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Dunedin City Council – Kaunihera-a-rohe o Otepoti
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Reserves and Beaches Bylaw 2017

We encourage Dunedin residents to be involved in the care and conservation of our treasured reserves and beaches. We hope local communities will work with us to promote these changes and protect these important spaces.

The Reserves and Beaches Bylaw 2017 replaces the Reserves Bylaw 2005 and is a more streamlined and user-friendly document. It has been developed with input from key stakeholders to ensure a balance between the protection of our reserves and the community’s access to, and enjoyment of, those outdoor spaces.

Some of the bigger changes to the bylaw relate to the use of horses, drones and vehicles on our reserves and beaches. A brief outline of these changes and the reasons for them can be found below. By following the links you can access more information and read the sections of the bylaw that explain these changes in more detail.

We are continually reviewing our policies and bylaws to ensure they are relevant and up to date.


Our beaches have been popular with horse riders for many years, but until now they hadn’t been recognised as valid beach users in our bylaws. The Reserves and Beaches Bylaw officially permits people to ride on most Dunedin beaches and access them by any formed track or designated access point. We’ll be installing new signs at some of the more popular horse riding beaches that show riders which tracks are most suitable for them. The signs will also remind other users that they can expect to share the space with people riding horses.  Horse riding is not permitted in ecologically sensitive areas.


Drones are a rapidly advancing type of technology that has great potential to improve the way we work, live and play.

The DCC also recognises the risks that come with unrestricted drone use over public land, both to people and the flora and fauna that live in these spaces. The updated bylaw clarifies the requirements for users wanting to operate drones over reserves and beaches to ensure our wildlife and their habitats are protected and Dunedin residents can enjoy these spaces in peace and security.

You can read more about drone use and apply for a permit to fly a drone over DCC in the related information section.


Vehicles will not be permitted on Dunedin beaches unless they are being used to launch or retrieve a vessel. In these situations, motorists must take the shortest route from the nearest access point. Provision has been made in the bylaw for the use of emergency and surf life-saving vehicles, as well as certain wind powered and mobility vehicles.

Vehicles can damage our beaches and pose a risk to the animals that visit the shore. Dunedin’s beaches are home to some of the rarest and arguably most threatened species of penguin and sea lion in the world, the hoiho and whakahao. By outlining in the bylaw where vehicles may access Dunedin’s beaches and for what purposes, we are adding a level of protection for our marine creatures while continuing to allow access for the people who need it most.

We’ll be installing new signs to reflect these changes at some of Dunedin’s more popular beaches.

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