First Church of Otago

Holiday Travel Guide
First Church of Otago featuring a church or cathedral and heritage architecture

With its breathtaking design and stained-glass windows, Dunedin’s most prominent church is often referred to as New Zealand’s finest 19th-century building.

Stroll through the grounds of the First Church of Otago and admire the building’s turrets, ornate façade and towering spire. Step inside to see the spectacular wooden ceiling lit up by the glow from a large rose-shaped stained-glass window.

Set within a tranquil grassy parkland, the First Church of Otago was designed by Scottish architect Robert Lawson in 1862. The first stone was laid by Thomas Burns, the city’s founder, 6 years later. Such was the desire of the provincial government to have the church in this location, they lowered the ground by 40 feet (12 meters) to accommodate its construction.

Walk through the grounds and admire the many turrets of the apse. These are best seen from behind the church. Back by the entrance, be sure to stop and admire the ornate Gothic façade and the stunning rose-shaped window. From all sides you will see the magnificent needle-like tower, which stands 196 feet (60 meters) high.

Make your way into the church and you will notice that the entrance holds two old lamps. These are original streetlights from the city of Edinburgh and are a reminder of the relationship between New Zealand and Scotland.

Once inside, take in the church’s arched wooden ceiling, as well as the many hanging flags and lanterns. You will see some more traditional elements such as religious paintings and stone sculptures. Be sure to leave yourself plenty of time to view the many elegant stained-glass windows. Check out the brightly colored war memorial window and its intricate artwork that pays tribute to local soldiers.

The First Church of Otago is just 328 feet (100 meters) from the center of Dunedin. It is free to enter and open all week. Regular services and events take place at this church, so check the church’s website to find out what’s on during your visit.

179 Cheap Hotels Near First Church of Otago

The Victoria Hotel Dunedin
The Victoria Hotel Dunedin
4 out of 5
137 St Andrew Street Centre City, Dunedin
The price is NZ$168 per night from 25 Sep. to 25 Sep.
Located in Dunedin City Centre, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of The Octagon, Dunedin Town Hall and Otago Museum. Speight's Brewery and Olveston are ...
4.3/5Excellent! (984 reviews)
"the room was warm when I arrived, and a great bed and a decent nights sleep, would love to stay again"

Reviewed on 4 Aug. 2021

The Victoria Hotel Dunedin
Fable Dunedin
Fable Dunedin
5 out of 5
310 Princes St, Dunedin
The price is NZ$210 per night from 4 Oct. to 4 Oct.
Located in Dunedin City Centre, this eco-friendly hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Dunedin Casino and The Octagon. University of Otago and Forsyth Barr Stadium ...
4.6/5Wonderful! (89 reviews)
"Definitely has the feeling of an international chain rather than a boutique hotel. Asked for a room with a window and this seemed to be a bit of a big deal. The heating was hard to control so our room was cold and we had to ring the desk to get them to adjust it, and were then blasted all night. ..."

Reviewed on 18 Sep. 2021

Fable Dunedin
Scenic Hotel Southern Cross
Scenic Hotel Southern Cross
4.5 out of 5
118 High Street, Dunedin
The price is NZ$169 per night from 22 Sep. to 22 Sep.
Located in Dunedin City Centre, this luxury hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Dunedin Casino and Speight's Brewery. Dunedin Public Art Gallery and Regent Theatre ...
4.3/5Excellent! (993 reviews)
"Really nice rooms and friendly staff"

Reviewed on 16 Aug. 2021

Scenic Hotel Southern Cross
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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Top First Church of Otago Hotel & Accommodation Deals

Leviathan Heritage Hotel Dunedin
Leviathan Heritage Hotel Dunedin
2.5 out of 5
27 Queens Gardens, Dunedin
The price is NZ$89 per night from 22 Sep. to 22 Sep.
Leviathan Heritage Hotel Dunedin
Fable Dunedin
Fable Dunedin
5 out of 5
310 Princes St, Dunedin
The price is NZ$210 per night from 4 Oct. to 4 Oct.
Fable Dunedin
Scenic Hotel Southern Cross
Scenic Hotel Southern Cross
4.5 out of 5
118 High Street, Dunedin
The price is NZ$169 per night from 22 Sep. to 22 Sep.
Scenic Hotel Southern Cross
The Victoria Hotel Dunedin
The Victoria Hotel Dunedin
4 out of 5
137 St Andrew Street Centre City, Dunedin
The price is NZ$168 per night from 25 Sep. to 25 Sep.
The Victoria Hotel Dunedin
Kingsgate Hotel Dunedin
Kingsgate Hotel Dunedin
3.5 out of 5
10 Smith Street, Dunedin
The price is NZ$147 per night from 17 Oct. to 17 Oct.
Kingsgate Hotel Dunedin
Quest Dunedin
Quest Dunedin
4 out of 5
333 Cumberland St, Dunedin
The price is NZ$139 per night from 22 Oct. to 22 Oct.
Quest Dunedin
315 Euro Motel & Serviced Apartments
315 Euro Motel & Serviced Apartments
3.5 out of 5
315 George Street, Dunedin
The price is NZ$150 per night from 22 Sep. to 22 Sep.
315 Euro Motel & Serviced Apartments
Bluestone On George
Bluestone On George
5 out of 5
571 George Street, Dunedin
The price is NZ$189 per night from 22 Sep. to 22 Sep.
Bluestone On George
Law Courts Hotel
Law Courts Hotel
3.5 out of 5
53 Stuart Street, Cnr Cumberland & Stuart Streets, Dunedin
The price is NZ$147 per night from 2 Oct. to 2 Oct.
Law Courts Hotel
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.