The “Edinburgh of the South” offers Scottish heritage, a lively restaurant and pub scene and a beautiful coastline home to penguins, albatross and other wildlife.
Dunedin lies on the rugged coastline of the South Island in the shadow of a dormant volcano. This small city prides itself on its Scottish heritage, wildlife and natural beauty. Stroll through Glenfalloch Woodland Garden, which has 1,000-year-old trees, and listen to the call of native birds in the Dunedin Botanic Garden. Explore the city’s history with a tour of the Dunedin Railway Station and St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Dunedin’s city centre is marked by The Octagon, a plaza packed with pubs, restaurants and markets. Dine at outdoor tables and be entertained by street performers, then stay for a drink in one of the many bars.
There are a host of historic buildings a short walk from The Octagon. Visit Dunedin Town Hall and the First Church of Otago. Take a tour of the Speight’s Brewery, which has been operating since 1876, or Cadbury World, the country’s largest chocolate factory. Wander through the grounds of the oldest university in New Zealand, the University of Otago, which is about 1.2 kilometres (1 mile) from the city centre. Drive 20 minutes out of town to Lanarch Castle for high tea and a stroll through historic gardens.
South of the city you’ll find pristine beaches perfect for surfing. Drive along the scenic coastline and stop at St. Clair Beach to enjoy seafood paired with a glass of local wine.
Spot wildlife such as albatross and penguins on the Otago Peninsula. The Royal Albatross Centre, a 45-minute drive from Dunedin, is the world’s only mainland breeding area for these huge birds.
Experience warm sunny days in summer and unpredictable, chilly weather in winter, when the rugged coastline and wild seas are even more dramatic. If you’re feeling brave, join the thousands of locals and visitors who dress up in costumes and take the Polar Plunge, a beach swim usually held in June.
Fly into Dunedin’s airport 29 kilometres (18 miles) from the city centre from major cities throughout New Zealand and Australia. Once here, get around the compact city by bus, on foot or by bike, although be prepared to tackle some big hills; Dunedin’s Baldwin Street is the steepest residential street in the world.