This is not a beach visit in the traditional sense--I speak from an English perspective here. It's not little kiddies, buckets and spades and a tea shop. There is nothing in Aramoana--no facilities at all, no shops, no cafe, nothing. If you're new to NZ you'll find this lack facilities all over South Island. The place is "undiscovered" and raw. Aramoana is one place where this works surprisingly well. The beach has two distinct sides, one is sheltered a little by an old sea wall, so is calmer, but the other side is totally wild. You have to see how clean NZ beaches are to believe it, but we have no ships at sea here (we have no aircraft in the skies--a con trail seen once made it to the paper and sightings made weak-hearted people faint). My children call Aramoana the shell beach because it is covered, literally inches deep, in the most gorgeous shells. The wild side (north of the sea wall) of the beach, if you walk along to a distinct hole feature in the jutting out cliff, has vast sand dunes which are great for sand boards. This is NOT a beach for swimming--the vast green surf is scary sometimes. And the water is always absolutely freezing here even in summer.
There was a terrible tragedy in Aramoana (a massacre by a lone gunman). I'm not one given to fanciful imaginings, but I find Aramoana a very spooky, awe-inspiring place. So, not a place for little kiddies in a traditional sense, but worth a visit for the strange experience. It's a gorgeous drive out from Dunedin along the north side of the harbour. Very winding and twisty and goes on forever, but never anything on the road of course.
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