Often referred to as the Edinburgh of New Zealand, Dunedin our country’s oldest University City, is surrounded by dramatic hills, at the foot of a long picturesque harbour only a short drive from the beautiful Otago Peninsular.
Celebrating the past with its rich history whilst embracing the future with cutting edge design buildings, including New Zealand’s largest indoor events arena, affectionately known as “the glasshouse”, Dunedin surprises; it has something for everyone!
Within the city there’s a plethora of things to entertain. The city’s Public Art Gallery is home to some of the country’s finest collections, showcasing pieces from New Zealand, Britain, Europe and more. A world of modern creativity also awaits outside the expansive exhibition walls. Recently, Dunedin began embracing street art, calling on local and international mural artists to colour the blank-walled canvases in their vicinity—a walk around town is guaranteed to unearth some cool artistic treasures.
The beloved chocolate jaffa race on the world’s steepest street, performances from the city’s competitive Highland Pipe Band, the Midwinter Carnival, quirky attractions to cool artistic showcases and plenty of cheerful community spirit the annual events calendar really does have something for everyone. And while on the subject of ‘Spirit’ true to its Scottish Heritage, the city’s renown whisky production produces some of the best whisky in the world. Beer lovers won’t miss out either, with a visit to the Speights Brewery, the iconic fixture established by James Speight, Charles Greenslade and William Dawson way back in 1876 and is still in operation today. Visitors can take 90-minute guided tours, which cover the history of the local brewing industry and a sampling session. There’s an ale house next door for those who worked up an appetite during the expedition.
The hidden alleyways of the city are home to an eclectic range of restaurants and cuisines; a walk across the Octagon and Esplanade is rewarded by the aroma of freshly roasted coffee beans. Whether you’re on the prowl for vegan dishes or you’re looking for something with a contemporary New Zealand flair, Dunedin’s café and restaurant scene is sure to satisfy all taste buds and cravings. Home to one of the busiest farmers’ markets in Australasia, the Otago Farmers Market livens up the Dunedin Railway Station every Saturday, rain or shine and is definitely worth a visit. Fresh produce, locally produced honey and cheese, preserves, homemade baked goods, and takeaway food stalls with just about every kind of cuisine imaginable attract the droves to this awesome community event. The market runs year-round from 8:00am – 12:30pm.
On the nearby Otago Peninsular, often referred to as New Zealand’s Wildlife Capital and home to the world’s only mainland-breeding albatross colony, take time to visit the Royal Albatross Centre and look out for sea lions, fur seals and rare penguins. Eco-tourism is well accounted for, so much so that renowned environmentalist Sir David Bellamy has been quoted as saying that Dunedin is the finest example of eco-friendliness in the world. Check out the Elms Wildlife Tours one of our Must Do activities for the region.
Dunedin’s skies, on a cold clear night, will also let you in on a very bright secret. The Southern Lights, also known as Aurora Australis, are only visible around some places in Antarctica and, as luck would have it, in certain corners of the South Island. To catch a glimpse of this incredible phenomenon, head to a south-facing beach in Dunedin, such as St Clair beach, Sandfly Bay and Hoopers Inlet.
Local Lux Selected Experiences
Elm Wildlife Tours
A multi award-winning multi-generational family owned and operated business with almost thirty years experience in wildlife conservation this is another of our ‘Must Do’ NZ experiences. Based in Dunedin the Templeton family pride themselves in their conservation work and the superb quality of their sustainable nature and wildlife experiences.
These wildlife tours on the Otago Peninsula provide you an exceptional experience, absolutely unrivalled close-up viewing of rare yellow eyed penguins, Hooker’s sea lions, NZ fur seals and little blue penguins within our restricted wildlife conservation sanctuary, you will also see albatross at the Royal Albatross centre at Taiaroa headland and other wildlife around Otago peninsula bay’s and lagoons. Your enthusiastic and expert guides take you to some of the most spectacular wildlife spots, inaccessible to others, to ensure an absolutely special wildlife experience of a lifetime.
As founder Brian Templeton says:
“One thing remains the same, we are still a small family owned and operated business with a collective vision to share our connection to the land with visitors. We want to protect what we share, and we do this by guiding visitors in their attitudes and behaviours towards how to best experience this place. We show them how we contribute to protect what makes our home so special – just talking about it increases awareness and discussing it in a positive way means it can continue to be enjoyed long into the future”