PORT CHALMERS

SURROUNDING BAYS

See what this charming Port town has to offer.



Admission is free unless otherwise stated.

Port Chalmers

Port Chalmers is the main port of Dunedin and has a population of 3,000.   It lies ten kilometres inside Otago Harbour, almost 15 kilometres northeast from Dunedin's city centre. Take a stroll up the main street of Port Chalmers before you head into town, there are a few shops to browse and just a few steps from the cruise ship terminal is the Port Chalmers Regional Maritime Museum. The Museum was founded in 1913 and has permanent displays and temporary exhibitions that give you a glimpse into the lives of the people of the region and their connection with the sea.



As well as shipping, the creative arts are important to the area's economy, with the town regarded as having "alternative lifestylers".   Some noted musicians and artists call Port Chalmers home, including the late Ralph Hotere. At Flagstaff Lookout, there is a sculpture garden ​featuring works by both him and by other noted New Zealand modern sculptors.
Beyond the sculpture garden, there is a track that leads down to Back Beach, which is a pretty little bay and popular with local fishermen.


As well as the central area, there are many suburbs around Port Chalmers; Roseneath, Blanket Bay, Upper Junction, Brick Hill, Sawyers Bay, Mussel Bay, Upper Port Chalmers, Dalkeith, Careys Bay (see below), Reynoldstown, Deborah Bay, Hamilton Bay, Waipuna Bay, Te Ngaru, and Aramoana (see below), as well as the outlying townships of Long Beach, Purakanui and several other smaller nearby villages and farmsteads.
If you are after some great photo's, it's well worth heading over to Long Beach and Purakanui, and takes less than 20 minutes to drive there.

Port Chalmers Maritime Museum

Opening hours below, entry by gold coin donation.

Just a few steps from the cruise ship terminal is the Port Chalmers Regional Maritime Museum. The Museum was founded in 1913 and has permanent displays and temporary exhibitions and give you a glimpse into the lives of the people of the region and their connection with the sea.



The Museum’s collections include items relating to the regional fishing industry, the Antarctic expeditions of Scott, Shackelton and Byrd, and the social history of Port Chalmers. The collection also comprises extensive holdings of photographs, archives and manuscripts. The Museum’s archives and research service are recognised as a significant regional information resource also used by national and international researchers.



Monday to Friday 10.00 a.m. - 3.00 p.m.

Saturday 11am - 2pm (during winter)
Sunday & Public Holidays 1.30 p.m. - 4.30 p.m.

Flagstaff Lookout

2 minute drive from Cruise Ship Terminal, located on Aurora Terrace - 

Flagstaff Lookout, also known as Observation Point, is a large bluff overlooking the container terminal at Port Chalmers. From here you get a birds eye view of the happenings of the Port, and also of the pictuesque landscape of the channel.

Some noted musicians and artists call Port Chalmers home, including the late Ralph Hotere. At Flagstaff Lookout, there is a sculpture garden ​featuring works by Hotere and by other noted New Zealand modern sculptors. The four Hotere sculptures once resided in his studio, which was located at Observation Point, and demolished in 1993 to make way for new Port facilities. The sculpture garden was created in 2005 by the Port of Otago and Hotere Foundation Trust.



Beyond the sculpture garden, there is a track that leads down to Back Beach, which is a pretty little bay and popular with local fishermen.



Careys Bay

Open 10am - late, every day. Lunch from 11am

Careys Bay is just a couple of minutes drive from Port Chalmers, and was a thiriving community in the later half of the 19th century, when gold was discovered in Central Otago. The Bay is renowned for it's maritime history of boat builders and fishermen, and today it is a quiet community and the area is mainly used for recreational activites, such as boating and fishing.



The key landmark of Careys Bay is the historic hotel. Built in 1874 of locally quarried Port Chalmers bluestone, it was originally designed for Port Chalmers mayor, Henry Dench, and was used as a family hostelry.

The hotel was known for more than 100 years as the Crescent Hotel in the bay originally known as Mansford Town. The name of the bay changed to recognise the early pioneering family of David and Hannah Carey and the hotel eventually became known as the Carey’s Bay Hotel.



Aramoana

The name Aramoana is Maori for "pathway to the sea". Also known as "The Spit", this small coastal settlement is beautiful and picturesque. The settlement is home to less than 300 permanent residents, and many holiday cribs.

The town became popular as a beach resort in the 1950's, due to the construction of the mole, an artificial breakwater which extends for 1200 metres from Aramoana, to inhibit the spread of tidal sands into the mouth of the Otago Harbour.

The beach and sand dunes to the east are known as Shelly Beach. The beach to the west is known as Big Beach and extends for over two kilometres.  Sleepy seals can be spotted on the rocks, basking in the sun.



Aramoana also has a sad past,  being the site of a mass murder that happened on 13-14 November 1990. Aramoana resident David Gray, an unemployed gun collector, shot dead 13 people before Gray himself was shot by police. A monument to the 13 victims stands on the dunes near the Mole.
In 2006, New Zealand director Robert Sarkies released a film based on the events, Out of the Blue, starring successful NZ actor Karl Urban.