Okia Reserve

Dunedin City District

Okia Reserve - The Pyramids with basalt column cave - Victory Beach and the SS Victory shipwreck

This reserve is home to the longest beach on the peninsula which is named after the SS victory which ran aground in 1861. If you go there at low tide you can still see the massive fly wheel sticking up out of the ocean. The reserve itself is 231 hectare and home to heaps of wildlife and sandy bracken dunes. The Pyramids of Dunedin are also here, the little pyramid with a very cool basalt column cave that you can climb through.

History - SS Victory - via Wikipedia

The steamship SS Victory departed Port Chalmers bound for Melbourne at 4:30 pm on 3 July 1861, carrying passengers, mail and cargo. It ran aground at the southern end of the beach at about 6 pm, seven minutes after chief mate George Hand took charge of the ship. Captain James Toogood ran the engines full astern for around 90 minutes, but the ship was embedded in 6–7 feet of sand, so the passengers and mail were unloaded. Hand was found guilty of being intoxicated and in neglect of duty, and sentenced to serve three months hard labour on 20 July; the court also criticised the captain. On 24 July and the following day the ship's cargo, equipment and hull were auctioned off on the beach, recovering around £1,900 from an estimated value of £25,000.

History - Little Pyramid Cave - Lore and History of the South Island Maori

Several Ngati Mamoe were slain when hiding in the cave at the Little Pyramid on Kapuketereti Flat. Kumu kumu whero, behind Otakou, recalls an incident of Te Wera's raid, its reddish colour being a reminder that a warrior was seen ascending the spot, his posterior being badly slashed and gory. For over sixty years the vicinity of the Little Pyramid has been the happy hunting-ground of European collectors of skulls, and the cave within, although "tapu" to the Maoris, was ransacked in the so-called interests of science during August and September, 1938, and hailed as a great discovery. The restless spirits of the slain from Te Wera's raids are said still to frequent Pipikarita on the sea coast, going to that beach to gather pipis. The present-day Maori however calls this tapu place Pipi Garhead.

Other adventures in close proximity

Helpful links

A missed sunrise, a boat found.

I had been exploring quite a bit of the Otago Peninsula of late and decided to hit up another spot. I wanted to knock off one of the many ship wrecks in Otago waters before they were lost for ever. The SS Victory was a great place to start. The history was exciting and it happened to run aground on a very pristine beach. It was mid-winter and freezing temperatures out, but I hit the road anyway. Driving down the winding peninsula I realized I had made a crucial error. The drive took much longer than I had planned and the most stunning sunrise I had ever seen was happening in front of me down the harbor. I made it to the parking lot and to my dismay the sun was already up. Just a few yellow tones left in the sky, and a very thick layer of frost on the ground.

The Pyramids looked glorious in the light and exact to the form. I wasted no time and skipped right past them to the beach. Lets just say, that beach was a journey away. And I should of read up on how long the beach was! 3.5 km in length! I knew the Victory was on the south side and headed in that direction. I kept walking and walking and walking. Wondering if I would ever see any sign of a ship, A quick glimpse of a black object in the waves caught my eye. It had to be it! As I got nearer and nearer, it got larger and larger. The round looking object was a massive flywheel from the old Steamer. I read some where that they managed to float this ship again but the anchor had snapped and the ship run aground again, breaking apart when it caught the sand. The fly wheel was all I could see, and the sky was a nice pastel pink. On to the pyramids and the cave.

I stopped for a bite to eat once I found the cave. The track goes pretty close to it. I then started exploring, It didn't take me long to find the real cave just under an rocky ledge. The inside of the cave was like walking up the organ pipes but underground. Kind of a surreal feeling once been to the other first. I set my camera up and starting thinking about the history of the place. Creepy stuff. After a bit of exploring I exited the same way I came and headed back to the car.

No bones found - Stu