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First Church of Otago

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.


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Quest Dunedin NZ$137
Quest Dunedin

Quest Dunedin

333 Cumberland St, Dunedin
     
    4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Dunedin City Centre, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame and The Octagon. University of Otago and Forsyth Barr Stadium are also within 2 miles (3 km). Dunedin Railway Station is 5 minutes by foot.

    The Victoria Hotel Dunedin NZ$137
    The Victoria Hotel Dunedin

    The Victoria Hotel Dunedin

    137 St Andrew Street Centre City, Dunedin
       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Dunedin City Centre, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Dunedin Public Art Gallery, The Octagon and Dunedin Town Hall. St. Paul's Cathedral and Speight's Brewery are also within 15 minutes. Dunedin Railway Station is 6 minutes by foot.

      Scenic Hotel Southern Cross NZ$159
      Scenic Hotel Southern Cross

      Scenic Hotel Southern Cross

      118 High Street, Dunedin
         
        4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

        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 are also within 10 minutes. Dunedin Railway Station is 16 minutes by foot.

        Wains Hotel Dunedin NZ$166
        Wains Hotel Dunedin

        Wains Hotel Dunedin

        310 Princes St, Dunedin
           
          3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Dunedin City Centre, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Dunedin Casino and The Octagon. University of Otago and Forsyth Barr Stadium are also within 2 miles (3 km). Dunedin Railway Station is 10 minutes by foot.

          315 Euro Motel NZ$150
          315 Euro Motel

          315 Euro Motel

          315 George Street, Dunedin
             
            3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Dunedin City Centre, this aparthotel is within a 10-minute walk of Dunedin Town Hall and The Octagon. University of Otago and Forsyth Barr Stadium are also within 2 miles (3 km). Dunedin Railway Station is 20 minutes by foot.

            Distinction Dunedin Hotel NZ$209
            Distinction Dunedin Hotel

            Distinction Dunedin Hotel

            6 Liverpool Street, Dunedin
               
              4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Dunedin City Centre, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Dunedin Casino and The Octagon. University of Otago and Forsyth Barr Stadium are also within 2 miles (3 km). Dunedin Railway Station is 9 minutes by foot.

              Kingsgate Hotel Dunedin NZ$125
              Kingsgate Hotel Dunedin

              Kingsgate Hotel Dunedin

              10 Smith Street, Dunedin
                 
                3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Dunedin City Centre, this eco-friendly hotel is within a 10-minute walk of St. Paul's Cathedral, Speight's Brewery and First Church of Otago. Olveston and Toitu Otago Settlers Museum are also within 15 minutes. Dunedin Railway Station is 10 minutes by foot.

                Law Courts Hotel NZ$103
                Law Courts Hotel

                Law Courts Hotel

                53 Stuart Street, Cnr Cumberland & Stuart Streets, Dunedin
                   
                  3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Dunedin City Centre, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of First Church of Otago, Toitu Otago Settlers Museum and The Octagon. St. Paul's Cathedral and Speight's Brewery are also within 10 minutes. Dunedin Railway Station is only a 2-minute walk.