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With the winter season upon us, take the opportunity to spend a Sunday afternoon of movement in the light filled space of the Josephine Foyer. Join Michael Parmenter, celebrated dancer, choreographer and current ... More ►
The Otago Art Society 146th Annual Exhibition will open on the 18th of June until the 16th of July. The exhibition features OAS member’s artwork in a range of mediums including sculpture, painting, photography, and ... More ►

Tomahawk Beach

Tomahawk Beach is a popular summer location and although there is no Surf Life Saving Club there are two (St Clair and St Kilda) very nearby. The beach is still very close to Dunedin and people come here to avoid the crowds that are present at St Kilda and St Clair. The beach is high in wave energy and will usually have some kind of wave present.

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Family friendly

This beach has limited facilities and may not be ideal for families. Not patrolled by Surf Lifeguards.


Tomahawk Beach is a popular swimming location during the summer months. The beach gets a lot of powerful swell and needs to be treated with caution by beach users. There are strong rips at each of the headlands and a third rip will usually be present around the middle of the beach. The beach slopes steeply into the ocean at the high tide mark but flattens out towards the low tide mark. Rips and holes are common at Tomahawk and swimmers need to be careful in their choice of swimming location. The beach has no Lifeguarding service.


Surfing is quite popular at Tomahawk although it is not as good as St Clair. The beach is very exposed to swell and can have good bars. Tomahawk can be surfed on all tides and surfers will usually go here in smaller swells.


Fishing is not that popular. Surf casters will fish from the western end of the beach near Lawyers Head and the stream mouth.

Activities and facilities


  • Dog walking
  • Horse riding
  • Motorbikes/4WD's


  • Car parking
  • Playground


The beach is our favourite playground, but it can also be a dangerous place. Learn about the hazards at Tomahawk Beach and be prepared so you and your family can enjoy the sun, sea and sand safely this summer.



Patrolled Beach
Tomahawk Beach is a patrolled beach.
Stay safe - swim beween the flags.

Forecast provided by SwellMap.com

Sunny with some cloud
Max Temp.
Water Temp.

Water Conditions

For boating and surfing
Poor. 3/10
Good. 9/10



Safety at Tomahawk Beach

We want you to have a great time whilst visiting Tomahawk Beach. But take a moment to learn more about being safe on New Zealand Beaches. More ►

Patrolled Beach

Patrolling club: Tomahawk Beach
Patrolled Beach
Tomahawk Beach is a patrolled beach.
Stay safe - swim beween the flags.

Patrol Hours

Tomahawk Beach is NOT CURRENTLY patrolled by Surf Lifeguards in Winter months. In an emergency call 111 and ask for Police assistance. Surf Lifeguard patrols will resume in December 2021.


Click a safety symbol for more information on the risk

4 simple rules to keep you safe

We want you to have a great time whilst visiting Tomahawk Beach. But take a moment to learn more about being safe on New Zealand beaches and looking out for each other. More ►

The Water Safety Code:

  • Be prepared
  • Watch out for yourself and others
  • Be aware of the dangers
  • Know your limits
DIAL 111 in the event of an emergency


Tomahawk Beach is located six kilometres drive from central city Dunedin. It is made up of a fine white sand and is 1000 metres in length. It stretches from Lawyers Head in the west to the gun emplacements at the eastern end. There are two large lagoons behind the beach and a stream runs from these over the western end. There is a playground located at the eastern end and the whole beach is backed by large headlands. The beach is high in wave energy and faces towards Otago’s dominant southerly swells.


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Beach Water Quality

Many councils provide the results of their weekly monitoring. This lets people know what the most recent bacteria levels were. Remember, even sites with low risk can be unsuitable to swim at from time to time and we recommend that you avoid swimming for 48 hours after heavy rainfall.

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