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Reviewed on 29 Mar. 2020
Dunedin, the second-largest city on New Zealand’s South Island, offers visitors a vibrant, college town feel steeped in cultural European heritage. There is lots to do and see in this expansive city, from its bustling town centre filled with friendly pubs and cafes to its beautiful, wind-swept Otago Peninsula where you might just catch a glimpse of a yellow-eyed penguin or an albatross.
Dunedin is known for its hilly streets, ocean breezes, and two big universities: the University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic. Its youthful population helps support a thriving nightlife scene and artistic culture.
Summer visitors can spend time napping on the beach, taking a swim in the water, or surfing the waves. Every beach in Dunedin has its own unique character and attracts a different kind of crowd. If you want to be more active during your holiday, you have plenty of serious hikes to choose from, including the Pineapple, Leith, Saddle, and Mt. Cargill tracks. You can also stop by the Dunedin Botanic Garden or Dunedin’s Chinses Garden to commune with nature.
Embrace the culture of the city by taking a walk around The Octagon, where you’ll see the First Church, Municipal Chambers, and Dunedin Railway Station. If you have little ones with you, then take a trip to the Otago Museum, which includes a tropical rainforest and butterfly house, or inspire them with a trip to Larnach Castle.
Dunedin has an excellent nightlife fuelled by its large student population. On any given night, the bars and pubs are hopping, and the weekends are filled with live music and shows from local artists.
Whether you are looking to spoil yourself, try a new experience, or stay under budget, you can find plenty of options. Put your feet up in luxury accommodation in Dunedin, or select from motels, apartments, and holiday houses to rent. For something a little more unique, consider booking a farmstay where you will sleep on a running farm. Budget travellers will find clean, safe accommodation at backpacker hotels and holiday parks.
Dunedin is serviced by Dunedin International Airport, which brings travellers to the wider Otago region. The airport is roughly 22 km from central Dunedin. The city hosts a strong public bus system, and taxis are plentiful, but tourists should consider renting a car in Dunedin. It’s a big place, and it’s a long trip from the centre of the city out to the peninsula.
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