Sandymount Track

Sandymount Track - Lovers Leap and The Chasm

Sandymount Track

Lovers Leap and The Chasm


15 Rankers Reviews

13 Face-to-Face

17 Seal Watching

10 Penguin Watching

20 Dunedin

Your Nature Guide

Marios Gavalas's avatar

Marios Gavalas

Author And Researcher

Nau mai, haere mai

Nau mai, haere mai

I'm Marios, delivering the best of Aotearoa's nature walks to your device.

I've personally walked hundreds of New Zealand's tracks and spent months in libraries uncovering interesting information on New Zealand/Aotearoa. And you'll find a slice of that research on this page - enjoy!


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Views south from Sandymount


2.5 km return | 1 hour return

The huge dune of Sandymount has been built of wind-blown sand and is now consolidated into farmland. Lovers Leap and The Chasm are two precipitous coastal formations which add to the expansive Otago Peninsula views.


The track is closed for lambing between 1st September and 15th October.


From Portobello Follow Highcliff Road 4.6 km to Sandymount Road. This winding unsealed road dips and mounts the dunes before rising to an elevated parking area and the start of the tracks. The road is slippery when wet an not suited to large campervans.


From the parking area the track is signposted. This description does and anticlockwise loop of Sandymount.

Head immediately to the left and climb to a triangulation marker on the summit. There are 360 degree views over Sandfly Bay, the harbour, ocean and peninsula.

Back on the main track the wide track undulates through the gorse and scrub. Signposts at the junction keep you heading left.

After dipping into a coastal ngaio forest with convoluted trunks, you exit onto farmland. The lookout platform over Lovers Leap is visible.

Keep winding round the hill. Pass through the farm gate just after the expansive views of Hoopers Inlet come to view. This lookout over The Chasm completes the duo of vertiginous coastal drops.

The avenue of macrocarpa trees past the farm shed, lead back to the parking area.


Rock arches such as Lovers Leap are formed by the continuous erosion of waves exploiting a weakness in the rock. This process enlarges a cave which eventually pierces a hole and continues to erode the weaker vein of rock. Eventually this form an arch. In time, this arch will collapse and form and entry for the sea, like at The Chasm.


Macrocarpa is a North American cypress which has adapted well to the windy conditions of Otago Peninsula.


Feature Value Info


DOC Otago

Central government organisation


South IslandCoastal OtagoDunedin


  • Seal Watching
  • Penguin Watching
  • Walking
  • Free


Dennis Bittner's avatar

Dennis Bittner


Ranking: 9/10

Great scenery driving/hiking on Highcliff Road. From there one can reach the bay area or hike down to the pacific coast. Awesome view and picnic opportunity at Rotary Park.

Reviewed about 5 years ago and experienced in November 2016

Simon Dauwe's avatar

Simon Dauwe


Ranking: 8/10

Saw sea lions and Albatross. No penguins though. Beautiful area!

Reviewed about 5 years ago and experienced in November 2016

Elien Dauwe's avatar

Elien Dauwe


Ranking: 8/10

We saw heaps of Albatross and seals, very spectacular and well worth the drive.

Reviewed about 5 years ago and experienced in November 2016

Hannah Stiles's avatar

Hannah Stiles

United States

Ranking: 10/10

Seals, penguins and birds catching fish in the cascading waves.

Reviewed almost 6 years ago and experienced in January 2016

Thank You - to the thousands of travellers that have contributed to our Top Voted NZ Activities Map - it's free from Rankers.

Jared and Evi's avatar

Jared and Evi


Ranking: 10/10

With Otago Peninsula and its wildlife, Dunedin is my favourite city in New Zealand. The Victorian architecture, the nightlife and the vibes are a great combination. Make sure you visit while the university students are there!

Reviewed almost 6 years ago and experienced in January 2016

Jill Stebbing's avatar

Jill Stebbing


Ranking: 10/10

We walked down to the bay where the seals are asleep all around us plus some swimming right close to the shore!

Reviewed almost 6 years ago and experienced in March 2016

Solange Bourbeois's avatar

Solange Bourbeois


Ranking: 6/10

It is a long trip to reach the albatross viewing point. Nice landscape. No penguins before sunset.

Reviewed about 6 years ago and experienced in February 2016

magdalena gomez haedo's avatar

magdalena gomez haedo


Ranking: 7/10

We went for a ride and then walked through the beaches. We couldn't see the penguins but if you go at 6.00am or at sunset you could see them. Nice peninsula full of birds. We saw some albatross.

Reviewed about 6 years ago and experienced in February 2016

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Anssens Weber Florie Brian's avatar

Anssens Weber Florie Brian


Ranking: 9/10

Our favorite walk during our trip. We choosed the Lover Leap track.

Reviewed over 6 years ago

Chris's avatar



Ranking: 9/10

Allen's Beach. Get lucky and you can watch for seals on the beach!

Reviewed almost 12 years ago and experienced in May 2010

Sarah_rae's avatar


United Kingdom

Ranking: 9/10

Amazing wildlife, well sign posted, good views. Enjoyed.

Reviewed over 12 years ago and experienced in March 2009

Hans Suess's avatar

Hans Suess


Ranking: 9/10

Beautiful views and short walks to different Bays (Sandfly Bay + Ocean Grove)

Reviewed over 12 years ago

Huber's avatar



Ranking: 10/10

From Sandfly Beach to Lovers Leap walk through huge sand dunes, ends at amazing cliff.

Reviewed over 12 years ago

DOC Managed

Thanks to all the good people working for the NZ Department of Conservation - for all your hard work - making NZ more beautiful, accessable and healthy! Cheers 😍

Cymen Crick's avatar

Cymen Crick

Rankers Owner