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Best Things To Do Along Dunedin Harbour Cycleway

Te Aka Ōtākou | The Otago Vine is Dunedin’s new cycleway and offers great things to see and do.

Dunedin Harbour Cycleway
Geoff Marks

You can pick up the trail at any point, including the city centre  where bikes (including ebikes) are available for hire if you haven’t got your own. To help you along the way, we’ve selected 11 of our favourite stops along the way, starting and finishing at Port Chalmers, heading clockwise.

You can check out more local recommendations including a great ride at the seaside, here or download a copy of the cycleway map.

Espresso yourself at Union Co. Cafe

Kick things off with a hit of caffeine and perhaps a sticky bun or scone from this irresistible café, an airy affair in the heart of old Port Chalmers.

Seriously good espresso and home-baking at Union Co. Cafe. (Photo: Andy Thompson)

A passage from Port to Port

To complete the loop, you’ll need to cross the harbour between Port Chalmers and Portobello. So, it’s all aboard the Sootychaser with able captain and trail-angel Rachel McGregor who ferries riders and bikes across the harbour in either direction. If time allows, take her wildlife tour (allow two hours) to see the harbour’s world-famous seals, sea lions and flocks of amazing birds including the gigantic Royal Albatross.

All aboard Port to Port’s Sootychaser. (Photo: Lee Slater)

Local rider Drew gets ready to board the Sootychaser. (Photo: Lee Slater)

Duck-in to MacAndrew Bay's Duck Café

There’s no reason to ride on an empty stomach with so many great cafes along the way. At the delightful Duck, see why the locals go absolutely quackers for this cafe’s great coffee, eggs bene and burgers. It’s a fine stop to fortify yourself before pedalling onward or perhaps taking a dip…

Take the plunge at MacAndrew Bay

Popular with local swimmers, marvelous MacAndrew Bay boasts a sheltered crescent of golden sand and relatively balmy temperatures – so pack your togs! Helmets off to winter swimmers who ‘enjoy’ invigorating, cold-water-therapy when the temperature drops below 10°C. But you’ll soon warm up when you’re back on the bike, right?

Feeding time at the Duck Cafe – a local fave... (Photo: DunedinNZ)

Summer swimming and pontoon fun at MacAndrew Bay. (Photo: DunedinNZ).

Take a forest bath at Glenfalloch Gardens

Stop and smell the roses, azaleas, magnolias, fuschias, rhododendrons and a bunch of other beautiful blooms at Glenfalloch Cafe and Gardens. Wander around the historic woodland gardens then head to the cafe for refined food alongside terrific harbour views from the outside terrace.

Double down with chocolate & gin...

Take a break on the city centre fringe for a double helping of locally crafted food and drink – Ocho Chocolate Company and Dunedin Craft Distillers. Handily located next to each other, their chocolate and gin made a magnificent match, even more marvelous when sampled on back-to-back bean-to-bar and bread-to-bottle tours and tastings.

Glenfalloch – splendid gardens and a refined cafe. (Photo: Lee Slater).

Super-tasty local chocolate made before your very eyes! (Photo: DunedinNZ).

Dunedin Craft Distillers’ delicious dry gin. (Photo: DunedinNZ).

Seek out Dunedin's city’s amazing street art

Snap some souvenir shots beside Dunedin street art, dotted along the route. To discover dozens more – including an enormous Ed Sheeran – follow the city’s self-guided Street Art Trail.

Savour local flavours at the Otago Farmers’ Market

If you’re riding on a Saturday, pick up some picnic supplies at the Otago Farmers’ Market where more than 50 stalls offer fruit and veg, flowers, honey, fresh fish, brilliant baking, high-end wine and spirits, great takeaway food and more. The feel-good factor is amped up thanks to a soundtrack of local buskers.

Having a whale of a time in Roberts Street, opposite Ocho. (Photo: Lee Slater).

Kuri/Dog sculpted by Stephen Mulqueen – standing guard by the Otago Yacht Club. (Photo: DunedinNZ)

Fun times and fine food at the Otago Farmers’ Market. (Photo: DunedinNZ).

Dig into Dunedin brewing history at Emerson’s

Richard Emerson’s namesake brewery has come a long way since he started brewing in his mother’s kitchen almost 40 years ago! An easy pull-over off the trail, this swanky brewery bar is a buzzy place to grab a tasting paddle to wash down a bowl of thrice-cooked fries. For safe, sensible cycling back to base, we recommend the sessionable Booky ale – a longstanding favourite.

Bike along Blanket Bay’s boardwalk

Blanket Bay’s bright-blue boardwalk is a photo op if we ever saw one! This colourful, speedy section of new trail forms part of Te Ara Moana (The Ocean Path) that runs between the city and Port Chalmers. Not far now, a couple of short hills and you’re back where you started.

Emerson’s – an essential stop for the beer enthusiast! (Photo: DunedinNZ)

Smoooooth and colourful – Blanket Bay’s bright-blue boardwalk. (Photo: Lee Slater)

Cool down at Carey’s Bay Hotel

Detour back in time for some old-school hospitality at Carey’s Bay Historic Hotel. Just a kilometre off the cycleway beyond Port Chalmers, this Victorian hotel is the perfect spot to finish your ride with a pint and super-fresh seafood landed within sight of the kitchen.

Carey’s Bay Historic Hotel – a pretty, rewarding place to finish your ride. (Photo: DunedinNZ)

Need to Know

  • Length: 32km | Easy Gradient
  • Surface: Dedicated bike lanes / sealed cycleways / short sections of on-road cycling.
  • Download: get a copy of the Otago Vine | Te Aka Ōtākou trail map here
  • Type of bike: All bikes (e-Bikes should be 300W or less in accordance with NZTA | Waka Kotahi regulations).
  • Bike Hire: Bike House, Dunedin eBike Hire or The GOAT Loop.
  • What's in a name? Between Port Chalmers and Dunedin city (via St Leonards) along SH88, the trail has been named Te Ara Moana (The Ocean Path), while the eastern or Otago Peninsula trail is Te Awa Ōtākou (The Ocean River). The full trail from Port Chalmers to beyond Portobello is known as Te Aka Ōtākou (The Otago Vine), referring to the winding path of the trail and the harbour They were named by Tahu Pōtiki, of Te Rūnanga o Ōtākou in 2019.
  • More Information: Cycle The Loop or Dunedin Insiders Guide to Te Aka Ōtākou (The Otago Vine).


IMPORTANT: Please remember that this is a shared pathway and used by walkers, joggers, and dog walkers as well as cyclists. Please slow down and respect other path users. 

About the Author

Lee Slater is a long-time travel writer, cyclist and sustainable tourism advocate who spends most of the year touring Aotearoa New Zealand in a caravan with his wife and co-writer Sarah Bennett.

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