Sandfly Bay Recreation Reserve is remarkable for its native fauna and flora and its spectacular views of the Otago Peninsula coastline and cliff tops. Among the many outstanding natural features are the yellow-eyed penguins.

Note: Due to storm damage and safety issues the viewing hide at Sandfly Bay has been removed.

Yellow-eyed penguins/hoiho

Sandfly Bay has a significant colony of yellow-eyed penguins/hoiho. To view the penguins, a marked track leads up to a public viewing hide near the southern end of the beach. Do not linger on the beach or around the rocks, if the penguins feel threatened they will not come ashore. The best viewing time is late afternoon or early evening.

Hoiho and young. Photo: Cheryl Pullar.
Hoiho and young


Other seabirds such as spotted shags, sooty shearwaters and variable oystercatchers are also based in the area.

Marine mammals

New Zealand fur seals/kekeno and New Zealand sea lions/pakake haul out on the rocks and beach and wallow in the sand. Keep at least 10 m away from them and if you are in a group do not surround them - they can run fast! 

Getting there

From Highcliff Road, (which is along the top of the Otago Peninsula), turn onto Seal Point Road. Carpark at road end.


Dunedin Visitor Centre
Phone:   +64 3 474 3300
Address:   50 The Octagon
Postal Address:   PO Box 5244
Moray Place
Dunedin 9058
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