Tourists risking death for selfies at Dunedin's Tunnel Beach

Tourists are ignoring DOC warnings not to take selfies on the edges of cliffs at Dunedin's Tunnel Beach.
Tunnel Beach, Dunedin. Photo credit: Getty

Tourists are ignoring barrier fences and warning signs to take photos on the dangerous clifftops of Tunnel Beach, near Dunedin.

The hidden beach's sea-carved sandstone cliffs, rock arches and caves are undeniably stunning - but getting a selfie close to such a sheer drop's edge could be deadly.

DOC erected barrier fences and put up warning signs after a German tourist broke her leg at Tunnel Beach in 2018.

Johanna Langner lost her footing and "heard her right leg snap" while stopping just 50cm short of the 20m drop, reported Stuff.

She was very lucky she didn't go that little bit further and plunge off - as are countless tourists posting on Instagram from atop the Tunnel Beach cliffs.

There are now several signs warning of the "significant fall hazards" at the area as well as barrier fences and three community rangers, but keen photo-takers continue to disregard them.

DOC acting coastal Otago operations manager Craig Wilson told Stuff that the department recommends people stay behind the barriers, but is unable to stop them from ignoring them.

"Unfortunately, when people venture beyond the barriers, it encourages other visitors to do the same and due to the challenging nature of the site, if people do injure themselves beyond the barriers, it could put rescuers in a dangerous position."

Access to Tunnel Beach is granted via a track across private farmland, and is open year round except during spring lambing season.

More than 100,000 people reportedly visit the site annually.