The Otago region of the South Island is rich in natural wonders. Dunedin, its biggest city, is the gateway to this area. Once you’ve arrived and collected your Dunedin Airport car rental from Hertz, you’ll be set to explore its many attractions, such as these natural and geological attractions.
Just a couple of kilometres south of Dunedin, Tunnel Beach is located off the Dunedin to Brighton coastal road. The track starts from the car park and is an easy one hour walk, return, albeit with a bit of a climb. It’s best to go at low tide. Tunnel Beach gets its name from the passage that was hand carved through the rocks in the 1870s. Today you can descend through the same tunnel to the sheltered beach at the bottom of the spectacular sandstone cliffs, amongst rock arches and caves (keep your eyes peeled for fossils along the way).
Half an hour out of Dunedin you’ll be able to view spectacular cliffs at The Chasm and the Lover’s Leap arch, along with impressive sand dunes. From the car park on Sandymount Rd it is a 2 hour return walk.
Just an hour north of Dunedin along the coast you’ll come to the Moeraki Boulders. It’s just a couple of minutes from the car park down to the beach, where the Moeraki bouldersrest. These mysterious spherical rocks are totally unique. They were formed millions of years ago in the sea. Maori legend tells us that the Moeraki boulders are the remains of baskets that washed ashore after a canoe wreck. Today some of them weigh several tonnes and are as big as 3 metres across.
There’s also a nice cafe here, as well some deer on the neighbouring land that you can get up close to and even buy food to feed them with.
Further north and inland from Moeraki, about two and a half hours from Dunedin, you reach Duntroon. There is a fossil museum here, as well as Takiroa, the site of some interesting rock formations and ancient Maori rock art drawings. Also in this area are theElephant Rocks, which resemble elephants sleeping in a field. They are on a private farm just south of Duntroon, and can be accessed via foot from a parking bay on the Island Cliff-Duntroon Road. This area was used as a filming location for the first Chronicles of Narnia film.