Tunnel Beach is more than simply a peculiar hand-carved tunnel leading down to a small low-tide-only sandy cove. While the tunnel, commissioned by civic luminary John Cargill in the 1870’s to provide his young daughters access to the beach, is certainly intriguing…the main draws of Tunnel Beach are the scenic sandstone cliffs towering over the pounding surf and land-bridge archway that begs a courageous walk-over. Not only are these sandstone cliffs smashing eyecandy, but they’re also good ear-candy if the surf if running high and pounding them with booming fountains of spray! The tunnel access to the sandy cove is pretty much a halftide or lower only, but regardless of the tide’s height when you arrive, you can still step down into the tunnel and marvel at its peculiar construction. Also, the cliffs, land-bridge and wave spray all combine for a remarkable show, especially during stormy seas.
Here’s an idea: if you’re fretting away another drizzly Dunedin summer day, tired of the “World’s steepest road” and the Otago Museum’s Plesiosaur (see Shag Point entry), maybe head to Tunnel Beach at low tide and bring the coffee/tea kit and a blanket…walk down to the cove, set up inside the dry cave and make some hot drinks as you watch the waves bash at the offshore sea stacks.