Like many towns and cities in former colonies, Dunedin on New Zealand’s South Island started its life as a mission station. Since 1848, the settlement has grown into a cosmopolitan city and there are many sites for visitors to travel south from Auckland.
It has history (think New Zealand’s Gold Rush in the 1960s), loads of culture (the University of Otago was New Zealand’s first university and the country’s first opera was staged in the growing city), it has a beautiful hinterland and it’s a vibey young student city.
Here are some must-visit sites to visit in the beautiful and fun-filled Dunedin.
Dunedin is home to some of the best examples of world class Victorian and Edwardian architecture. Just a walk in downtown Dunedin will satisfy the most discerning students of architecture. The Dunedin Railway Station’s Victorian facade is one of the most photographed landmarks in the country.
The arts and culture are everywhere in Dunedin and a must-visit is the Dunedin Public Art Gallery with impressive local and international collections. In addition, the progressive city authorities have embraced street art and happily invites street artists to paint murals and beautify the city’s blank spaces.
Scottish Traditions － Whiskey
With its strong Scottish roots (Dunedin is Gaelic for Edinburgh), the city distilleries brew up some pretty good whiskies. Visits to some of Dunedin’s artisanal distilleries will lift your spirits.
Dunedin is no stranger to the craft beer scene and tourists flock to Speights Brewery which has been in operation since 1876, without a break. Their ales at the adjoining alehouse are highly sought after and a good way to end a tour of the brewery.
Did you know Dunedin is home to the only mainland breeding colonies of the great Albatross? The Royal Albatross Centre also has sea lions, rare penguins, and fur seals. It is known as one of the most eco-friendly cities in the world.
Otago Farmers Market
This popular market is renowned for its food scene every Saturday in front of the Railway Station near the waterfront. Come rain or shine (Dunedin is known for its inclement weather), locals and visitors alike flock to the market to purchase cheeses, honey, baked goods, fresh produce, and food from every culture around the world. Once you’ve done your shopping you can relax and enjoy a bit of live tennis betting while you snack on your purchases.
The Southern Lights
You can spot the aurora australis from Dunedin’s St Clair Beach near Sandfly Bay and Hooper’s Inlet.
Dunedin Botanic Garden
Top off your visit to this New Zealand city by spending a leisurely day in the beautiful Botanic Gardens. There are private picnic spots and an on-site cafe if you forgot something.
The gardens boast both indigenous and exotic plants and trees from around the world. The spring show of rhododendron trees is said to be spectacular in September.
Lastly don’t miss Larnach Castle and do try the fish and chips and seafood at Best Cafe, said to be one of the best in the country.