Generic filters
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Search in excerpt

St Kilda, St Clair beach

  • 2 minutes

Otago, South Island

Brisk southern cool climate does not deter hardy surfers clad in wetsuits enjoying cold water Bali at St Clair or swimmers enjoying summer days at remote isolated Otago Peninsula beaches.

Saint Kilda beach in Dunedin, New Zealand
Saint Kilda beach in Dunedin

St Kilda Beach, St Clair Beach & Salt Water pool

  • Imagine an extensive band of white sand with the Pacific Ocean adding a challenge to intrepid swimmers and surfers, St Kilda and St Clair + Hot Water Pool
  • Think about visiting a beach only a 15 minute bus journey from the Octagon that’s lined with cafes and a glorious esplanade promenade

If there is only time to visit one beach in Dunedin then the answer is St Clair. The must-go destination for locals with surf patrols and amenities of a city nestled against the promenade.


St Clair is the location for the well known ‘mid-winter plunge’ where residents brave frigid waters during the winter solstice.

For families, there are playgrounds and changing facilities available at both St Clair and St Kilda. The dinosaur playground at Marlow Park in St Kilda is convenient and stocked with contemporary playground equipment.

If you want to explore Cave Rock (at low tide) , wander across Sumner beach to the seaward side of Cave Rock. It is an easy scramble through this short tidal cave and you emerge on the other beach near the foot of a walking ramp onto the promenade. Cave Rock itself is an easy climb and a plaque on the tower remembers Captain of the Sumner Lifeboat, Joseph Day, who saved many lives between 1867 and 1880.

It is easy walking around to Scarborough Park, which sits under the cliffs. There are toilets here, as well as a children’s playground and paddling pool and plenty of shading trees. No dogs are allowed in the park.

For variation on the return walk try Nayland Street or the less busy Wiggins Street. There are still many interesting and homely houses that reveal Sumner’s origins as a quiet seaside escape. Past the Sumner shops, if you cross Wakefield Avenue, it is well worthwhile to walk down the last part of Nayland Street with its idiosyncratic houses, stone walls and cliffs. Cross Main Street at the pedestrian island back to the car park.

Source: Find out about swimming at Sumner and Scarborough.

Surfer riding the waves, St. Clair Beach, Dunedin, New Zealand
St Clair beach


Families have the option of a vintage hot salt water pool. Enjoy the day at the beach in Dunedin with reliable water temperatures. The open air swimming pool is folded into the rocky cliff face of Forbury Hill and is metres from the ocean. Combined with a visit to Dinosaur Playground nearby in St Kilda and pizzas from a local cafe has the makings of a day at the beach.

The popular surf beach and Esplanade at St Clair in the south of the Dunedin capital city of Otago South Island New Zealand
The popular surf beach and Esplanade at St Clair in the south of the Dunedin

The pool’s location creates a sense of ocean swimming with waves breaking mere metres from the pool’s open sides. Waves crash on the rocky shore below the St Clair Hot Water Pool adding a soundtrack to the leisurely laps in a controlled water environment.

Hot Salt Water Pool Features:

  • 28 degree Celsius
  • 1.1m – 1.4m deep
  • 6 x 25m lanes
  • Toddlers Pool
  • Disabled changing area
  • Cafe, open 9am – 5pm daily

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



Best Bits travel guide is published by Owned and managed by PacificJane Ltd.

Related articles



If you have a query about content, travel deals or anything else, our team is happy to answer all your questions 🙂

    Your information is secure, no third party involved.
    100% Safe, secure, privacy guaranteed. Privacy Policy.