Explore Sandfly Bay

Rate this Adventure New Zealand Sandfly bay

Added by Maggie Evans

Even though Sandfly Bay is only a 15km drive from Dunedin's city center, it's home to yellow-eyed penguins, sea lions, fur seals and many other New Zealand natives. It's also one of the most photogenic beaches on the Otago Peninsula, especially around sunrise and sunset!

Sandfly Bay is one of the iconic beaches on the Otago Peninsula, and is home to a variety of New Zealand natives, including yellow-eyed penguins, sea lions and fur seals. A short but steep (and scenic!) downhill hike is required to access the beach from the carpark, but once you make it down you'll be greeted with close-up views of the sea lions and the chatty oyster catchers.

At the far end of the beach, the fur seals are camouflaged on the rocks. If you're interested in catching views of the penguins, you need to arrive just before sun-up or sun-down, and then you'll (hopefully!) see some waddling from their nests to the ocean, or from the ocean back to their nests, respectively.

Contrary to its name, there are no sandflies at Sandfly Bay! However, it is often really windy and the sand does fly, so bring layers.

For more information on Sandfly Bay, see the Department of Conservation's info page and recommended walks. To learn more about the yellow-eyed penguins, see visit here.

Pack List

It's often pretty chilly at Sandfly Bay, especially in the mornings and evenings when the penguins can be seen.

  • Good layers
  • A thermos of tea or coffee to keep you warm while you wait for the penguins
  • A camera is must as well
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More



Chillin, Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:



Year Round

Trail Type:



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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