Tunnel Beach – Dunedin
I visited Dunedin in the Autumn of 2018 attending the Photographic Society or New Zealand National convention. The Tunnel Beach field trip looked promising so I was out by 6am together with twenty other photographers hoping for good weather.
We arrived at Tunnel Beach just before sunrise and went down the steep path in pitch darkness. I picked a location to start shooting but when daylight broke I was overwhelmed with the sheer beauty and magnificence of the place! The cliffs were simply majestic and the waves were crashing with brute force of mother nature.
I fell in love with the place and returned again the next morning. This time I was more focused and picked some new locations, spending another three hours to capture photos from different angles. When the conference finished, I rented a car and drove to the beach for the third time. I felt that this is a unique place and wanted to go down the stairs to capture some photos from below before the tide came in (in most similar locations there is no access to the beach so photos can be taken from the cliff top only). This time there was no one there and the clouds were awesome! I spent another three hours capturing the beauty of these rocks!
The long (20-30 seconds) exposure creates a sense of mystery and displays beautiful motion. The harsh waves turn into soft mist as they break onto the sharp rocks, swirling around the rocks and leaving a trail as the water recedes. The clouds flow over the sky, creating a soft, blurred blanket against the stunning cliffs. The long exposure captures time and creates remarkable landscape photography of dramatic scenery.
For centuries the Southern Ocean and its salt-laden wind have sculpted the sandstone coastline south of Dunedin. The outcome is a line of magnificent high cliffs, arches and headlands that provide endless vantage points for breathtaking views.
The track downhill leads to the spectacular, rocky coastline. The hand carved rock tunnel gives Tunnel Beach it’s name. Built in the 1870s, the passage allows access to a secluded and sheltered beach at the base of the cliffs. In the 1870’s John Cargill, a son of Captain William Cargill, excavated a tunnel down to a secluded beach so that the Cargill families could bathe in privacy away from the prying eyes of St Clair. The beach has massive sandstone boulders, mysterious graffiti carved into the cliffs and a dangerous rip that sadly drowned Cargill’s youngest daughter.