The Pyramids (Victory Beach), Dunedin, OTAGO

This is one of Dunedin’s most remote beaches and it’s absolutely beautiful. I can’t believe I lived in Dunedin for 6 years and never came here (except I can, because it’s quite the mission).

Fun fact: Dunedin has like 25+ beaches. I should do a blog post dedicated just to Dunedin beaches, because they are 👌🏼

This beach is named after the ship SS victory, which wrecked on the beach on 3 July 1861. At low tide you can still spot the Flywheel in the surf, which is what sets this beach apart from other Dunedin beaches. It’s also the longest beach on the Otago Peninsula, stretching 3.2km from Papnui Inlet to the south to the Kaika Hill cliffs at the north. The beach itself stretches along Wickliffe Bay, named after the ship John Wickliffe, the first ship of Scottish Settlers (including Captain William Cargill who founded Dunedin) to arrive in Otago.

Track Facts:

  • 4.32km (just to the beach and back, you can do a longer loop walk, or spend time walking on the beach)
  • 1hour to the beach and back. Leave extra time to climb the big pyramid
  • Once you get to the beach, walk south at low tide to (try) and spot the Flywheel from the SS Victory shipwreck
  • Easy walk, mostly flat with some sand dunes to climb over
  • Kid friendly (but leave the pram at home)
  • No dogs
  • There is a letterbox with printed brochures with all the info you could want on the track, just before you arrive at the pyramids. Just be sure to take a snap and then put it back for the next people to enjoy! (Like I have, below)

Getting there:

Victory beach is in Okoia, on the Otago Peninsula. It’s a 35 minute (24km drive) from central Dunedin.

Park at the end of Dick Road and head towards the beach, following your nose and the well marked track.

While you’re heading out that way there are a number of other awesome places to visit: Larnach Castle, Harrington Point, Taiaroa Head, any number of other amazing beaches. More on these attractions later. Also, at various times of year you can see albatross, blue penguins, yellow eyes penguin, seals and sea lions, and a heap of other amazing New Zealand wildlife out on the Otago peninsula.

The Track

There are a couple of options for this walk, the most ideal probably being a loop walk to the beach, along the beach and then back on a different track. The loop track starts near the base of the pyramids, after you walk down the long, straight 4wd “road,” where you’ll make friends with the locals (read, cows and sheep)

If you’re super lucky you might spot a yellow eyed penguin on the beach. (This track is partly administered by the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust).

Unfortunately when we went we were forced to do an “in and out” walk as the recent weather conditions had made the track down to the beach far too steep to attempt with a wee baby on our back. We also opted not to head to the top of the pyramid as the route was overgrown (although we have heard good things about a geocache that is up there). Obviously, we’re going to need to head back in the future when baby is old enough to walk himself.

Most of this walk is through sand dunes, and then obviously along the beach itself.

The pyramids are the biggest attraction on the walk, of which there are two; the “big pyramid,” Pū-wheke-o-Kia and the “little pyramid,” Te-Maria-o-Kia, which you can climb to the top of. The pyramids are actually made of columnar basalt, and you can spot some organ-pipe like formations which are always a delight to those of us who love a geological feature.

Anyway, will post more info if we happen to go again and actually manage to do the loop and see the flywheel

Happy hiking



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