Sandy Point Domain

Sandy Point Domain is an outstanding natural playground with over 2000 hectares of land available for recreational pursuits.

You can take part in a variety of different recreational activities on the Domain, independently or as a member of one of the many established clubs.

Sandy Point is rich in both human and geological history. Long before the township of Invercargill was developed, the rich natural resources of Sandy Point supported an important Maori settlement/kainga called Oue. Owen McShane was Sandy Point’s first European settler. While Maori valued the once abundant groves of cabbage tree/ti kouka for food and clothing, McShane became notorious for the rum he distilled from its roots.

Sandy Point’s ancient sand dune forest of wind sculptured totara and matai is rare and nationally important. Totara remains dominant, despite some milling at Daffodil Bay and Kilmock Bush in the 1880s. Other native podocarp include rimu, miro and kahikatea.

The native and plantation forests, estuarine mudflats and salt marshes, which fringe the Oreti River, are home to prolific plant and animal life.

Location

Sandy Point is located 7km west of Invercargill. The Dunns Road bridge over the Oreti River marks the entrance to the recreation reserve. Directions to the various recreation facilities are signposted off Dunns Road and also displayed outside the Visitor Centre on Sandy Point Road.

Facilities

An un-staffed Visitor Centre provides recreation information. Displays tell the story of Sandy Point’s human and natural history. The Visitor Centre is open most summer weekends and by arrangement with groups.

Toilets are located in key locations throughout the Domain and some are disabled accessible. Picnic tables are available in popular locations and there are two playgrounds in the Sandy Point Domain.

Walking Tracks

A 13.5km network of well-formed walking tracks makes it easy to explore Sandy Point on foot. Some of the more popular tracks are:

  • Kilmock Bush (2380m, 50 minutes return). This gently undulating loop track starts from Fosbender Park and passes through a carpet of bush lily/astelia and hounds tongue fern/kowaowao, beneath gnarled totara trees.  Access Fosbender Park to the right off Dunns Road after the Oreti River Bridge.
  • Rover Track / Petrie’s Track (4490m, 1 hour 15 minutes return). Take the coastal Rover Track (30 minutes one way) to Daffodil Bay and return via the open pine forest of Petrie's Track (20 minutes one way).  The Rover Track passes a lookout point (10 minutes one way) and hugs the shoreline through regenerating native vegetation. Tracks start from the car park at the eastern end of McLennan's Flat.
  • Daffodil Bay Loop Track (3111m, 1 hour 30 minutes return). This track combines a totara-matai forest with good estuary views.  From the Daffodil Bay picnic area take the coastal route to Hatches Hill Lookout (30 minutes) with a side trip to Noki Kaik beach.  Return to Daffodil Bay via the inland route (60 minutes).
  • Silver Lagoon (1524m, 50 minutes return). The Silver Lagoon is the hidden gem of Sandy Point providing an important wildlife habitat for birds and other fauna.  The track starts opposite the settlement at Coopers Creek and passes through an attractive remnant of native forest opening out to a forestry fire break.  The track to Silver Lagoon follows the McShane's Track and returns the same way.