Dunedin is often called a ‘cold water Bali’. Sure, you’ll be covered head-to-toe in thick rubber instead of board shorts, but other than that there are genuine similarities. Dunedin has some 30 beaches within 30 minutes’ drive of the city centre, and most have great surf.
There is something for every level of wave rider, from mushy beach breaks for beginners through to heaving reefs for the experienced. Beaches like Whareakeake (Murdering Beach) offer world class surfing when the swell, tide and wind align.
Just like Bali, when you combine the north and south coast opportunities, there is rarely a Dunedin day when there is no surf. Geographically, Dunedin is wide open to swells from the south west to the north east, ranging consistently from 1-3m, but 4-6m plus waves are a regular occurrence in the winter months.
St Clair is the epicentre of #surfdunedin, a popular beach lined with classy cafes and restaurants that beckon on a marginal day. Just down the beach, St Kilda offers less crowded and punchier waves. See the St Clair Beach Surf Cam.
Further south, if Blackhead’s peaks are too crowded with local heavies, just find a wave to yourself along the little-surfed coastline between Brighton and Taieri Mouth.
Rare tropical cyclones bring Dunedin's wave-rich north coast to life, with Aramoana, Whareakeke and Karitane being the pick of the bunch.
Otago Peninsula is where the real adventure begins, with a smorgasbord of breaks, all regulated by the true locals - penguins, sea lions and sharks…