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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


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Top Otago Museum Hotel & Accommodation Deals

See all 159 properties near Otago Museum
The Victoria Hotel Dunedin NZ$179
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.

    Dunedin Motel and Villas NZ$165
    Dunedin Motel and Villas

    Dunedin Motel and Villas

    624 George Street, Dunedin
       
      4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

      Situated in Dunedin, this motel is within a 10-minute walk of Otago Museum and University of Otago. The Octagon and Forsyth Barr Stadium are also within 1 mile (2 km). Dunedin Railway Station is 19 minutes by foot.

      Scenic Hotel Southern Cross NZ$189
      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.

        Aurora On George NZ$178
        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. The Octagon and Forsyth Barr Stadium are also within 1 mile (2 km). Dunedin Railway Station is 21 minutes by foot.

          Law Courts Hotel NZ$141
          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.

            Kingsgate Hotel Dunedin NZ$176
            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.

              George Street Motel Apartments (previously Farrys Motel) NZ$132
              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. The Octagon and Forsyth Barr Stadium are also within 1 mile (2 km). Dunedin Railway Station is 18 minutes by foot.

                Cumberland Motel NZ$145
                Cumberland Motel

                Cumberland Motel

                821 Cumberland St North, North Dunedin, Dunedin
                   
                  3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in the heart of Dunedin, this apartment building is within 1 mile (2 km) of Otago Museum, University of Otago and Forsyth Barr Stadium. The Octagon is 1.2 mi (1.9 km) away. Dunedin Railway Station is 23 minutes by foot.