and keep driving along the coastal road. Port Chalmers, with its historic buildings and hillside viewpoints is a great place to grab a coffee.


Enthusiastic cyclists consider a Dunedin Cycling Trip from Port Chalmers to Aramoana Spit – Best Bits.

Orbus public bus service terminus is Carey’s Bay.

What to do with kids in Aramoana

  • Build driftwood mansions and go fossicking for beach treasures
  • Climb sand dunes and race to the top
  • Compete who gets to see the first soaring albatross (and seagulls don’t count)

Pack snacks and water before departing for Aramoana.

Fur seal sleeping at Aramoana beach in Dunedin, New Zealand
Fur seal sleeping at Aramoana beach in Dunedin

Where to take a great selfie in Aramoana

  • Magnificent cliff faces and the sweep of beach with yourself as a speck of humanity
  • Your driftwood mansion creation
  • Boardwalks with the undulating salt tussock swaying in the wind

Aramoana notoriety

  • Aramoana massacre was a spree shooting that occurred on 13 November 1990 in the small seaside township of Aramoana, northeast of Dunedin, New Zealand. Resident David Gray 13 people including local police Sergeant Stewart Guthrie … Wikipedia

What keeps the place ticking?

  • Does not have an ‘economy’ rather nature is in charge of proceedings

Judgment on Aramoana

  • An extraordinary place of raw beauty and natural charm

Every town adds to the richness of things to do and see. For more details about the region check Dunedin Travel Guide nearby attractions and events.

Gorse, Otago Harbour entrance, Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand. The sand dune and the Aramoana mole located at the mouth of the Otago Harbor. This area is a protected Wildlife Sanctuary.
The sand dune and the Aramoana mole


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