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Family fun

Sandfly Bay attractions, wildlife viewing

  • 2 minutes

Otago, South Island

Discover the large sand dunes of Sandfly Bay, Otago Peninsula and perhaps encounter the local inhabitants, sea lions and seals. A favourite instagram spot for its seascape, sand dunes and tussock grasses.

Sandfly Bay’s name is derived from the flying sand which can be abrasive.

Sandfly Bay, New Zealand
Sandfly Bay

Otago Peninsula area – Sandfly Bay Track

Walk to Sandfly Bay and combine coastal views with wildlife viewing – kids will love the sand dunes and can earn a Kiwi Guardians medal here too. Take a stroll down the path through farmland to the viewing platform. Enjoy the breath-taking views of Sandfly Bay, the coastline and the wild ocean. Continue down the track which progresses down the sandhill on to the beach. Take care as erosion can damage the sandhill making some parts difficult to walk.

With prominent sand dunes, windswept shores and beautiful coastal vistas, Sandfly Bay is one of the beautiful places on the Otago Peninsula. A great insta moment, photo moments galore on the beach. The name reflects the beach’s tendency to be very windy. Wind tossed hair is almost guaranteed.

A walk around the beach tracks Sandfly Bay Track will give you an opportunity to observe yellow-eyed penguins and sea lions making the most of their coastal habitats.  Remember to keep at least twenty metres from their habitat.

Sleeping sea lion on beach at Sandfly Bay, Otago New Zealand
Sleeping sea lion on beach at Sandfly Bay
Sandfly Bay, Beach Paradise South Island New Zealand
Sandfly Bay

Walking and tramping

Seasonal restrictions Part of Sandfly Bay Wildlife Refuge is closed from 1 November to 28 February to protect wildlife in the area. From the viewing platform, follow the signs to access the beach.

No dogs

Sandfly Bay has a significant colony of yellow-eyed penguins/hoiho. Don’t linger on the beach or anywhere else where they may come ashore. If you encounter a penguin on the beach, keep well away (50 m) and crouch down. If they feel threatened they will not come ashore.

New Zealand fur seals/kekeno and New Zealand sea lions/rāpoka haul out on the rocks and beach and wallow in the sand. Keep at least 20 m away from sleeping sea lions and if you are in a group don’t surround them. Seals and sea lions may look placid but they are powerful, wild predators and can be very dangerous if they are approached too closely.

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

Yellow-eyed penguin in long grass. Wildlife sanctuary. Dunedin. New Zealand.
Yellow-eyed penguin

For more information about Dunedin beaches and what to do visiting Dunedin & Otago Peninsula check out Dunedin Travel Guide.



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