A visitor - or visitors - to Purakaunui got a close view of the Otago inlet early this morning.

A rental car was abandoned after it was driven into the inlet - which is near Dunedin - during low tide and became stuck in the sand.

Sea water eventually flooded the car when the tide came in.

A police spokesman said police were called to the car which was sitting next to the community jetty just after 8am this morning.

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Initially there were concerns people could have been trapped but as the tide lowered it was clear no-one was inside, the spokesman said.

Purakaunui resident Jude Newton said she had never seen a car trapped on the sand in that area in the 30 years she had lived in the coastal village.

"It's very weird where it is. They must have gone in the middle of the night sometime and gone down on the sand at low tide.''

"It's really weird,'' she said.

A tow-truck will remove the car once the tide is fully out later today.