Tunnel Beach

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Tunnel beach (to the left) from further down the coast.
Collage showing the tunnel and the beach.

Tunnel Beach is a locality 7.5 kilometres (4.7 mi) southwest of the city centre of Dunedin, New Zealand. Located just south of St Clair, Tunnel Beach has sea-carved sandstone cliffs, rock arches and caves.[1] Beyond the beauty of the rugged sandstone cliffs, its claim to fame is the tunnel down to the beach that a local politician, John Cargill, son of Captain William Cargill, had commissioned for his family in the 1870s.[2] Local legend says that one or more of Cargill's daughters drowned while swimming at the beach, but there is no truth to this story.[3]

The tunnel itself is rough-hewn, and still shows the marks of the hand working which created it. Originally a simple slope, concrete steps were added when it was opened to the public in 1983.

Access to the beach is via a track across private farmland, and is open year round except during spring lambing season. The track is a popular walking excursion. It descends from 150 metres (490 ft) above sea level at its start, a short distance off Blackhead Road, winding for some 1200 metres to the top of the tunnel close to a natural sea arch. The tunnel descends 72 steps to the beach, and is dimly naturally lit.[4] Note that the path down is steep and can be very slippery following wet weather.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Dunedin New Zealand, Tunnel Beach New Zealand Tourism Guide
  2. ^ Tunnel Beach (from the New Zealand Department of Conservation website. Retrieved 2007-10-09.)
  3. ^ Isaacs, C. "Tall tales told in (graphic) novel form," Otago Daily Times, 9 November 2015. Retrieved 14 December 2018.
  4. ^ Hamel, A. (2007) Dunedin tracks and trails. Dunedin: Silver Peaks Press. ISBN 978-0-473-13772-4. p. 3.05

Coordinates: 45°55′16″S 170°27′31″E / 45.921229°S 170.458556°E / -45.921229; 170.458556