Aramoana Beach

Aramoana Beach

Aramoana is a coastal beach near Dunedin with many spots in the area to be discovered and explored. It’s a beach that’s got swell along with a sea wall inhabited by wildlife. The half-hour drive from Dunedin to Aramoana is certainly worth it. Maybe one of the most iconic features of Aramona Beach is ‘The Keyhole’, a rock formation with a hole in the middle. Beyond the keyhole, the beach (known as Aramoana Spit) gets some good swell and is popular among local surfers. Whether you are a surfer, explorer or walker Aramoana is an adventure worthwhile.


1.5 hours


30 min from Dunedin


Beach, Geology



Lauren on an evening stroll along The Mole at Aramoana

45°46′23″S 170°43′00″E

In Detail

There is quite a variety of short walks and beaches in the surrounding area. The name Aramoana in Māori translates to, “pathway of the sea”. Some of the most iconic features of Aramoana are its sea wall called The Mole and ‘The Keyhole’. There are some longer walks that stretch around the area that take you around the coastline. If you’re a surfer the beach just past ‘The Keyhole’ gets some quite reasonable swell.

.Lauren walking up to one of the many flocks of birds along the Mole

Getting There

Aramoana Beach is located on the Nor-Eastern side of the town. From Dunedin city centre, it is only half an hour’s drive. It’s an easy afternoon outing if you’re in Dunners with some time up your sleeve. The drive along the coast as you travel out to Aramoana is so beautiful, the water laps up against the rocks close to the road as you wind your way around the peninsula. I would almost just head out towards there just for the drive between Port Chalmers and Aramoana. We parked the car up at the start first car park marked by an information board near the end of Moana Street. To save yourself walking the extra few hundred metres, it’s possible to park your car next to the entrance to the beach and the path leading out towards the mole.



The Mole

The Mole is a man-made sea wall that was created as an artificial breakwater for the Dunedin Harbour. The sea wall is wide enough to drive a car up and down with remnants of an old rail track underneath the surface. There is a second car park that we originally parked at which is sealed and has an information board with some information on the area. Along the mole is a great place to explore before sunset. The damp sea air and high cloud that we had whilst we were exploring the area made for an incredible sunset even with the thick grey clouds.

Top: Nathan admiring the seagulls flying in the sky on The Mole
Bottom: Lauren giving a cute smile to the camera, always excited for an adventure

Wildlife at The Mole

Little to my knowledge The Mole turned out to be a haven for seagulls. I don’t think ever in my life I have seen so many of these birds in one place! From all directions, they would all be flying or roosting and cooing. Suddenly if you came too close they would all begin flying away. It didn’t take long before they would all end up gathering together down the sea wall roosting and cooing. The seagulls make for such great entertainment, especially for young kids.

Top: Lauren running arm spread into the flock of seagulls as they fly for cover
Middle: In the middle of the flock of seagulls as they circle above coming back to find cover
Bottom: Walking back towards the seagulls that have once again blocked the pathway down the mole

Seals also inhabit the sea wall as well, lying around the rocks or even right across the middle of the track. We did our best to give the seals plenty of space as we walked around them. Fortunately, they didn’t seem too bothered by us walking past them. For your safety and the respect of the wildlife please don’t feed or touch the seals, they can become quite aggressive if they feel threatened. Often, when we were walking by we could be caught out by surprise of how closer we were to one of the seals, they blend so well with the colour of the track.

Top: Nathan (the author) pointing out a seal taking up half of the walkway to the end of The Mole
Bottom: A seal lying undisturbed in the middle of the mole

Aramoana Beach

Aramoana Beach is well known among surfers as a beach with some good solid swell. If you are ever planning on heading out here for a surf make sure you check the Metservice surf forecast. If you’re a Dunedin local Aramoana is a beautiful spot for an afternoon/evening stroll along the beach. It’s best to visit the beach when the tide is either going out or it’s soon after low tide. This gives you plenty of room for a nice stroll while drawing cool pictures in the sand, throwing a frisbee or kicking a football along the beach.

Top: Following foot and paw prints as we walk along Aramoana Beach
Bottom: Lauren admiring the Keyhole from down on the beach

The Key Hole

One of the most iconic features of Aramoana Beach is ‘The Keyhole’. It’s a well-known spot and receives a lot of love from all sorts of adventurous people. It’s best to visit when the tide is heading out or at low tide to make it easier to reach the northern section of Aramoana Beach.

Top: It’s actually a pretty big cliff, Lauren giving it some perspective
Bottom: Lauren admiring the keyhole from Aramoana Beach, The Mole in the background

It’s possible to climb up the seaside cliff and into the keyhole from the eastern side of the cliff. through the sand dunes finding your way up the cliff. Once you get high enough you are able to easily descend down the sea cliff ridge to the keyhole and get your snap inside the keyhole. Wear a pair of old sneakers or flip flops to stop your good shoes from getting sand through them.

Top: The last view of the trail as you climb up to the keyhole
Bottom: Nathan standing inside the Keyhole