Blueskin Bay is the large estuary which sits beside State Highway 1 just 19 kilometres north of Dunedin. The village of Waitati is nestled against the hills on its southern shore, while Warrington to the north is a popular spot in summer with its safe swimming beach, holiday houses, freedom camping site in the domain, and leisurely walk to the mouth of the estuary. Head north on Coast Road from Warrington to Karitane for stunning views of the sea and countryside. Doctors Point is a great place for a picnic and a walk and possibly some trainspotting on the railway line which clings to the cliffs above the beach.
Just 20 minutes north of Dunedin, Orokonui Ecosanctuary is a conservation success story. Sitting at the top of the hill above Waitati on Blueskin Rd, this 307 hectare piece of regenerating forest enclosed by over 8 kilometres of pest-proof fencing was established in 2007. Since then most of the pests such as possums, rats, stoats, cats and mice have been eradicated, allowing the forest to regenerate and native birds to flourish. Kiwi, takahe, saddlebacks and kaka have been re-introduced, and many other native birds such as kereru and tui are in abundance. Tuatara and large Otago skinks can be viewed in enclosures, and the award winning visitor centre, a model of sustainable design, contains a café, a shop, and comfortable places to relax and take in the view. Both guided and self-guided tours are available, there is bird feeding to watch, and holiday activities for children.
This picturesque and peaceful walk was follows the edge of the Orokonui Lagoon. This saltmarsh features a flax swamp, grasslands and regenerating lowland forest and is an easy 1 hour return route.
The latest foodie business to pop up in the stunning Blueskin Bay area, Harvey Street Merchants stock the best artisan goods and fresh produce from Dunedin and surrounds, alongside delicious gourmet ice-cream and hand-cut blooms. Stop in, stock up and soak up the feel-good vibe.
This large garden centre is a gardener’s delight with a wide range of plants of every description including many native New Zealand species. The café is a great place to stop for breakfast or lunch or to pick up a takeaway coffee. Sit back and relax, browse a gardening magazine and watch garden centre staff watering the plants and assisting customers. The Gardener’s Big Breakfast sounds good or perhaps the Gingerbread French Toast or Goat’s Cheese Twice Baked Souffle. With local produce used wherever possible, a kids’ menu and activities, and all food preferences and allergies catered for, this café has something for everyone, not just those with green fingers.
A destination brewery has set up shop in the shimmering surrounds of Blueskin Bay, just 18 minutes north of Dunedin. A popular spot with the locals, Arc is the latest addition to the blossoming craft beer scene in the city with ultra-fresh brews that sell out on a daily basis. Open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, the brewery is an awesome spot for a relaxed bevvy accompanied by
food truck fare of the day.
Evansdale Glen is a picnic area with several swimming holes and a big playing field. There are two notable features, the Evansdale Waterfall and the Careys Creek walking track. To reach Evansdale Glen drive north from Dunedin for 28km, drive through Evansdale village, and 200 metres uphill on the highway you will see a small road heading down towards your left. At the bottom of the road is a creek you can drive across carefully (or walk across the bridge).
If you want to see the waterfall there is a trail, often muddy, on the other side of the walking bridge. Walk for around 15 minutes and you will see the waterfall.
Those with sturdy walking shoes will enjoy the Careys Creek Track, which follows the old farm track to the foot of Rongomai Ridge. If you feel adventurous (and have warm and waterproof clothing, food and water, and you’ve let someone know where you are going.) you can continue on the track, which becomes quite rough and narrow. It makes its way up to the creek's source and finally ending at Semple Road in the Silver Peaks.
“Life is for pleasure with balance” is the guiding principle of this honey company which positions its beehives on farms in Blueskin Bay and the surrounding area. Their wildflower, manuka and kanuka honey is sold in its raw form, not overheated or creamed, which preserves the taste according to owner Dave Milne. The honey goes into the glass jars runny and crystallises naturally, good healthy honey from a beautiful place. With 10 local stockists, including the Otago Farmers Market which is held on Saturday mornings at the Dunedin Railway Station, it’s easy to find Blueskin Bay honey. During the cruise ship season they also open their shop in the main street of Port Chalmers.