The entrance to Otago Harbour is situated in the bay between Heyward Point and Taiaroa Head. Pilot boarding positions Alpha and Bravo are marked on chart NZ 661. Safe anchorage is available in close proximity, with Taiaroa Head lighthouse bearing 160° (T) and Heyward light tower bearing 220° (T).
The Harbour channel extends 5 nautical miles to Port Chalmers, and then carries on a further 7 nautical miles to the Port and the city of Dunedin.
The Harbour is currently dredged to accommodate vessels with a maximum draught of 13.0 metres from Taiaroa Head to Port Chalmers, where the container terminal is located. This draught enables the largest container ships in the New Zealand trade to make Port Chalmers their final port of call in New Zealand. To future proof our operation Port Otago Limited has commenced capital dredging with the aim of deepening this channel to 14 meters by December 2016. From Port Chalmers to Dunedin the channel is dredged to handle vessels with a draught of 7.5 metres.