Smails Beach

Dunedin City District

Smails Beach

A secluded golden sand beach just out of the city. I would have to say this is one of the nicest beaches around here, when the wind isn't blowing. Several access points from little parking lots take you through some tussock filled dunes onto a wind swept sandy beach. There is wild life here, so be careful not to disturb them. So far I have only explored one side of the beach, but I'll be back to find a mysterious pebble cave I have heard about.


From Dunedin City head south on Cumberland Street State Highway 1. Veer to the left onto Anderson Bay Road, then turn right onto Queens Drive, heading towards St Kilda. Turn left onto Victoria Road, which will turn into Tahuna Road then into Tomahawk Road as it goes up over the hill. Continue on Tomahawk Road, past Tomahawk Beach and find a park at Smails Beach. You will see Bird Island out off the beach. Short walk down the dunes.

Other adventures in close proximity

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The Apocalypse

The middle of summer near the end of 2016. The sun was out, and it was scorching. No clouds, No wind, No hurry. My wife and I planned to hit a beach. Racking my brain for a close beach that we hadn't been to for a long time that was close to the usual playgrounds for kids. Smails Beach was the decider.

We drove down past the old gun emplacements on the top of Tomahawk. Stopped at the very last parking lot, right before the road turns into the Karetai Track. We loaded up the cameras, sand castle equipment and other beach favorites and hit the trail. It took longer than expected to reach the beach, so many dunes, so much tussock. But when we finally rounded that last corner, we realized this might have been the wrong place to go. The wind was howling at gale force and the sun was directly in front of us! It was like walking into the apocalypse. How did we not know this, how did we not see or feel any signs of wind? I guess those dunes are doing there job right. We struggled on none-the-less, with my son hiding behind Krysha to block the walls of sand hitting our faces. We decided to get out of the wind and head into the dune pockets, which was a really nice experience, sand flying over our heads as we stayed as low as we could. We watched as another couple of people attempted to wonder along the beach, the lady walked to close to a sea lion (didn't see it there) and got one hell of a fright, she basically started running and screaming. Her partner just stood there and watched. We didn't stay long, but we will be back.

Sand blasted but still amused -- Stu