Hike or Bike the Karetai Track

Rate this Adventure New Zealand Karetai Track

Added by Maggie Evans

This is an amazing but under-appreciated 'bang for your buck' hiking/running/mountain biking track that is less than 10km from Dunedin's city center! It can be enjoyed as a 4km out-and-back trip or can be the start of a longer adventure if used to connect to the Highcliff Track, Buskin Track and Paradise Track on the Otago Peninsula.

This track starts at the end of Tomahawk Road (by Smaills beach) and climbs 200 meters uphill over its 2km one-way length. The walking track ends at Karetai Road, so you could also start it at that end.

The track provides amazing views of Smaills beach and the beautiful coastline further south. And about half a kilometer along the track (starting from the bottom) you get to the cliff edge and you have the worthwhile option of doing a little (50 meter-ish) out-and-back detour along the Karetai cliffs to a vista that gives you great views of Boulder Beach and Sandfly Bay to the north/northeast, as well as the best sunrise view around if you're there early enough! If you're there for sunset, just turn around and you'll be spoiled with a very romantic sunset view.

After enjoying the cliffside detour, you pick up the main track again and continue upwards for just over a kilometer, gaining great views and sheep sightings with the elevation, before reaching the end of the track.

If you're not keen on doing out-and-backs, there's a stile at the top of the paddock where the cliffside detour is, and if you climb over it you can follow the single-track down along the cliff edge to Smaills beach and 'loop' back to the track start. It requires a little 'bush-whacking' at times, but is usually easy enough to navigate.

Pack List

  • All you need are comfy shoes and a wind-proof layer!
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Fitness, Hiking, Mountain Biking, Running

Skill Level:



Year Round

Trail Type:



2.5 Miles

Elev. Gain:

656.2 Feet


Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly

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Added by Maggie Evans

California-born trail runner, backpacker, and outdoor adventure-seeker living in New Zealand.

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