Aramoana Beaches
'Pathway to the Sea'

Dunedin City District

Aramoana + Big Beach + Shelly Beach + Keyhole Rock/Bear Rock + The Mole

As far as Dunedin goes, Aramoana has lots of nooks and cranny's to explore! The town itself was founded by the harbor board in the 1880's as a pilot station and has since evolved into a beach resort from the 1950's. There are two main beaches here, located either side of "The Mole", which extends 1200 meters into the ocean from the shoreline. Created to keep the sand from entering the harbor. Big Beach is on the left hand side with the massive cliffs looming over head, On this beach you will find lots of penguins and seals, and the famous "Keyhole Rock". Always good for a picture. On the right hand side is Shelly beach, you will just have to go here to see why. On a side note this town was the site of New Zealand's deadliest mass murder where 13 people were shot dead before the police shot the gunman down. There is a movie about it.


From Dunedin City head towards Port Chalmers and keep driving past. The road is windy and takes a good 20 minutes to make it to Aramoana. Drive through the little beach town and the road turns to a parking lot at the far end. Ample parking and the beach is right outside your doors.

Other adventures in close proximity

Helpful links

A slice of our harbour's History

The first recorded commercial use of the Otago harbour was by early European whalers and fur sealers in the 1820's. Back in those days the harbour was a shallow tidal inlet, not so great for the mariners traveling down it. The first drawn chart was in 1824 and titled Port Oxley.

In 1850 the first comprehensive survey of the harbour was made by a Captain Stokes on the HMS Acheron, only two years after the arrival of the John Wickliffe and the Philip Laing. As the need for larger ships to access the harbour were needed with the wool trade kicking off in full swing with it's first direct shipment of wool to London. The Council, in 1859 developed a programme to to widen and deepen the channel to Dunedin, and in 1868 they launched their first bucket dredge, the 'New Era'. The 'Vulcan' was the second bucket dredger and was built in 1877.

Also to note, in 1929, the Otago Harbour had the largest bucket dredger in the Southern Hemisphere and equal to the largest in Europe, it was known as the 'Otakou', designed and built in Scotland to meet the requirements of Dunedin.

Further major works were undertaken, the largest being the mole, which started in 1884. The old wooden posts sticking out of the water along the side of the mole, were a railway track that transported all the rocks from the local quarry to create the long mole, which now sticks 1500 meters into the ocean.

Notes are derived from hours of online reading - sore eyes - Stu