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Dunedin

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Dunedin is the seat of the Otago region and the second-largest city on the South Island of New Zealand. The city was predominantly settled by Scots, and its name is an anglicised version of Dùn Èideann, the Scottish Gaelic name for Edinburgh.

Understand

Dunedin is a university town, a cultural hub, and a city with a strong historic streak. It is a small city with a compact walkable city centre surrounded by hilly suburbs. It has easy access to beaches, wildlife attractions and areas of native forest.

Known as the Edinburgh of the South, it has a proud Scots heritage. It has as its heart a statue of the poet Robbie Burns and many of its streets carry the same name as streets in Edinburgh (but visitors from Edinburgh may be confused as they are in a different order). Due to the gold rush in central Otago, Dunedin was the biggest and most prosperous city in New Zealand from 1865 to 1900, and many of its old buildings and character stem from that period. Because of history and geography, Dunedin is usually considered New Zealand's fourth major centre behind Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, despite being seventh in the population ranks.

Dunedin sits in a natural harbour, with the centre of the city on a relatively small area of flat land surrounded by suburbs on the steep hillsides. Some of its streets are very steep: Baldwin Street is claimed to be the steepest street in the world (and held the record until 2019).

It does get cold: many of the streets are iced over in winter, and every two or three years the city gets a snowfall.

These days, Dunedin is best known for its University of Otago, the oldest and one of the best universities in New Zealand, and its 'scarfie' student culture. The university is the South Island's second largest employer and by far the biggest contributor to the Dunedin economy. Dunedin is a university town rather than just a town with a university since the student population of around 27,000 is nearly 23% of the 120,000 residents. A consequence of this is that the city is significantly quieter during the university summer holiday period (approx November to February), and that accommodation may be harder to find or more expensive during orientation week and university graduations, etc.

Dunedinites (the Dunedin people) are generally friendly, and pride themselves on being friendlier than those from the bigger cities of NZ.

Visitor Information

  • Enterprise Dunedin
  • 1 i-SITE Dunedin Visitor Centre, 50 The Octagon, ☏ +64 3 474-3300, ✉ visitor.centre@dcc.govt.nz. Nov-Mar: M-F 8:30AM-5:30PM, Sa Su 8:45AM-5:30PM, and public holidays 9AM-5PM; Apr-Oct: M-F 8:30AM-5PM, Sa Su holidays 8:45AM-5PM. During their busiest period of Dec-Feb they remain open until 6PM when demand arises. Open 365 days a year, it provides extensive local and national information as well as a booking service for visitors and residents. They are also an agency for Intercity buses. For cruise ships arriving at Port Chalmers staff are available at the wharf to greet passengers and an onsite container shop is set up to provide all their services.

Get in

By plane

1 Dunedin International Airport (DUD IATA) (about 30 km (19 mi) west of town). Has flights from Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Brisbane. The terminal has a range of cafes, ATMs, and currency exchange. There is a pub serving some local beers and wines and a tapas style menu. There is more food and shopping before security, and since security checks are brisk at this small airport, you can plan to stay landside until your plane is ready.

    • Air New Zealand, ☏ +64 9 357 3000, 0800 737 000 (in country only), flies domestically from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.
    • Jetstar flies domestically from Auckland.
    • Virgin Australia offers international flights from Brisbane.

Dunedin airport is built on the nearest large piece of flat land. All of the major rental car operators also serve the airport.

Airport transport

Taxis and shuttle buses operate from just outside the terminal and are usually there when flights arrive. There is no scheduled public transport service to the airport.

A taxi to the centre of Dunedin costs around $90 to $100 and will take approximately 20 minutes.

Airport shuttles usually cost $20-25 per passenger going between Dunedin Airport and a destination within a 5-km radius of The Octagon (city centre).

Airport shuttles in Dunedin include:

  • Airport Shuttles Dunedin, ☏ +54 21-854-314, +64 21 288-8586, toll-free: 0800 477 800. $20 per passenger.
  • Kiwi Shuttles, 1 Craig Hendry St, Concord, ☏ +64 27 277-3852 (texts preferred), toll-free: 0800 365-494. $20 per passenger. There is an extra fee of $2 if you are paying by credit card, taxi chits, etc.
  • Supershuttle, toll-free: 0800 748-885. $25 per passenger.

By train

The 2 railway station is close to the centre of town (and is an architectural attraction as well as transport hub). There is no longer a regular long distance passenger train service, but some people arrive in the city by the local scenic trains. These are operated by the Taieri Gorge Railway, ☏ +64 3 477-4449, which run out as far as Middlemarch and Palmerston. A connecting bus service to or from Queenstown can be arranged.

By car

State Highway 1 passes through Dunedin. Allow 4.5 hr travel time from Christchurch and 2.5 hr from Invercargill. Be sure to get a good detailed map as soon as you can. Most hostels have very detailed maps for the central business district (CBD) with reasonable details for the outlying areas. Dunedin's urban roads can be very confusing with lots of one way streets, circles, and tight and winding hill routes.

By bus

There are several daily services from Christchurch, InvercargillWanaka and Queenstown. The major operators are Intercity, Atomic Shuttles and Ritchies. The trip from (or to) Christchurch takes about 6.5 hr.

  • Atomic Bus, ☏ +64 21 0867-6001. 9:30AM-2:30PM. Provides a daily mini-bus service between Dunedin and Christchurch. Departs Dunedin at 8:15AM and 2:20PM. Departs Christchurch at 8AM and 3:20PM. The journey takes approximately six hours.
  • Bottom Bus, +64 3 3 434-7370. Offers a hop-on-hop-off circuit on select days from Queenstown to Dunedin and then through the Catlins to Invercargill, Tuatapere, Manapouri and Te Anau (but not the other way). They depart Queenstown at 8AM in summer arriving Dunedin at 3:15PM and depart at 8:30AM in winter arriving in Dunedin at 4PM. They depart Dunedin at 8AM in summer and 8:30AM in winter for Invercargill.
  • Catch-a-Bus South, ☏ +64 27 449-7994. Provides a daily service between Dunedin and Bluff via SH1. Departs Dunedin M-F at 12:30PM and 4:30PM, Sa Su at 2:15PN. Departs Invercargill M-F at 7:30AM and 11AM, Sa Su 9:30AM. The journey takes 3½ hours and costs $65, and must be booked in advance. The service runs door to door and will drop you at your Dunedin accommodation.
  • Coastline Tours, ☏ +64 3 434-7744. Operates between Dunedin and Oamaru ($40), and will detour to Moeraki, Karitane, Seacliff or the Dunedin Airport ($80) if needed. Departs from Oamaru 8:30AM arriving in Dunedin at approximately 10:15AM. Depart 2:45PM from the Octagon in Dunedin. Arriving in Oamaru (approximately 4:45PM. Pick up by arrangement.
  • Intercity, ☏ +64 3 03 471-7143 (National contact centre). Daily 7AM-6PM. The local agency is at the iSITE Visitor Centre, at The Octagon. Intercity has direct services to Oamaru (one hour 40 minutes), Christchurch (six hours), Queenstown, Te Anau (4½ hours) and Invercargill (four hours). Intercity buses operate from Moray Place by the Countdown Supermarket which is 20 metres around the corner from the Central City Bus Hub on Great King Street.
  • Orbus, 0800 672-8736. Connects Dunedin and Palmerston. Departs M-F from Palmerston at 7AM, 11AM, 4:45PM and from Dunedin at 8:40AM, 3:35PM, 6PM. There is no weekend service. The journey takes 70 minutes. The service operates from the Central City Bus Hub on Great King Street in Dunedin.
  • 2 Ritchies, 7 Halsey St, ☏ +64 3 477-9238, toll-free: 0800 405 066. Provides a daily service between Dunedin and Wanaka via Cromwell with a connection Cromwell to Queenstown. Departs Wanaka at 7:45AM and 8:30AM. Departs Dunedin at 8:30AM and 3PM. The journey takes four hours and costs $50. The service operates from the Ritchies office at 7 Halsey Street in Dunedin.

By ship

Cruise ships are an increasingly popular way to visit Dunedin. There are 80-90 visits each October to March shipping season. The Dunedin City Council provides free Wi-Fi at the port and runs a web page for cruise visitors. The two major cruise companies Carnival (Holland America, P&O, Princess) and Royal Caribbean both serve Dunedin. Most cruise ships dock at the deep water harbour 3 Port Chalmers, 14 km northeast of Dunedin, 20-30 minutes drive from the city centre. You can travel direct by cruise ship shuttle bus for $10 one-way/$15 return. Alternatively, you can board the public Bus 13 Port Chalmers to City at the Port Chalmers turnaround, five minutes walk from ship side, for $5.20 one-way (free for New Zealand Gold Card holders) and a 20-min ride to the Octagon. You may catch the return Bus 14 City to Port Chalmers at the Countdown stop on Cumberland near Lower Stuart. Taxis cost about $45 one-way.

Seasoned cruise ship travellers will be aware that tourism products marketed directly to cruise ship passengers are often more expensive, so arranging visits to Dunedin attractions and tours independently can save money.

By bike

Dunedin is surrounded by hills, so cycling from other places requires effort. Cyclists are banned from State Highway 1 as it approaches the city from both north and south. There are alternative routes for cyclists.

  • From the north: turn left at Waitati and take Mt Cargill Rd, or turn left or right at the following intersection and take Donalds Hill Rd/Mt Cargill Rd or Waitati Valley Rd/Leith Valley Rd (this includes crossing the no-bikes highway at the summit)
  • From the south: Exit State Highway 1 at the Mosgiel interchange and take Quarry, Gordon and Dukes Roads to the aptly-named Three Mile Hill Rd, or turn right and take Quarry, Morris, Main and Main South Roads.

Get around

By foot

The city layout is focused on The Octagon, an eight-sided 'plaza' with a central carriageway. It hosts a few significant buildings, and a couple of bars and cafes, but for all intents and purposes it is a large bus stop and a roundabout.

The main retail area lies further north up George Street toward Dunedin North, and this could arguably be considered the city centre. Here you will find a larger range of shopping, some malls, cafes, etc. To a lesser there is some retail south along Princes Street and east along Lower Stuart Street from the Octagon. At the end of Lower Stuart Street, 400 metres from the Octagon, lies Anzac Square (actually a triangular area of public gardens) and Dunedin Railway Station and Toitū Otago Settlers Museum. Beyond that is an industrial area and the Otago harbour.

The street blocks in Dunedin are quite long, and walking from the Octagon past the university to the Botanic Gardens can take the best part of an hour. Always remember that Dunedin has a flatter area by the water, and then climbs steeply. So, the shorter route may not be the easiest one if you are going over the hills. Check the contours before setting out.

By bus

Getting around Dunedin is super easy thanks to the extensive Orbus bus network organized by the Otago Regional Council connecting the city centre and the outlying suburbs and towns (such as Mosgiel and Palmerston). Various bus companies as GoBus and Ritchies are contracted by the Otago Regional Council to provide the Orbus service. Most drivers will tell you where to find the right bus if you ask nicely, or you can call the bus helpline on 0800 672 8736 (also free from cell phones), between M-F 8AM to 5:30PM, Sa Su 9AM to 5PM. All buses are wheelchair friendly.

All city buses operate from the Central City Bus Hub which is located on Great King Street between Moray Place and St Andrew St. Buses run regularly during the week, but services are greatly reduced (or non-existent) on weekends and holidays.

Fares

Bus drivers will accept cash, although it costs less to ride with an electronic GoCard bus service debit card. By using a GoCard you pay less than a cash fare and get a discounted transfer within the same zone if you get on another bus within 30 minutes of getting off the first (i.e. your second trip will be discounted by 1 zone).

GoCards cost $5 to set up, with a minimum top up of $10, and can be used elsewhere in Otago including Queenstown. They can be obtained from:

  • The bus driver.
  • Otago Regional Council, 70 Stafford St.
  • Dunedin City Council, Customer Service Centre in the Octagon.
  • University Bookshop, 378 Great King St.

To add money to the card you can ask your bus driver to load money onto your card or top-up at any of the places listed above below:

  • Otago Regional Council, 70 Stafford St.
  • Dunedin City Council Customer Service Centre in the Octagon.
  • University Bookshop, 378 Great King St.

To top up on a bus you will need to pay in cash. If you want to top up with EFTPOS you will need to go to one of the locations listed above.

Bus fares are (as of 2019): One zone Adult $1.92 (GoCard) $2.60 (cash); Two zones Adult $2.53 (GoCard) $3.40 (cash); Three zones Adult $4.44 (GoCard) $6.00 (cash); Four zones 4 Adult $7.58 (GoCard) $10.20 (cash); Five zones Adult $11.41 (GoCard) $15.30 (cash).

Routes

  • The main line service, Normanby-City-St Clair, (GoBus No 9) runs every 15 minutes and is handy to about a dozen of the city's attractions: St Clair beach, the University, Dunedin Botanic Garden and Baldwin St
  • Most other routes are every 30-40 min.
  • The Peninsula bus route from the Museum is a good way to see the Peninsula, unless you're terrified by oncoming traffic: in places the full sized buses are wider than the lanes they travel in. The traffic is generally used to this and travels very cautiously. The service however does not go to Lanach Castle nor as far as Taiaroa Head.
  • The Brockville (55) and Halfway Bush (44) bus routes take you to the city's near-alpine outskirts, especially fun when snow has fallen.
  • Bus services are reduced on Sundays and New Zealand public holidays; on Christmas Day, Good Friday and Easter Sunday there are no services but the local bus museum operates classic vehicles (not wheelchair friendly) on two main routes.

By bicycle

Although some of those hills are extremely steep but the town centre is reasonably flat. The following companies rent bicycles:

  • 3 Cycle World, 67 Stuart St, ☏ +64 3 477-7473. City bike and hardtail mountain bikes $35 for three hours, $50 per day. Full suspension mountain bike $100 per day. Open M–F 8:30AM to 5:30PM, Sa 9:30AM to 15:30 and Su 10AM to 3PM.
  • 4 Dunedin iBike Hire, 262 Macandrew Road, Forbury, ☏ +64 21 175-0832, toll-free: 0800 480-680. All bikes come with helmet and lock. Standard bicycle $30 for four hours, $40 per day. Full suspension mountain bike $60 for four hours, $80 per day. E-bike $60 for four hours, $80 per day. Open daily 8AM to 8PM.
  • 5 Otago Harbour Golf Challenge (OHGC), Offices at 139 Portobello Rd and 14 Harrow St, ☏ +64 27 627-6841. Rents E-bikes. Cost $20 per hour for one to two hours, $50 four hours, $75 full day hire, $95 overnight. The Portobello office is open every day whereas Harrow St is only open M-F 8AM to 5PM.

There is a recycling centre down by the north-east end of the docks (in Wickliffe Street) which generally has one or two reasonable-condition bicycles lying about for $10 apiece. Carefully add air (there's a service station due west back over the bridge) and oil and you're set to go. You will also need a skid-lid/stack-hat/helmet, which are generally unavailable second-hand for liability reasons, but can be had new for $20 from the KMart in Meridian, between George Street and Filleul Street. There is another recycling shop called "The Recover Store" at the Dunedin Landfill on Brighton Road, Green Island.

There is an excellent flat ride out along the western shore of the Otago Peninsula to Harington Point, although it's a narrow road shared by lots of tour buses. A cycle track runs along of the industrial eastern shore of the harbour, about half-way to Port Chalmers (busy highway the rest of the way).

If you like a bit of a hill-climb, ride out along North Road to the Organ Pipes, a collection of rapidly-cooled volcanic lava formed into vertical columnar basalt. The walk along a bush track up to the Pipes themselves is very scenic and well attended by small, harmless wildlife. The ride up along the ridge of the Peninsula to Lanarch Castle is also good high-energy exercise.

If you like pushing a bike up a hill because it's too steep, dive off North Road onto Norwood Street, or cross to the east side of the Peninsula, or head straight up the hill behind The Octagon past the Beverly-Begg Observatory to suburbs with a view like Roslyn.

See

The following attractions are free: Baldwin Street, Dunedin Railway Station, Otago Museum, Public Art Gallery, Toitū Otago Settlers Museum, and the churches.

  • 1 Baldwin Street. Located in Dunedin's North East Valley suburb, this used to be the world's steepest street according to Guinness World Records, but in 2019 they found a slightly steeper street in Harlech, Wales. Take the ten-minute walk to the top or drive up to enjoy the view looking down! There is a drinking fountain at the top. Some people have tried, and a few have succeeded, cycling all the way up Baldwin Street - try it if you're a keen cyclist. That said, you will need to be careful coming back down - chances are the cycle's brakes will do little to slow a descent at such an incline!
  • 2 Dunedin Prison, 2 Castle St, ☏ +64 3 471-2268 (for tours), ✉ dunedingaolenquiries@gmail.com. Open over the summers on Saturday morning for a one-hour guided tour which start at 10:30AM. This was the second Dunedin goal to be built and was completed in 1898 with cells for 52 men and 20 women. It operated as both a men’s and women’s prison until 2007 when all prison services were shifted to the new Otago Corrections Facility near Milton. The structure was designed by the Government Architect, John Campbell. The prison was constructed with superb detail and the contrasting red and pale exterior colours are an example of Edwardian neo-Baroque. The property was sold to the Dunedin Prison Charitable Trust with the intention of transforming it into a tourist attraction. Adult $15, school age child $5. Cash only.
  • 3 Dunedin Railway Station. Described as "the outstanding monument of Edwardian architecture in New Zealand", this is the best-known building in Dunedin (apart, perhaps, from Forsyth Barr Stadium). Opened in 1906, it has an atmosphere and character unique to any public building in New Zealand. The main hall is particularly fine - look down on the mosaic floor from the balcony. The station is often quiet as regular passenger services ceased in 2002, but there are daily Train_excursions, although in the early 20th century there were 100 trains per day.
    • New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame, First floor, Dunedin Railway Station, 22 Anzac Ave, ☏ +64 3 477-7775. Daily 10AM-4PM, closed Good Friday and Christmas Day. The New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame was established in 1990 as part of the celebrations to mark New Zealand's 150 years of organized settlement. Generally, sports people need to have been retired for five years from active international competition to be eligible for induction. This small museum full of sporting memorabilia has been in Dunedin since 1999. adult $6, concession $4, child $2.
    • Art Station, Dunedin Railway Station, 22 Anzac Ave, ☏ +64 3 477-9465. 10AM-4PM. Showcases work by members of the Otago Art Society, with changing temporary exhibitions in the main gallery and works for sale in the shop. Pieces donated by members over the course of the society's 140 years of existence are proudly displayed in the corridor connecting the two.
  • 4 Forsyth Barr Stadium. A futuristic rugby and soccer stadium, opened in 2011 for the Rugby World Cup, it is fully enclosed with a grass surface — the only such stadium in the world. (The roof is transparent, allowing grass to grow.) Some are already starting to call the stadium the "Greenhouse of Pain" — a play on "House of Pain", the nickname of Carisbrook, the stadium it replaced. Stadium tours $15.
  • 5 Law Courts, 1 Stuart St. Designed by John Campbell, the law courts are one of the finest examples of Gothic civic architecture in the country. Constructed of dark Port Chalmers breccia (commonly called bluestone) ornamented with lighter Oamaru stone the complex was completed in 1902 on the site where the city’s first prison had been located. The building is still used as Dunedin’s law courts, and comprises four courtrooms as well as the local Law Society’s library.
  • 6 Dunedin Town Hall (Municipal Chambers), 38 The Octagon. Completed in 1880 and designed by R. A. Lawson in 1878, it is New Zealand's only surviving significant Victorian Town Hall. Of Italianate design and complete with Corinthian columns and an imposing staircase and balustrade, it is built of Oamaru stone on a base of breccia from Port Chalmers.In 1929 a town hall were added behind the Municipal Chambers, and in the 1980s a new administration building, incorporating a new public library, was added to the Octagon.
    The town hall is home to a symphonic pipe organ (with 3,500 pipes) affectionally known as 'Norma' that is still operational. The entrance to the town hall is from Moray Place.
  • 7 North Dunedin. Not your traditional attraction but a stroll through the student accommodation-filled streets around the university can give you a real insight into Dunedin student life. Many of the often run down flats have their own names, and on the right sunny day the area comes to life as couches are dragged out onto the streets so the students can enjoy the sun and a few beverages. Castle St and Hyde St are two of the most famous flatting streets. The area does often get a bit rowdier in the evenings.
  • 8 Ocho Chocolate, 10 Roberts St, ☏ +64 3 425-7819. Guided tours M-Sa at 11AM and 2PM. Ocho import their fermented and dried cacao beans from farmers in Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Fiji. They then make the chocolate from scratch, roasting, grinding, conching and tempering the chocolate before molding it into bars. The beans are roasted and processed in small batches so some variations are possible from batch to batch.
    Unlike big industrial chocolate makers they use simple equipment and their processes are very hands-on because none of their equipment is automated. One hour guided tours are available of the factory during which visitors taste 15 different chocolates or compounds. Guided tours cost $25 for adults, $15 for children and $70 for a family.
  • 9 Old Bank of New Zealand, corner of Princes St and Rattray St. This building was completed in 1882 and designed with a Venetian Renaissance style by architect W. B. Armson, one of the first professionally trained colonial architects to work in New Zealand. The Venetian Renaissance style exterior constructed in Oamaru stone features carving of New Zealand plants and landscapes. The building houses a law firm.
  • 10 Old National Bank, 193 Princes St. This building which was designed by architect W. H. Dunning was completed in 1913 with a façade of Hobart Sandstone. The building features a domed glass ceiling and is set over a large public banking chamber.
  • 11 Olveston, 42 Royal Terrace, ☏ +64 3 477-3320. The gardens are open 9:30AM to 5PM. The house can only be entered on a guided tour. These occur daily at 9:30AM, 10:45AM, noon, 1:30PM, 2:45PM and 4PM. Olveston homestead provided the Theomin family with the perfect setting to entertain both professional and personal friends. Seven servants were employed to service the 35 rooms of the home and to manicure the acre of beautiful garden. The home is sited in the inner city and is within walking distance from the city centre. Guided tour of the house adults $23, concessions $22, Dunedin residents $18, school age children $13, infants free. Entry to the garden is free.
  • 12 The Octagon. In the city centre, it has an octagonal shape instead of the standard square and features a statue of Scottish poet Robert Burns. This statue was unveiled in 1887 and has been restored. It was cast by sculptor Sir John Steell of Edinburgh, Scotland, who made four other, nearly identical, statues, one of which stands in Central Park, New York. Several significant buildings are adjacent to the Octagon, including the Public Art Gallery, St. Paul's Anglican Cathedral, the Town Hall and the Regent Theatre.
  • 13 Otago University. Has some great old buildings to wander about and see; when classes are on it's a good place to sit, people-watch and take it all in, some good food/cafes/bars are nearby too.
  • 14 Speight's Brewery, 200 Rattray St, ✉ tours@speights.co.nz. Shop hours: M-Th 9:30AM-7PM, F-Su 9:30AM-5PM. Tours daily at noon, 2PM, 4PM. (Oct- Mar also at 5PM, 6PM, 7PM) Closed Christmas Day, Good Friday, Easter Saturday and Sunday, and shortened hours on ANZAC day.. Children under 15 require adult supervision. The brewery has been a Dunedin landmark since its founding in 1876. The guided tour takes you through the Speight's brewery, sharing the heritage and culture of beer, from the Babylonians to today. The tour's finale is a 25 minute beer tasting. You must be 18 years or over to join in on the tasting, and you must wear flat closed shoes for the tour. There is a tap on the wall of the brewery which provides free water from the spring used by the brewery. tour $30.

Museums and galleries

  • 15 Blue Oyster Art Project Space, 16 Dowling St. See the website. Playfully named after the Blue Oyster gay biker bar featured in the 1984 comedy film Police Academy, this not for profit gallery run by the Blue Oyster Arts Trust began its life in 1999 and since then has been supporting experimental and innovative art practices. All exhibitions and events are free to attend.
  • 16 Gasworks Museum, 20 Braemar St, ☏ +64 3 455-5063. every Sunday of the month from noon until 4PM. This old coal gasworks operated from 1863 until 1987. At its peak in the 1970s coal gas was provided to over 18,000 customers in the city. Much of the facility was pulled down during the 1980s, though many of the Edwardian buildings of the complex were saved by a trust and it is one of only a handful of preserved gasworks museums in the world. The main part of the museum is housed in the engine house. Other buildings which are included in the museum include the boiler room, boiler house, chimney stack, fitting shop, and blacksmith's shop. The museum includes five stationary steam engines, some of which are in working full order. There are also displays of domestic and industrial gas appliances.
  • 17 The Dunedin Museum of Natural Mystery, 61 Royal Terrace, ☏ +64 21 0329-906. F noon to 5PM, Sa 10AM to 5PM, Su 10AM-5PM. This is a small private museum and gallery spread over three rooms of an old central city villa which is the home of Dunedin mural artist and sculptor, Bruce Mahalski. It houses biological curiosities, skulls, bones, ethnological art and unusual cultural artefacts. They include the bones of many different species of animal (including humans), 200 skulls, pinned butterfly collections, vintage books (especially medical texts), etc. The museum also contains a gallery where Mahalski exhibits his bone art and paintings for sale. Please be aware that the museum is part of a private house and entry is strictly at the discretion of the owner. $5. Free for children under 10.
  • 18 Dunedin Public Art Gallery, 30 the Octagon, ☏ +64 3 474-3240, fax: +64 3 474-3250, ✉ dpagmail@dcc.govt.nz. Daily 10AM–5PM except 25 Dec. This gallery displays both local and international work in a modern building. Established in 1884, the Gallery was New Zealand’s first Art Gallery and is renowned today for the richness of its historic collection. Historical works by renowned artists such as Turner, Gainsborough, Claude, and Machiavelli feature alongside the only Monet in a New Zealand collection and master works by Derain, Tissot, Burne-Jones and internationally acclaimed Dunedin artist Frances Hodgkins. Free.
  • 19 Otago Museum, 419 Great King Street. Daily 10AM-5PM. Was founded in 1868 and has a collection of over two million artefacts and specimens from the fields of natural history and ethnography. There is also a (paid entry) "Discovery World Tropical Forest". This features a variety of flora and fauna from around the globe, as well as many species of butterfly from Asia and South America. There are around 1,000 butterflies flying at any one time, and the Forest also has tarantulas, birds, fish, turtles and geckos. Free but donations welcomed. Charges for special exhibitions.
  • 20 Toitū Otago Settlers Museum, 31 Queens Garden, ☏ +64 3 477-5052, fax: +64 3 474-2727, ✉ toituosm@dcc.govt.nz. Daily except 25 Dec. Oct-Mar 10AM–5PM, Apr-Sep 10AM–4PM, open Th until 8PM. First opened in 1908, this museum refurbished in 2013 is housed in the stunning, original Edwardian galleries and Dunedin's former art deco New Zealand Railways Road Services bus station next to the railway station. It focuses on the people and history of the region. The museum is a short walk from the Octagon and is between the Chinese Garden and the historic Railway Station, in the cultural heritage precinct. Wi-Fi is free throughout the museum and a free bag and coat check is available in the Josephine Foyer. A cafe is available in the entrance foyer. Free.

Parks and gardens

  • 21 Dunedin Botanical Gardens, 12 Opoho Rd. Dawn to dusk every day of the year, except as follows: Information Centre and Shop 10AM-4PM, closed - Christmas Day and Good Friday. Winter Garden Glasshouse 10AM-4PM. Alpine House 9AM-4PM. Occupying 30.4 hectares (75 acres) in the north end of the city; an excellent place to stroll for several hours. Has an aviary along with many themed garden areas such as Rhododendron, Azalea and Rose Gardens. Admission is free to all areas of the garden.
  • 22 Dunedin Chinese Garden, Corner of Rattray and Cumberland Streets, next to the Toitū Otago Settlers Museum (Two minutes walk from the Railway Station and five minutes from the Octagon.), ☏ +64 3 474-3594. Daily 10AM-5PM, closed Christmas Day. A piece of serenity in the city. The Dunedin Chinese Garden is an example of a late Ming, early Ching Dynasty scholar's garden. The only traditional Chinese garden in the Southern Hemisphere. Try some amazing dumplings and Chinese tea. An opportunity not to be missed! Adult $9.50, concession $6.50, child under 13 free.

Religious buildings

  • 23 First Church, 415 Moray Place, ☏ +64 3 477-7118, +64 3 477-7150. Services Su 10AM, (noon Cook Islands Service, 2PM Samoan Service) open most other days for viewing - enquire locally. One of the most impressive churches in New Zealand, looking like an English cathedral. Dunedin's primary Presbyterian church, built of Oamaru stone 1868-73. The spire is 56 m high, making it the tallest building in Dunedin. Free, donations welcome.
  • 24 Knox Church, George Street, ☏ +64 3 477-0229. 8:30AM-5PM. Services Su 10AM and 7PM. The largest church in Dunedin, used by a Presbyterian congregation. Built of bluestone and Oamaru stone, with a wooden ceiling between 1872-76 to design by Robert Lawson. Free entry.
  • 25 St. Joseph's Cathedral, 300 Rattray Street, ☏ +64 3 477-2980. Construction of this Gothic revival cathedral was started in 1878 to the designs of Francis Petre. It was completed in its unfinished state in May 1886. The original design, however, was for a much larger building, with a tall spire with a height of 60 m over the transept. The cathedral is located beside St Dominic's Priory. The Cathedral Chapel is situated behind the Priory. Behind the Cathedral is the Catholic Pastoral Centre, containing the Bishop's office and also the Catholic library. Free entry.
  • 26 St. Paul's Cathedral, 228 Stuart St (The Octagon), ☏ +64 3 477-2336. 10AM-4PM. Construction on this Anglican cathedral began in 1915 with funds for the project running out before the intended crossing and chancel could be built. In the end it was resolved that a temporary chancel should be constructed using material saved from the old St Paul’s. The new cathedral was consecrated in 1919. A new modernist chancel was added between 1969 and 1971. Free entry.

Out of town

  • Otago Peninsula - much scenic coastline including rugged points and headlands, wildfowl-laden mud flats and beautiful Allans Beach (plus several smaller beaches) on the south/east coast, and picturesque hamlets on the north/west coast (including a pretty and peaceful cemetery on a little spit of land called Dunoon, many boat-houses and a minuscule beach). Seals, sea-lions and other interesting fauna turn up at all of the southern/eastern beaches. Ask nicely, and the locals may even tell you where the good spots are for gathering shellfish, catching blue cod, and viewing the wildlife without having to pay for the privilege.
  • 27 Fletcher House, 727 Portobello Road, Broad Bay, Otago Peninsula (Parking is available 150 m past Fletcher House on the Portobello side.), ☏ +64 3 478-0180. 11AM-4PM for guided tours. This typical Edwardian villa was built in 1909 by Sir James Fletcher, founder of Fletcher Construction Company Ltd for Hubert Green and his wife. The double bay windowed villa with return verandah has views over Turnbull Bay. In December 1990 Fletcher Challenge decided to restore the Fletcher House and after restoration opened it to the public in 1992, making it the first villa in New Zealand to be opened for all to enjoy. It has been fully restored to its former glory and has been furnished in the style of the period by the Otago Settlers Museum. 10 adults, accompanied children free.
  • 28 Glenfalloch Woodland Garden, 430 Portobello Road, Otago Peninsula (The Portobello bus stops out the front.), ☏ +64 3 476-1006. Daily 9AM-4PM. Glenfalloch, Gaelic for ‘hidden valley’ enjoys a microclimate that extends the seasons and nurtures growth. There are walking tracks meandering throughout 30 acres of lush, well-tended woodland gardens, filled with flowers and swaying mature trees, including a 1000-year-old matai that you can enjoy at your own pace or you can also take a guided tour. Glenfalloch has been classified as a Garden of National Significance. There's also a good restaurant on site. $3 adult, $1 child.
  • 29 Royal Albatross colony, Taiaroa Head, 1260 Harrington Point Rd, Otago Peninsula (at Taiaroa Head), ☏ +64 3 478-0499. 10:15AM to dusk. The only mainland albatross nesting site in the world. It is an hour's drive along the western coast of Otago Peninsula on a road that skirts the water for most of its length without any guardrail. In places, the city buses which frequent the road are wider than the lanes (the local traffic is used to this, and drives very carefully), so if you don't trust your driving reflexes, take a coach instead. Albatrosses may be seen during the summer months, as well as other wildlife at all times of the year. Guided tours of the colony and the old fortifications on and under the headland are conducted daily. The Albatross Classic tour (adult $52, child $15, family $115). The Unique Taiaroa Experience tour (adult $62, child $20, family $134).
  • 30 Fort Taiaroa, Harrington Point Rd, 1260 Harrington Point, Otago Peninsula, ☏ +64 3 478-0499. 10:15AM to dusk. This Armstrong disappearing gun at Fort Taiaroa was installed in May 1889 and was recommissioned during World War II. It is still in its original gun pit. Coastal fortifications were constructed in New Zealand in two main waves. The first wave occurred around 1885 and was a response to fears of an attack by Russia. The second wave occurred during World War II and was due to fears of invasion by the Japanese. The fortifications were built from British designs adapted to New Zealand conditions.
    The only public access to the fort is by a 30-minute guided tour. The Fort Taiaroa tour (adult $26, child $10, family $62) or the Unique Taiaroa Experience (adult $62, child $20, family $134) include the guns and the birds.
  • 31 Larnach Castle, 145 Camp Rd, Otago Peninsula (Other than by local tour, taxi or by private car then the other option is to take bus 18 from the centre of Dunedin in the direction of Harrington Point, get off in Company Bay and from there walk 5.5 km along Castlewood Rd.), ☏ +64 3 476-1616. Castle Oct-Mar 8AM-6PM, to Apr-Sep 9AM-5PM. Garden Oct-Mar 9AM-7PM, to Apr-Sep 9AM-5PM. Billed as "the only castle" in New Zealand, it's very pretty but it's actually a manor house. Lanarch Castle has a rich and interesting but rather unhappy history. It was built ny wealthy businessman William Larnach and later cabinet minister in the New Zealand Government, holding various portfolios, over a period of 25 years. He took his own life in the New Zealand Parliament Buildings in 1898. After the home was sold by the family it became first a lunatic asylum, then a hospital for shell-shocked soldiers and a nuns' retreat. In 1967 it was purchased by new owners and restored. Castle, gardens & grounds adult $34, child (aged 5 - 14) $12, family (2 adults and up to 4 children) $80. Early bird special 8—9:30AM (Oct-Mar) adult $25.50, child (aged 5 - 14) $9, family $60. Gardens & grounds only adult $17, child $5. Guided tours $125.
  • 32 Cargill's Castle, Isadore street, St Clair. The ruins of Cargill's Castle stand on a promontory overlooking the sea. This Italianate mansion was built for Edward Cargill, eighth child of city founder William Cargill. Called The Cliffs by its owner it was designed by the young architect Francis Petre. While designing the house, Petre fell in love with Cargill's daughter Margaret. After a difficult courtship (due to Petre's staunch Catholicism and the Cargill family's equally staunch Presbyterianism) the couple were eventually permitted to marry. It now lies in ruins and while plans have been made on several occasions to restore the building to its former glory, but none have yet borne fruit.
    There is no public access to the site and it cannot be accessed until stabilization of the site has been completed.
  • 33 The Organ Pipes. Small columnar rock formation set in a hillside with splendid views. Pleasant hike up a steep bush track from a car park about 5 km (3.1 mi) out of town along North Road. The track continues up from the Organ Pipes to the peak of Mount Cargill 676 m (2,218 ft) which gives panoramic views across the city, Otago Harbour and Peninsula, and the surrounding countryside.
  • 34 Otakou Marae. A Maori church and meeting-house, which gave the Otago Peninsula its name. Find it on a side-road near Harington Point, at the outer (north-east) end of the Peninsula.
  • 35 Orokonui EcoSanctuary, Blueskin Rd (on the scenic route between Port Chalmers and Waitati), ☏ +64 3 482-1755. Daily 9:30AM-4:30PM. Home to some of New Zealand's most fascinating and rare wildlife and providing visitors with exceptional experiences while allowing native flora and fauna to live naturally in a safe haven. A 307-ha enclosure inside an 8.7-km pest-proof fence, it provides a chance to see Kaka, Tui, Bellbirds, Tuatara, Kiwi and more in a native setting. Offers daily guided tours and night tours twice a week.
    The visitor centre has free entry, but passengers on identified cruise ship tours are charged $5 for a mandatory tour.
  • 36 Tunnel beach. Closed for lambing 1 Aug – 31 Oct. Often called the most romantic spot in Dunedin. In the 1870s local politician John Cargill excavated a tunnel down to a secluded beach so that the extended Cargill families could bathe in privacy away from the prying eyes of St Clair. The beach is sheltered by fossil filled cliffs, with massive sandstone boulders, mysterious graffiti carved into the cliffs and a dangerous rip that sadly drowned Cargill's youngest daughter.
    The 72 concrete steps through the tunnel is dimly naturally lit, while the path down to the tunnel is steep and can be very slippery following wet weather. The best time to visit is at low tide.
    To get there by private vehicle proceed to the car park at the end of Tunnel Beach Road, which is signposted off Blackhead Road in the south of Dunedin. From the car park it is easy 20-minute walk via a track through private farm land to the tunnel and beach. The track is open year-round except during the spring lambing season. Otherwise take the No.33 bus in the direction of Corstorphine and get off at the corner of Middleton Road and Stenhope Crescent. It is approximately 30 minutes’ walk from there to the start of the track.

Do

Active pursuits

  • Baldwin Street Gutbuster. Take part in a run up and back on the world's steepest street during the city's summer festival.
  • Tramping. Dunedin has some of the most easily-accessible tracks of any city in NZ. In less than half an hour you can be in pristine bush far from the worries of the world. Ask about Green Hut Track, Carey's Creek, Possum Hut, Rosella Ridge, Yellow Ridge, Rocky Ridge, Rongamai, Honeycomb, Powder Creek, Long Ridge, Swampy Ridge, Leith Saddle, Burns, Rustlers, Nichols Creek, Nichols Falls, to name just some of the fabulous tramping tracks around this city. Ask at the Visitor Centre or get "The Ultimate Tramping Guide for around Dunedin" at DoC ($10) and cut loose.
  • 1 Moana Pool, 60 Littlehouse Rd, ☏ +64 3 477-4000. M-F 6AM-10PM, Sa Su 7AM-7PM. This is a public pool with water slide and spa, 5 minutes walk up Stuart Street from the Octagon.
  • 2 St Clair Hot Salt Water Pool, The Esplanade, St Clair, ☏ +64 3 455-6352. 1 Oct-31 Mar: M-F 6AM-7PM, Sa & Su 7AM-7PM. This heated outdoor pool sits on the western headland of St Clair Beach. The water is heated to 28°C and contains a mixture of salt and chlorinated water. adult $6.70, child $3.

Beaches

Saint Clair beach is the most popular, closest to the city and (along with the adjoining St Kilda) is regularly visited by a wide array of wildlife, such as seals, blue penguins and sea lions and the very occasional shark. St Clair beach also features an esplanade with cafes/bars/restaurants, together with a salt water swimming pool at its western end, and a surf school with wetsuit and board rental which operates in the summer. There are also a number of other less populated local beaches a short drive away from the city, including Aramoana, Long Beach, Warrington Beach, Tunnel Beach, Brighton, and Sandfly Bay. St Clair, St Kilda, Warrington and Brighton beaches are patrolled by life guards on summer weekends and daily at the height of summer. Swimming inthe ocean is much more fun if you wear a wetsuit to combat the ocean's chill. For further information see the Dunedin City website

Cinema

The city has a number of cinemas.

  • 3 Rialto Cinema, Moray Place. Nice movie cinema in a converted old theatre.

Train excursions

  • Taieri Gorge Railway, Dunedin Railway Station, Anzac Ave, ☏ +64 3 477-4449. Office M-F 8AM-5PM, Sa Su 8:30AM- 3PM. A sightseeing train trip travelling through spectacular scenery. It departs from the historic Dunedin Railway Station in central Dunedin and ends at the small village of Middlemarch. Departing daily it takes you on a journey through the rugged and spectacular Taieri River Gorge, across wrought iron viaducts and through tunnels carved by hand more than 100 years ago. Take your camera and lots of memory. The same company runs trips on the Christchurch line as far as Palmerston, about 2 hours away. These go about twice a week in the summer. Pukerangi $91-99, Middlemarch $113. Students get a 20% discount. One child (ages 3-17)per adult travel travels for free with additional children charged $28.

Spectator sports

  • Go to a rugby game. A huge part of Otago culture. From February until August the Highlanders and then the Otago NPC team play games at the roofed Forsyth Barr Stadium (see the See section above). Otherwise there are local club games that you can watch for free at parks around town on Saturday mornings.
  • Watch a cricket game. Cricket replaces rugby as the national sporting pastime when summer arrives (although the national cricket team, the Black Caps, enjoys considerably less success than the All Blacks). National level cricket games are played at the 4 University Oval throughout the summer, along with the occasional international match, and on a sunny day its a great way to spend your time. Otherwise, as with rugby, local club games can be watched around the town at weekends.

Learn

The University of Otago (Māori: 'Te Whare Wānanga o Otāgo') is internationally recognised and New Zealand's oldest university. It had over 21,000 students enrolled during 2018.

The university has New Zealand's highest average research quality and in New Zealand is second only to the University of Auckland in the number of A rated academic researchers it employs. Probably the most internationally famous research to come out of Otago is the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study (or "Dunedin Study" for short), which has followed 1037 people born in Dunedin during 1972-73 since age three and is arguably one of the richest sources of human health and development data in the world.

The Otago Polytechnic focuses on skills based, technical education and occupational training, offering a range of New Zealand accredited degrees, diplomas and certificates in many areas of interest

The students in Dunedin are referred to as scarfies and are well know throughout New Zealand for their antics. Much of the student accommodation in Dunedin is located in close proximity to the University in old houses known as 'flats'. The majority of the houses in North Dunedin around the university are student flats, creating a student 'ghetto'. Dunedin is known for having a tightly woven active student culture with many well known traditions, ranging from the toga party for first years to the infamous Hyde Street keg race.

Work

The main industry sectors contributing to Dunedin's economy are property services, education, business services, health services and food manufacturing. Communication, Government administration and tourism are all big industries.

Dunedin's main employers (employing more than 2000 people) are the University of Otago and the Otago District Health Board. Another large employer is the Dunedin City Council.

Buy

Most Dunedin shopping is on George Street north of the Octagon, centred around the Meridian/Golden Centre/Wall Street mall complex. There are also a number of souvenir shops near the octagon.

Bookstores

  • 1 Dead Souls, 393 Princes St, ☏ +64 21 0270-8540. Mo-Sa 10AM-6PM. They are crammed to the rafters with around 20,000 books so they should have something of interest. The ceiling is papered with old book covers.
  • 2 Hard to Find, 20 Dowling St, ☏ +64 3 471-8518. Daily 10AM-6PM. The largest antiquarian and second hand bookshop in New Zealand, and the largest online one in Australasia. Access is via a majestic staircase. It has a spacious front room adorned with comfortable couches where customers are encouraged to relax and read. The books in the shop are only the precursor to Hard to Find's library, a gigantic collection of 120,000 books in a warehouse like room behind the shop. A database of these books is searchable on the store’s website, or you can ask at the desk and they'll make it available to you.
  • 3 Scribes, 546 Great King St, ☏ +64 3 477-6874. M-F 10AM-5:30PM, Sa Su 10AM-5PM. This emporium is the stately old lady of Dunedin second hand bookshops. They have a high turnover. The shop is quite small for the number of books crammed into it, and as such the store lacks places to sit and relax.
  • 4 University Book Shop, 378 Great King St, ☏ +64 3 477-6976. M-F 8:30AM-5:30PM, Sa 10AM-4PM and Su 10AM-4PM. Across the road from the Otago Museum, this bookshop offers just about anything you’re likely to want to read with numerous Māori, Pacific and NZ titles in stock.

Department stores

  • 5 The Warehouse, 39 Maclaggan Street. daily 8AM -9PM. Value clothes and household items. The red shed is slightly hidden above a car park.
  • 6 Farmers, 150-180 George St. /M, Tu, W 9:00AM - 5:30PM, Th, F 9:00AM - 7:00PM, Sa 9:30AM - 5:30PM, Su 10:00AM - 5:00PM. Mid range department store

Malls

  • 7 Meridian Mall, 285 George Street. Meridian Mall has about 50 businesses, including Kmart and H&J Smith department stores, fashion and lifestyle shops and eateries. Right in the middle of Dunedin, this is one of the largest shopping malls on the South Island.

Markets

For the freshest local organic produce, including fruit, vegetables, eggs, bread, cheese, check out the 8 Farmer's Market. Held at the railway station Sa 8AM–12:30PM, it is a Dunedin institution and one of the best places to try local food. It has delicious delicacies such as crepes (including gluten free), the deservedly famous "bacon buttie" (far corner from the Railway Station, look for the crowd), whitebait fritters, and baking as well as fresh fruit and vegetables. It's rated as one of the best farmers markets in New Zealand.

Eat

Dunedin is home to numerous reasonably priced ethnic restaurants and being a university town, the city is home to many establishments that cater to students. Lower Stuart Street, around the Octagon and the northern part of central George Street (including the side streets) have the majority of Dunedin's restaurants. There are also a few interesting places on Albany Street, which runs across the south of the University of Otago. There is a full range of ethnic cuisine available, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Italian, Turkish, Malaysian, Thai, Filipino and Indian. One Dunedin favourite is the cheese roll - a mixture of grated cheese, onion and soup mix in a toasted rolled slice of bread, a speciality of the southern part of the South Island, available in cafes.

Budget

Fish and chips are the classic cheap eats: the minimum serve of chips usually costs around $1.50 and will fill you up. Best Cafe on Lower Stuart Street is often rated as one of the best in town. Being a student town, you can expect to find some very cheap take-away food near the university campus: you will pay $3.50-4.00 for a teriyaki chicken riceball from many sushi stores, the Flying Squid (Squiddies) on Albany Street sells hearty burgers for $3.50 at lunch time, and you can get a decent sub sandwich from Frankly Sandwiches in the University's 'link' (corner of Albany and Cumberland Street) for around $5.

Hot kumara chips are made from a sweet-potato variant and are typically priced at about double the cost of potato chips.

Cones of ice cream sell for reasonable prices at many places, including little delis and general stores at places like MacAndrew Bay. Rob Roy on the corner of George and Albany St is a popular favourite and typically sell an average of 500 ice creams a day, with the record total being 1,219 on a September day in 2015.

McDonald's is at 232 George Street. A second McDonald's, and a variety of fast food outlets, can be found in North Dunedin near the end of the one-way going north (Great King Street - "Fatty Alley"), and even more fast food places are on the way to South Dunedin on Anderson's Bay Road.

  • 1 Highgate Bridge Friday Shop, 300 Highgate, Rosyln. open only on Friday mornings from 7:30AM. This bakery only opens on Fridays, and then is only open until it sells out. Hungry, in-the-know locals tend to clear it out of its stock of delicious baked pastries and meat pies rather quickly.
  • 2 Best Cafe, 30 Stuart Street. A well known 'old fashioned' fish and chip shop.
  • 3 Good Oil, 314 George Street. Good Oil on George St has premium ALLPRESS espresso coffee, fantastic edibles from the cabinet made fresh daily, and a full à la carte brunch menu available, also on Fridays from 6PM they host some of Dunedin's top acoustic musical talent with fantastic Central Otago wines and locally brewed ales available.
  • 4 Modaks, 337-339 George Street. A popular cafe on the north of central George St.
  • 5 Pasha Cafe and Bar, 31 St. Andrew St, ☏ +64 3 477 7181. Offers doner kebabs from $11. Popular with locals lunch spot noon-3PM, prices are higher for dinner.
  • 6 Rhubarb, 299 Highgate, Roslyn, ☏ +64 3 477-2555. M–Th 7AM-6PM, F 7AM-7PM, Sa 8AM-6PM, Su 8:30AM-4:30PM. Licensed cafe and wine shop with a strong focus on homemade quality baking
  • 7 Satay Noodle House, Hanover St 16 (opposite the Hannah's Meridian entrance). Has good Cambodian and Thai food at cheap prices ~$7.
  • 8 Savoury Japan, 324 George St, ☏ +64 3 479-2079. M-Th 10:30AM-8PM, F-Su 10:30AM-8:30PM. Cheap sushi and Asian dishes.

Mid-range

  • 9 Etrusco at the Savoy, 8 Moray Pl, ☏ +64 3 477-3737. Great Italian meals ranging between $10-25. This restaurant has its fair share of long time returning locals and will definitely satisfy your need for a decent meal without having to stroll too far from the centre of town.
  • 10 Harry's Kitchen, 358 George St, ☏ +64 3 477-0123. 11AM-8PM. Cozy little student favourite with authentic Japanese and Korean dishes. They offer good size potions of tasty fried chicken, pork ramen and chashu. Expect to pay a reasonably priced $15 for a dish.
  • 11 Jizo, 56 Princes St, ☏ +64 3 479-2692. Japanese restaurant. If you want to be impressed, then order one of the Katsu dishes. Deluxe Katsu is good as is the Chicken Katsu. Damn good sushi to boot.
  • 12 Zucchini Bros, 286 Princes St, ☏ +64 3 477-9373. Fantastic pizza & pasta from the Bros. Lovely staff and the menu is tried and true. Get a no.20 pizza, and the Chicken & mushroom pasta is hard to beat. Serving Emersons and Green Man beer. These guys deliver also.

Splurge

  • 13 Number 7 Balmac, 7 Balmacewen Rd, ☏ +64 3 464-0064. Maori Hill neighbourhood restaurant specialising in Modern NZ Cuisine
  • 14 Plato Cafe, 2 Birch St, ☏ +64 3 477-4235. One of the best places for fresh seafood.
  • 15 Bacchus Wine Bar, Level 1/12 The Octagon, ☏ +64 3 474-0824. Great place for food and wine, pre- or after dinner show.
  • 16 Scotia, 199 Upper Stuart St, ☏ +64 3 477-7704. Scottish influenced New Zealand food including a whiskey bar.

Self-catering

  • 17 Countdown Supermarket, 309 Cumberland Street (Moray Place (about a 2-min walk from the Octagon)). Standard supermarket fare, open 24 hours.
  • 18 New World Supermarket, 133 Great King St.. daily 7:30AM-10PM. Large supermarket. New World also have a 19 smaller supermarket near the Botanic Gardens at 6 North Road which closes at 9PM.

Drink

Dunedin is known for its vibrant nightlife, mainly stemming from its large student population. It is also home to some well known beer breweries, Speights, Emersons and to a lesser extent Green Man. There is also a strong coffee culture with a number of good cafes.

Coffee

  • 1 Strictly Coffee, 23 Bath St. Has been on the Dunedin coffee scene for 15 years and roasts its own coffee locally. One of its 3 cafes is on Bath St (off Lower Stuart).
  • 2 Nova, 29 The Octagon. Nova in the Octagon next to the art gallery has won best cafe in Dunedin for a number of years.
  • 3 Mazagran Espresso, 36 Moray Place. Mazagran Espresso on Moray place also roasts its own coffee and is thought of by many as the best coffee in Dunedin.
  • 4 The Fix, 15 Frederick Street. They make quality mochaccinos and are often visited by the doctors, and students in the medical sciences.

Local beer

Speights was founded in Dunedin in 1876 and is now a national brand associated with Dunedin and the southern region of New Zealand. It is still brewed at the Dunedin location and brewery tours are available. The Speights brewery also makes Speight's Old Dark, and the Speights Craft Range of beer.

Emerson's Brewery Limited is a microbrewery in Dunedin, New Zealand established in 1993. It has shifted into a new and much bigger brewery facility and offers brewery tours. It has won numerous Australian and New Zealand awards and it is well appreciated by locals. Good places to find it on tap include Albar on Lower Stuart street and Tonic on Princess street, or the Emersons Taproom and Brewery on Anzac Avenue (near the stadium), where you can fill your own riggers if you like (plastic 1.25 L bottles).

Bars

The majority of the bars are located in and around the Octagon and Lower Stuart Street, with a few popular student bars in North Dunedin. There is a strip of bars along the east side of the Octagon with tables outside, which all fill up when the weather allows. A jug of ale costs about $10.

  • 5 Albar, 135 Stuart Street. Beer bar on Lower Stuart street with a great ambiance and selection of craft beers.
  • 6 Captain Cook, 354 Great King Street. World famous in New Zealand, the last of the famous student bars of north Dunedin after the closing of Gardies and the Bowler. It was closed for a few years but has now re-opened, looking far more upmarket than it did in its heydays. Gastro pub vibe with dinners, cozy booths and its own beers on tap.
  • 7 Carousel, 141 Stuart Street. Upmarket bar upstairs on Lower Stuart St near the Octagon, with a great deck.
  • 8 Emersons Taproom and Restaurant, 70 Anzac Avenue. Brewery bar and restaurant opened in 2016, showcasing the famous beers and the ever changing range of seasonal releases.
  • 9 Pequeno, 50 Princes Street. Hard to find upmarket lounge bar, down the alley next to Del Sol on Moray Place.
  • 10 Pop, 14 The Octagon. Underground cocktail bar in the Octagon next to Macs Brew Bar, often with DJs.
  • 11 Speights Ale House, 200 Rattray Street. Restaurant/bar attached to the brewery.
  • 12 Stuart Street Brew Bar, 12 The Octagon. Popular Dunedin representative of a chain of bars on the corner in the Octagon.

Sleep

Dunedin has a wide range of places to stay in, from hostels to upmarket hotels. Most accommodation is close to the city centre, though some spots offer a challenging uphill stroll back from town. Most motels are located at the northern end of George Street, close to the university.

Budget

  • 1 Arden Street House, 36 Arden St, ☏ +64 3 473-8860. B&B, homestay and en suite. 20 min walk to the Octagon. $45-130.
  • 2 Central Backpackers Dunedin, 243 Moray Pl, ☏ +64 3 477-9985, toll-free: 0800 4 2368725. In the heart of the city, 1 minute from the Octagon.
  • 3 Chalet Backpackers, 296 High St, ☏ +64 3 479-2075, toll-free: 0800 242 538. 10-min walk to the Octagon. Beds, not bunks - and no more than 5 people in the largest room.
  • 4 Pavlova Palace Backpackers, 74 Elm Row (5 minutes walk uphill from the Octagon), ☏ +64 3 477 4728, toll-free: 0508 728 5682. Limited parking is found on the street. beds from $25, rooms from $58.
  • 5 Hogwartz Backpackers, 277 Rattray St, ☏ +64 3 474-1487. 5-minute walk from the Octagon. Maximum 4 share room, no bunks.
  • 6 Leviathan Heritage Hotel and Downtown Dunedin Backpackers, 27 Queens Gardens, ☏ +64 3 477 3160, toll-free: 0800 773 773. 2+minute walk to the Octagon. Practically next door to a 24x7 Countdown supermarket and the railway station.
  • 7 Manor House Backpackers, 28 Manor Pl, ☏ +64 800 477 0484. Set in 2 colonial homes and surrounded with beautiful gardens there is nowhere more pleasant to stay in Dunedin. 10min walk to the octagon. From $22.
  • 8 On Top Backpackers, Filleul St near The Octagon and Moray St, ☏ +64 3 477-6121, fax: +64 3 477 6141. Small dorms, good clean facilities, good staff, good attitude, right next to the Octagon and two blocks from a 24/7 Countdown supermarket. Built over a pool hall and bar; one minute from most facilities including cinema, library, information centre, banks, food etc. 24/7 swipe-card access. dorm bed from $27.
  • 9 Geeky Gecko Backpackers, 6 Stafford St, ☏ +64 3 477-6027, fax: +64 3 477-6037. Close to The Octagon and nightlife, free Internet & DVDs, local phone, pickups, on-street parking. Female-only dorm. Renovated historical Dunedin hotel. Dorms from $28.
  • 10 Kiwis Nest, 597 George Street. Pleasant backpackers near the Botanic Gardens. beds from $28, rooms from $44.

Mid-range

  • 11 Hilltop on High Street, 433 High St, ☏ +64 3 477 1053. Offers en suite and B&B. $125-295.
  • 12 Magnolia House Non-Smoking Bed and Breakfast, 18 Grendon, Maori Hill (20 min walk to Octagon), ☏ +64 3 467 5999. Beautiful old Victorian villa set in gardens. $120 double, $100 single.
  • 13 Dunedin Leisure Lodge, 30 Duke Street, North Dunedin (Opposite the Botanical Gardens.), ☏ +64 3 477 5360, ✉ reservations@dunedinleisurelodge.co.nz. Offers hotel rooms & suites, all with either a balcony or patio area, free parking. Short walk to the CBD. Restaurant & bar on premises. $119-190.

Splurge

  • 14 858 George Street Motels, 858 George St, ☏ +64 3 474-0047, fax: +64 3 474-0903. Motel complex within walking distance of Otago University, Polytechnic, Dunedin Hospital $130-280.
  • 15 Boutique Bed and Breakfast, 107 Jefferis Road, ☏ +64 3 465 7239. 2 R. D Waikouaiti. Historic Bed and breakfast with remodelled suites set in the peaceful countryside 30 min north of Dunedin. $150.
  • 16 Fletcher Lodge, 276 High St, ☏ +64 3 477 5552, toll-free: 0800 843563, fax: +64 3 474 5551. Bed and breakfast with beautiful suites. $175-550.

Serviced apartments

  • 17 Quest Apartments Dunedin, 333 Cumberland St, ☏ +64 3 470-1725. A 40-room serviced apartment complex in Central Business District.

Camping

  • 18 Leith Valley Holiday Park, 103 Malvern Street, ☏ +64 3-467 9936. Within decent walking range of the CBD and close to the Botanical Gardens and the Otago Museum. It has all the normal holiday park facilities including showers, kitchen, and internet access. Although it caters mostly to camper vans and motor homes, campers with bikes and tents do stay there.

Stay safe

The city is quite safe, but try to walk in a group on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. People can get excessively inebriated and occasionally look to cause trouble. Exercise the same caution and common sense that you would in any other western city. The police station is in Great King Street, next to Countdown, the supermarket.

Connect

Dunedin Public Library has free Internet terminals and Wi-Fi. Free Wi-Fi is also available in the Octagon.

Otherwise, Internet access is available at various cafes for a fee.

Cope

  • 6 Albany Street Centre, 28 Albany St, ☏ +64 3 479-2169. M-Th 9AM-5PM. Professional counselling services.
  • 9 Octagon Amcal Pharmacy, 2 George St (at the corner of the Octagon and George St), ☏ +64 3 477-1289, toll-free: 0800 2752625, fax: +64 3 477-1283. M-F 8:30AM-5:30PM, Sa 10AM-5PM. Closed 25 Dec, 1 Jan, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday.

Consulates

  • Fiji, 108 Cannington Road, Maori Hill, ☏ +64 3 464-0406, fax: +64 3 464-0450, ✉ rhatherly@xtra.co.nz. Mr Richard Hatherly, Honorary Consul.
  • Finland, c/o University of Otago, Union Court – Rm G22, Union Place, ☏ +64 3 479-7719.
  • France, 28 Antrim Street, Normanby, ☏ +64 3 473-8624, fax: +64 3 473-8624, ✉ christiane.leurquin@gmail.com. Dr Christiane Leurquin, Honorary Consul.
  • Italy, 230 Forbury Rd, St Clair, ☏ +64 3 455-8631, +64 3 477-3123 (Additional contact), fax: +64 3 477-5970, ✉ sergio@londonst.co.nz. Dr Sergio Gian Salis, Honorary Consular Agent.

Go next

  • Christchurch, 5 hr north
  • Wanaka and Queenstown, 4 hr inland via Alexandra and Cromwell
  • Invercargill, for Bluff oysters, 2.5 hr south via Gore and Mataura
  • Oamaru, 1 hr 45 min north
  • Blueskin Bay, 30 min north



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