Dunedin City Profile

Dunedin, the second large city on New Zealand’s South Island, is the country’s oldest settlement.

Tourists make the pilgrimage to this southern city for the historic sites, stunning scenery, and wildlife encounters. The compact township blends its history with contemporary touches, including museums, an exciting range of eateries, and plenty of pubs. Dunedin is home to the University of Otago, and that gives the area a youthful energy. This dynamic population brings live music, arts, and theater to the city center. Many tourists find themselves making an extended stay in Dunedin to recover from the excitement of nearby Queenstown.

115, 700 [Source: Wikipedia – 2009]

Dunedin lies on the lower part of the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island. Like Queenstown, which is a four hour drive to the west, it is part of New Zealand’s Otago region. The city center lies to the west of the head of Otago Harbour. Dunedin is considered the most remote city in the world.

Dunedin is generally regarded as having a temperature climate, although the city’s topography can see weather conditions varying wildly between the suburbs. Summers are warm with temperatures tending to hover around 30ºC, while winters are cool and even frosty. However snow is uncommon, with falls occurring every two or three years. Rainfall is low compared to other New Zealand locales, but it is still thought of as a damp city due to its regular drizzle.

Places Of Interest In Dunedin

To see the scenic sights Dunedin has to offer take a trip on the Taieri Gorge Train. It travels through the stunning Taieri River Gorge area, with its hand-carved tunnels formed more than a century ago.

As a tourist train, the focus is on the journey rather than the destination. Your guide will tell you all about the landmarks you pass, and there are photo stops so you can capture the greatest sights.

Indulge at two of Dunedin’s greatest institutions. Sweet teeth will love visiting Cadbury World. The visitors centre has entertaining and education displays detailing the history of chocolate and the iconic brand, but the real attraction is the factory tour. Guests can see the real working chocolate factory, and sample delicious treats along the way. Speight’s Brewery offers more grown-up fun. Since its inception in 1876, Speight’s has become one of New Zealand’s most popular beers. At the Speight’s Heritage Center fans of the amber fluid can view the Speight’s museum and tour the working factory. This informative tour details the history of Speight’s and beer through the ages. Audio visual displays and interactive exhibits enhance the experience, but the tasting session is always the draw card. Before you leave, make sure you stop by the restaurant, which serves up tasty meals perfectly paired with Speight’s beer.

Nature lovers shouldn’t miss the Royal Albatross Center at Taiaroa Head. Here tourists can see the only mainland breeding colony of these birds in the world. Around 140 albatross live in this protected nature reserve, which is also home to blue penguins, fur seals, sea lions, and the endangered Stewart Island shag. You can see all these creatures and more on one of the centre’s guided tours.

New Zealand’s only castle is Dunedin’s Larnach Castle. This historic building, built in 1871, has been lovingly restored to its former glory. Though privately owned, the castle is open to the public keen to learn more about the home and the scandalous and tragic events that happened within its walls. The castle’s grounds, known as the Garden of International Significance, are also worth exploring.

Where to Eat
Dunedin is a gastronome’s delight, with many of the city’s eateries earning national awards and praise.

The city’s location, close to the Pacific Ocean and New Zealand’s hinterland, ensures produce is always fresh. Whether you enjoy seafood or meats like lamb, venison, and beef, you’re bound to be impressed. The historic Bacchus Wine Bar and Restaurant makes the most of this produce with its unique and modern menu. Make sure you pair your dish with one of New Zealand’s famous wines. The waterfront location of The Customhouse makes it a favorite amongst locals looking for a romantic evening out. You won’t find any salmon fresher, as it’s caught on site!

For a more casual scene you can’t go past the pavement cafes of The Octagon, and George and Princes Streets. Eateries like The Little Hut Café and The Blackdog Café and Bar serve up everything from simple burgers and snacks to heartier meals.

Where to Stay
Dunedin’s compact size means most accommodation options are conveniently located close to the city center.

Many of the city’s historic homes have been converted into bed and breakfast style accommodation. B & Bs tend to appeal to travelers looking for a quieter location than inner city Dunedin. The luxurious Hazel House offers guests king and queen-sized rooms with bathrooms attached, barbecue and wireless internet facilities, and a complimentary glass of wine on arrival. Oamaru Creek Bed and Breakfast takes a back to basics approach, with breakfast prepared with organic produce and resident cats and dogs. Modern luxuries aren’t forgotten though with a television and movie lounge and free Wi-Fi.

For something a little closer to the city, consider one of Dunedin’s motels. They tend to be large by international standards, with fully-equipped kitchens and often a second bedroom. The five-star Motel on York offers plush accommodation, while the Aberdeen Motel has more affordable chalet-style rooms for families.

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