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Otago Museum

Find prehistoric fossils and ancient statues. Learn all about the enthralling cultural and physical history of New Zealand.

Study a display of indigenous artefacts that includes a 19th-century canoe and fine woodcarvings at the excellent Otago Museum. Stand beside the skeleton of a huge fin whale and stroll around a living rainforest complete with colourful birds and butterflies.

Step inside the museum and into the Tāngata Whenua Gallery. You will have no trouble identifying one of the museum’s largest exhibits, a 17-metre (55-foot) long Waka Taua war canoe. Built from two totara trees around 1840, this Maori boat is now decorated with elaborate carvings. Look for more carvings of tribal figures elsewhere, along with jewellery crafted from greenstone and whale ivory.

The Pacific Cultures room is home to additional relics from historic times. The ceramic bowls and beakers on display have been traced back to Fiji 3,000 years ago while the red-and-yellow feather cape belonged to the last queen of Hawaii, who died in 1917. Don’t miss the Moai statue of a face that has been shaped from volcanic stone. Originally from Easter Island, it is the only one of its type in New Zealand.

Pique your interest in natural history with a view of the 8-metre (26-foot) fossil in the Southern Land, Southern People exhibit. Stop to say hello to Autahi the leopard seal before making your way to the Maritime Gallery. Here you can admire more than 50 intricate model ships as well as the colossal skeleton of a fin whale in the middle of the room.

Adults and children are welcome in Discovery World. Play the giant piano by stepping from key to key. Find out what it feels like to be put into a giant bubble. This section’s highlight is the tropical forest where you can glimpse butterflies above your head and watch turtles swimming in the shallow pools.

Otago Museum is easy to reach in central Dunedin. Admission is by donation. Pay separately for Discovery World. The museum and adjoining café and gift shop are open all week.


Guide to Exploring Otago Museum


Map

Top Otago Museum Hotel & Accommodation Deals

See all 155 properties near Otago Museum
Scenic Hotel Southern Cross NZ$143
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 9 minutes by foot.

    The Victoria Hotel Dunedin NZ$139
    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.

      George Street Motel Apartments (previously Farrys Motel) NZ$130
      George Street Motel Apartments (previously Farrys Motel)

      George Street Motel Apartments (previously Farrys Motel)

      575 George Street, Dunedin
         
        3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Dunedin City Centre, this golf motel is within a 10-minute walk of Otago Museum and University of Otago. Olveston and St. Paul's Cathedral are also within 15 minutes. Dunedin Railway Station is 18 minutes by foot.

        Scenic Hotel Dunedin City NZ$143
        Scenic Hotel Dunedin City

        Scenic Hotel Dunedin City

        123 Princes Street, Dunedin
           
          4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Dunedin City Centre, this luxury hotel is steps away from Speight's Brewery and First Church of Otago. St. Paul's Cathedral and Toitu Otago Settlers Museum are also within 5 minutes. Dunedin Railway Station is 8 minutes by foot.

          Aurora On George NZ$189
          Aurora On George

          Aurora On George

          678 George Street, Dunedin
             
            4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in the heart of Dunedin, this motel is within a 10-minute walk of Otago Museum and University of Otago. Olveston and St. Paul's Cathedral are also within 1 mile (2 km). Dunedin Railway Station is 21 minutes by foot.

            Bluestone On George NZ$230
            Bluestone On George

            Bluestone On George

            571 George Street, Dunedin
               
              5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Dunedin City Centre, this eco-friendly motel is within a 10-minute walk of Otago Museum and University of Otago. Olveston and St. Paul's Cathedral are also within 15 minutes. Dunedin Railway Station is 18 minutes by foot.

              Kingsgate Hotel Dunedin NZ$139
              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.

                Wains Hotel Dunedin NZ$140
                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 5-minute walk of Dunedin Casino and Speight's Brewery. First Church of Otago and Toitu Otago Settlers Museum are also within 10 minutes. Dunedin Railway Station is 10 minutes by foot.