Dunedin > Introduction to Dunedin

Introduction to Dunedin

University of Otago A thriving city of Scottish heritage, Dunedin possesses a combination of cultural riches, fine architecture and natural wonders, blended with a special feeling of vitality created by the residents of this unique city. Situated on the south-east cost of New Zealand's South Island, Dunedin has a population of around 124,000. It is the main business centre for the region of Otago, an area long recognised for its spectacular scenery, colourful history and the character of it's people.

Dunedin's dramatic bush-covered hills form the basin of a long, natural harbour, which attracted Maori settlers to the site over four centuries ago. In 1848, Scottish migrants established a town here, giving it the ancient Gaelic name of Edinburgh. Thirteen years later gold was discovered about 120 kilometres inland, in Central Otago and the small settlement of Dunedin became the commercial centre of the nation.

From this gold rush wealth sprang an array of wonderful architecture. Soaring cathedral spires, a magnificent Flemish Renaissance-style railway station, fine banks and civic buildings, a nineteenth-century castle, heritage university buildings and a neo-gothic convent are among the city's architectural treasures.

The Dunedin Public Art Gallery, the Otago Museum, the Hocken Library and the Otago Settlers Museum contain some of the best collections in New Zealand. Dunedin's 'living' heritage is also second to none, with such fine examples as Olveston and Larnach Castle.

An eclectic mix of writers, poets, crafts people and artists add vibrancy and colour to the city.

People of all ages enjoy a wide array of sporting pastimes, from sailing on the Otago Harbour to Rugby Union at Carisbrook. For those looking for something a little different the city heart contains numerous boutique shops, department stores and galleries. Relax with a coffee at any of the unique cafes lining the main street and watch the world go by!

Also found within the city boundaries are internationally renowned wildlife reserves, including the only mainland Royal Albatross breeding colony in the world and the shy Yellow-eyed Penguins at home in their coastal colonies.

This is a city of many parts, a city that is different, that is exciting and intriguing. Picture this. Picture Dunedin.

Natural Wonders

Yellow-Eyed Penguin Easy access to a landscape so diverse that it encompasses green valleys, wide, open plains, fast flowing rivers, surf beaches, sheltered bays, bush covered hills, rolling oceans and steep mountain ranges is a claim that Dunedin can justifiably make.

On the spectacular Otago Peninsula, that stretches east along the southern edge of the Otago Harbour are several internationally renowned wildlife reserves. Here, some of the world's rarest wildlife can be viewed all year round in the natural habitats.

At the tip of the Otago Peninsula is Taiaroa Head, about forty minutes from the city centre, where the magnificent Royal Albatross, the huge sea bird of mythology, soars above the rugged cliffs.

Nearby are colonies of the world's shyest penguin, the Yellow-eyed penguin, sharing secluded beaches with the New Zealand Fur Seals. Nesting grounds of other birds, including the White-fronted Tern, the Blue Penguin and many species of Cormorants are nearby. The rare Stewart Island Cormorant can also be seen in this area.

For the ultimate experience, the Monarch offers daily cruises all year round. This wooden ship of character and charm will enable you to 'become one with nature'. It allows an excellent view of the royal albatrosses, seals, penguins, cormorants and waders while the views of the spectacular Dunedin harbour are inspirational. No other place in the world will allow you to see the remarkable albatross breeding, for our mainland only, has been given this privilege.

Unspoiled natural habitats can be viewed on land, with the opportunity to take a professionally guided tour or can be seen cruising on the Otago Harbour. Organised harbour cruises offer excellent viewing of this marine habitat, as well as sightings of albatross, fur seals and nesting birds.

Once you have exhausted all avenues for viewing our wonderful wildlife you may choose to explore some of the city's gorgeous gardens. Within the city boundaries are numerous noteworthy gardens, from the formally laid out annual colour displays of the Railway Station gardens, to the delightful private gardens owned by local residents.

En route to Macandrew Bay is Glenfalloch Woodland Gardens. Nestled amongst 30 acres of paradise it features rhododendrons, azaleas, magnolias and fuschias. The historical Homestead offers intimate evening dining while the café and wine bar offers exceptional dining throughout the day.

Along the way you will encounter many settlements, a few shops and cafes along with several craft stores including the popular studio which specialises in handcrafted ceramic hens, appropriately named Happy Hens.

Dunedin Citibus Newton can offer you exceptional guided tours in and around the city. Tours depart daily and there are several to choose from. These include wildlife expeditions, scenic Dunedin and Larnach Castle. Travel aboard the double decker bus or by coach.

Vantage Points and Walkways

Dunedin is a walkers paradise, with over 150 documented walks in and around the city. From the charm of the town belt through to the historic staircases, there is something to suit all tastes, interests and fitness levels. The rugged hills, stone walls, secluded beaches, tidal inlets and volcanic landforms of the Otago Peninsula offer a wealth of interesting walkways. Many of these cross privately owned farmlands, so we ask for your care and attention when opening and shutting gates etc. Overlooking the city Mount Cargill, Flagstaff and Signal Hill are popular lookout points. The walk from Bethunes Gully up Mount Cargill takes in the opportunity to side track to The Organ Pipes, a striking stratified basalt column formation. Walkways and tracks are well sign posted, while further information can be found at the Dunedin Visitor Centre, in the Octagon.

Flagstaff Walk
One hour return. Tussock and sub-alpine vegetation on the edge of the city centre. Access of Whare Flat Road. Good views of the city, harbour and peninsula.

Unity Park
Located near the top of High Street, with splendid views down the harbour. The bronze bust of Rear-Admiral Richard Byrd (1888-1957) recalls the first sea-air exploration of the Antarctic.

The Organ Pipes and Chasm
One hour return from Mt Cargill Road, or three hour return from Bethunes Gully, North East Valley. One of several spectacular geological features from Dunedin's only volcanic history. Symmetrical rock columns and views north.

Mount Cargill
Access to Mt Cargill, north of the city is via road or alternatively by walking track from Bethunes Gully. Wonderful views of the harbour, peninsula, city and almost half of the Otago coastline.

Bracken's View
Alongside Northern Cemetery (Lovelock Avenue), it overlooks North Dunedin and the Tertiary Campus. The lookout commemorates poet Thomas Bracken, who is buried nearby. Bracken wrote the words of our national anthem.

Signal Hill
At the summit of Signal Hill scenic reserve is a lookout and a monument comprising two large bronze statues that commemorate 100 years of British sovereignty (1840 - 1940). Dunedin's Scottish ties are recognised by the fact that a piece of rock from Edinburgh Castle is incorporated into the lookout.

The Otago Peninsula
Features scenic coastal walkways. Enquire at the Dunedin Visitor Centre.

Rotary Park
Off Highcliff Road as you drive onto the Otago Peninsula, this stop provides an overview of the harbour, city, surrounding hills and looking north-east to Taiaroa Head.

Lovers Leap and the Chasm
A track from the Sandymount Hill across farmland leads to viewing areas where sheer cliffs drop 200m to the sea below. Spectacular natural features include the volcanic ash, lava flows and columnar basalt layers in the rock face. Closed annually August-October.

Architectural Wealth

THE OLVESTON EXPERIENCE
Dunedin is a city that possesses a rich heritage and offers the visitor a wealth of Victorian and Edwardian architecture. It is notable also for its museums and galleries, a beautiful harbour and headland that is home to a variety of wildlife. This atmosphere helps the visitor appreciate what it would have been like to live in the rich surroundings at a time when Dunedin was the bustling financial capital of New Zealand.

Olveston was built in this era of prosperity and was designed to be a grand house built at a time when the colony was coming of age. The busy port and the success of the financial and mercantile world in the city made Dunedin an exciting place to be. Designed for David Theomin by London architect, Sir Ernest George, (1839-1922), and built between 1904 and 1906, the Jacobean-style grace and grandeur of Olveston sets it apart as one of New Zealand's grandest homes.

All thirty-five rooms at Olveston tell a story of a gracious age. The home is sited in the inner city on an acre of manicured gardens nestled within the protected native bush belt that runs along the western hills that rise above the city centre. Olveston is within walking distance from the Octagon and main shopping city precinct.

Olveston reveals elaborate fixtures, fittings and furnishings. The architect's attention to detail and the workmanship and quality of materials used in the house's construction make it an outstanding example of is Sir Ernest George's design. This is complemented by the fact that it is the only example of this architect's work in the southern hemisphere.

David Theomin was a very successful businessman and he and his family travelled extensively. He collected many irreplaceable objects and treasures on his journeys to display in his home . The collections reflect David Theomin's interest in many cultures and particularly in the decorative arts from East Asia. Some 240 paintings and graphics grace the rooms and record many of the visits made to European countries. Olveston has only ever had one family in residence. Miss Dorothy Theomin, the sole surviving member of the family, died in 1966 and the property, complete with all its contents, was passed into the care of the city of Dunedin.

Since 1967 when Olveston was opened to the public it has given many visitors a glimpse of a life-style long gone, opening a significant time capsule. Originality is Olveston's hallmark. Olveston today reflects the life-style of the Theomin family and their servants around the time of the Great War. Many of the antiques seen today are items that were used in everyday life by the household when the family was in residence.

In material terms, as Olveston grows older, it grows infinitely more valuable. What is possibly not so clearly understood is that in historic terms, it is already priceless. Olveston could never be recreated. The Theomin Gallery Trust is responsible for the operation of the historic house and takes meticulous care over its preservation and presentation. Strict conservation protocols are followed to ensure the originality of material and design is not lost over time. A visit to Olveston is not just a visit to another old house; it is a unique experience in New Zealand.

Six guided tours per day are conducted through the thirty-five room mansion at 9.30am, 10.45am, 12 midday, 1.30pm, 2.45pm & 4.00pm.
For tour groups a timetable to suit is able to be accommodated, evenings included.
Hours: Olveston is open seven days but is closed on Christmas day.
Telephone +64 3 4773 320
Fax: +64 3 479 2094
Email: olveston@xtra.co.nz


A walk in the garden and a tour of the conservatory is encouraged and allows the visitor to enjoy the many external views of the home. The original family 1922 Fiat 510 Tourer is able to be seen in the garage.
The Olveston gift shop is a special experience for the purchase of small gifts and collectables.
Enjoy Olveston for it is a rare treasure that must never be lost.

The splendor of many of its public buildings reflects Dunedin's economic and cultural pre-eminence in Victorian New Zealand. Today Dunedin has a rightly deserved reputation as one of the best preserved Victorian and Edwardian cities in the Southern Hemisphere.

Mansions of fine brickwork, gorgeous examples of Art Deco and century old homes abound. Each section of the city has its own character and is worth exploring, from the 1860's Oamaru stone buildings of Port Chalmers to the imposing form of Larnach Castle situated on the Otago Peninsula. A drive around the city streets will provide a glimpse into lovely private homes sheltered by the town belt above the city centre.

Architecturally outstanding is the massive stone Flemish Renaissance-style Railway Station, built in 1904 - 1906. Over the years it has been restored to its former glory and now is home to various commercial operations, including the Taieri Gorge Railway.

The University of Otago's clock-tower building, Otago Boy's High School, First Church and St Dominic's Priory are outstanding examples of the gothic Revival style. The magnificent entrance steps to St Paul's Cathedral in the Octagon are reminiscent of the old cathedrals of Europe, as are the imposing elevations of St Joseph's Cathedral.

History is also very much in evidence close to Taiaroa Head. The Centennial Memorial Church at Otakou Marae was built to commemorate the arrival of Christian missions in the South Island.

High up among the rolling hills of the Peninsula is Larnach Castle, the grand home of an early politician. Construction of the castle began in 1871 and was completed five years later. Larnach Castle and it's historic-style garden can be reached via Highcliff Road along the Peninsula's ridge. From here, views out to sea and back towards the city emphasise the singular beauty of Dunedin and it's jewel-like harbour.

Whether you take a twenty minute walk around the city centre or drive down the Otago Peninsula, you will find a wealth of architectural styles that give a lasting impression of what a wonderful city Dunedin is.

Living Heritage

Taieri Gorge Railway Dunedin is steeped in living heritage, drawn from the various stages of the region's history. Scottish settlers brought many of their traditions with them, the sound of bagpipes heralds the traditional haggis ceremony where the poetry of Robbie Burns is recited. During March the city celebrates its founders origins during Scottish Week.

One historic way to see the dramatic landscape surrounding Dunedin and experience a bygone era is by taking an excursion on the Taieri Gorge Railway. The train runs from the city's Railway Station through the Taieri Plains, up into the rugged countryside of the ranges. It passes over impressive Victorian viaducts crossing steep ravines and through numerous turn of the century tunnels hewn out of the mountains. A fascinating trip, with much of this area not readily accessible by road.

History of another kind can be viewed on a Speights Brewery Tour. This 'working museum' shows 100 years of brewing history, while taste testing of the final product is part of the Dunedin way of life.

The Otago Settlers Museum is a must for those wishing to explore the social history of this region. Displays highlighting indigenous people, the Colonial era and present day life combine to form a fascinating tapestry of life in Dunedin and Otago.

Whichever way you turn, Dunedin and it's living heritage will fascinate and inform you in a most enjoyable manner. 

Otago Museum


Winner of the best Cultural and Heritage Tourist Attraction in the New Zealand Tourism Awards 2004, Otago Museum is the place not to miss!

Begin your journey in Southern New Zealand at the outstanding Otago Museum and experience the richness and vibrancy of our region through stunning collections covering culture, nature and science.

Discover the treasures and special stories of the south when you visit the Southern Land, Southern People Gallery. Experience a region of superlatives and extremes... driest, wettest, coldest, highest, windiest, wildest, most remote.

Southern Land, Southern People explains the origins of our demanding landscape and environment, how people discovered and explored it, how they utilised its natural resources, and how its challenging nature rubbed off on the people in the form of 'southern character'.

Southern Land, Southern People is a true celebration of the southern soul!

Admission to Southern Land, Southern People is covered by your Museum entry donation. Guided tours are available daily at 3:30pm and are only $10 per person - or FREE to Otago residents bringing visitors.


Hours: Open 7 days, 10am - 5pm, closed Christmas Day.
Address: 419 Great King Street
Dunedin.
Phone: +64 3 474 7474
Website: www.otagomuseum.govt.nz

WINNER 2004 QUALMARK TOURISM MARK OF QUALITY AWARD


SOUTHERN LAND, SOUTHERN PEOPLE
A landmark gallery for the Otago Museum

Southern Land, Southern People is the landmark gallery of the Otago Museum. It portrays the uniqueness, diversity and dynamic character of the region to local communities. For visitors from afar it serves as a gateway to Southern New Zealand.

With a floor area of almost 1,200m2, Southern Land, Southern People is the largest long term gallery project ever undertaken by the Otago Museum. Space for it was created by the redevelopment of the Museum in recent years. Through its expansive vision, modern exhibition techniques, stunning audio visual media, and above all, its outstanding collection items, the new gallery integrates the region’s natural history and human history with style – informative, innovative and entertaining style. It is a celebration of the many wonders of Southern New Zealand. It opens eyes, awakens curiosity.

New Zealand south of the Waitaki catchment is the gallery’s region of focus but there is an emphasis on Otago stories. Here is a region of superlatives and extremes … driest, wettest, coldest, highest, windiest, wildest, most remote. The gallery explains the origins of this challenging landscape and environment, how people discovered and explored it, how they utilised its natural resources, and how its challenging nature rubbed off on the people in the form of ‘southern character’.

Southern Land
The themes include climate, geology and a history of life in Southern New Zealand as told through the fossil record. The climate story illustrates the influence of ocean currents and the globe-encircling West Wind Drift on Southern New Zealand’s weather patterns. Nearby, an area dedicated to southern geology covers elements such as the Dunedin Volcano, Alpine Fault (when is the next big rupture likely to occur?), and the origins of schist, gold and greenstone.

Flowing on from the geology exhibits, a unique collection of fossils describe the history of life in Southern New Zealand, starting with the earliest fossils (around 500 million years old) and working forward in time. There are two streams to this story – marine and terrestrial. The marine side reveals a saga of world significance, excavated from North Otago limestone – the evolution of whales, dolphins and penguins in the Southwest Pacific. Highlights on the terrestrial side include the presence of a Jurassic forest in the Catlins and the development less than 20 million years ago of an Everglades-like wetland environment, complete with crocodiles, in what is now Central Otago.

Supported by fossils drawn mainly from the collection at the University of Otago Geology Department and a series of commissioned reconstruction paintings, this history-of-life theme will amaze visitors. Alongside it are exhibits demonstrating the impacts of island isolation and the evolution of large size and flightlessness among New Zealand’s birds. The world’s most complete collections of moa skeletons is on display here, together with the subfossil remains of eagle, adzebill and other extinct fauna.

Southern People
The themes begin with discovery, exploration and survival in the last habitable landmass discovered by humans. To survive in Southern New Zealand, people had to cope with a challenging climate and landscape, both highly variable. Richly illustrated panels and a superb array of objects illustrate early Maori lifestyles and the experience of the Europeans who followed, making maps and portraying the land through paintings and photography. The use of natural resources is a major theme. Resources of grass and gold dominated the early period of European settlement following exploitation of fur seals and flax. Sheep farmers were followed by waves of gold miners. Then came more intensive agriculture and the utilisation of resources such as clay and coal. Big rivers, formidable mountains and jungle-like rainforest were among the physical challenges. Frontiers continue to unfold. Adventure tourism probes the limits of recreation, and wild places challenge eco-tourists. Throughout the gallery there is an evocation of southern character.

Landmarks
Visitors to the gallery are greeted by a semi-circle of 10 ‘landmarks’ that highlight the main journeys within the Gallery. Among them the weathered totara fenceposts representing pastoralism and rangeland resources, a mounted takahe to illustrate flightlessness in a paradise for birds, and a wind-blasted rock or ventifact to demonstrate the power of the ‘Roaring Forties’ winds. The ceiling near the entrance portrays two spectacular phenomena of southern skies – the Southern Cross and Aurora Australis, the Southern Lights. A superb gallery, collection and scholarship rich, Southern Land, Southern People is one of New Zealand’s premiere museum experiences!

Don’t leave Dunedin without a visit to Southern Land, Southern People - a true celebration of the southern soul!

Entry to Southern Land, Southern People is covered by the Museum entry donation.
GUIDED TOURS AVAILABLE DAILY AT 3.30PM.
$10 per person (Free to Otago residents bringing visitors).

AN OTAGO SEA SERPENT
The Shag Point Plesiosaur, New Zealand’s largest fossil is now on display in the Southern Land, Southern People Gallery at the renowned Otago Museum, Dunedin.

Plesiosaurs or sea serpents inhabited many parts of the world, including Southern New Zealand. The best known of the world’s extinct marine reptiles, they lived through the Jurassic (145-205 million years ago) and Cretaceous periods (65-145 million years ago) and they died out with the dinosaurs. Equipped with four large paddle limbs, plesiosaurs were good swimmers. They apparently hunted by lunging at shoals of fish or squid. Large eye sockets suggest strong vision for feeding at dim depths.

Shag Point Discovery

In 1983, an outstanding plesiosaur fossil was recovered from a large boulder on an intertidal rock platform at Shag Point, East Otago. It was a sensational find in terms of size, completeness and rarity. At eight metres long, it is New Zealand’s largest fossil.

It is also a New Zealand ‘first’ – a new species in the family Cryptoclididae. It has relatives in other parts of the world but most of the Northern Hemisphere cryptoclidids are of Jurassic age, much older. In 2002, the Shag Point plesiosaur was formally described and named Kaiwhekea katiki – a Maori name referring to its presumed habit of preying on giant squid (wheke) and its discovery close to Katiki Beach. Its teeth were small and fine, consistent with a diet of medium-sized soft-bodied prey like squid.

When this plesiosaur died about 70 million years ago, it settled on its right side on the bed of a sheltered bay or estuary. It was buried in soft sediments that became dark-grey silty sandstone. Gradually it was encased in a large oval concretion formed by the processes that also created the Moeraki boulders. Most of the original skeleton dissolved and disappeared over time, leaving only moulds of the bones.

Missing are parts of front flippers and some of the tail. Were they eaten by sharks? The fossil is presented in the Southern Land, Southern People Gallery more or less in a natural position. When this plesiosaur lived, proto-New Zealand had broken away from the Gondwana margins and was drifting into the Pacific. Climates were probably strongly seasonal.

The plesiosaur is part of the significant geological collections on loan to the Museum for Southern Land, Southern People by the University of Otago.

You can learn more about New Zealand’s largest fossil and the other outstanding exhibits at the Otago Museum by taking a guided tour, daily 3.30pm.


New Zealand : Crocodile Country?
Could it be true that crocodiles once roamed in New Zealand….or is it a croc? The Otago Museum’s new gallery, Southern Land, Southern People exposes some amazing secrets from our past.

About 16 to 18 million years ago, in strange contrast to today’s landscape, low-lying Central Otago harboured a warm lush Everglades-like environment of swamps, lakes, backwaters, sluggish meandering rivers and delta plains.

Lake Manuherikia, as geologists call it, stretched from Tarras to Roxburgh and from the Pisa Range to the Maniototo Plain – an area of about 5,600 sq km. Life abounded here and studies so far have only scratched the surface.

Waterways supported a rich aquatic ecosystem. Fish, freshwater mussels and crayfish lived here. The fish included small galaxiids and larger unidentified fish. There were numerous now-extinct waterfowl, including ducks, geese and swans.

One fossil discovery is sensational – a freshwater crocodile, the first undisputed record of crocodiles occurring in New Zealand. The evidence is a fragment of jawbone, 70mm long and 23mm deep, from sediments in a low cliff near St Bathans, close to the northwest limit of the Lake Manuherikia complex.

The crocodile discovery prompts questions about what may yet be discovered in the Manuherikia Group rocks – reptiles, amphibians, even mammals?

The crocodile evidence is part of the significant geological collections on loan to the Museum for Southern Land, Southern People by the University of Otago.

You can learn more about New Zealand’s largest fossil and the other outstanding exhibits at the Otago Museum by taking a guided tour, daily 3.30pm. Vitality

Dunedin has an eclectic mix of people who call this city home. From the farming families who can trace their ancestry back the Phillip Laing, through to the international mix of 20,000 students who make this city the only true university city in New Zealand, it is the people who make Dunedin the very special place it is. The University of Otago the first established in New Zealand in 1869, is recognised as the country's premier university.

The vibrancy of the city is enhanced by the many artists, performers and crafts people who call Dunedin home. Just ask a local where to find a Happy Hen and they will all point you in the right direction!

At the heart of Dunedin, the bard Robbie Burns ponders the sights from his pedestal outside the Municipal Chambers in the Octagon. He is an appropriate centrepiece as Dunedin has always been home to writers and poets.

Music students from the university hold lunch-time concerts, the Dunedin Sinfonia performs regularly and bands continue to play innovative, original music to appreciative local and international audiences.

Theatre flourishes in Dunedin. The Fortune Theatre, situated above the Octagon, is Dunedin's professional theatre. Works by local playwrights have been taken to New York, London's West End and the Edinburgh Festival. Long established cultural institutions have thrived in this atmosphere - the Dunedin Public Art Gallery in the Octagon holds one of New Zealand's best international art collections.

From cultural offerings to the great outdoors Dunedin offers many choices of recreational pastimes. Whether it's the call of the sea or Rugby songs that stir your blood, Dunedin is able to fulfill many longings.

The number and variety of private gardens available for all year round viewing says something of the passion held by the people who created them and so lovingly tend to them. Viewing these gardens is a real treat, as often the gardener will share insights and personal observations with you. Many of these private and public gardens are featured in the brochure, Focus on Dunedin Gardens, available from the Dunedin Visitor Centre.

The Dunedin Botanic Garden, the first to be established in New Zealand, is an easy stroll from the city centre and a wonderful place to visit. The Rhododendron Dell and the Rock Garden are particularly interesting.

A Dunedin pastime worth special mention is fishing for quinnat salmon, which are caught between November and April in Otago Harbour. The Harbour is also a perfect venue for windsurfing, yachting, canoeing and rowing. Surfing is a popular, all year round pastime and St Clair is amongst the best surfing beaches in New Zealand.

Major sporting events find a home in Dunedin. Carisbrook has hosted many an All Black game, while during summer the sound of cricket ball on bat rings out across the green turf. Blue and gold reign supreme across Otago and Dunedin is a stronghold for local supporters. The Edgar Sports Centre, the largest indoor sporting facility in the Southern Hemisphere, is located on Portsmouth Drive. It offers a huge variety of sports. It has 18 tennis courts and an indoor golf driving range. Casuals are welcome and equipment is available for hire.

Dunedin's streets are also alive with colour and activity. From the Octagon, the recognised city centre, George, Princes and Stuart Streets contain a lively mix of cafes, bars, restaurants, boutiques, shops and service providers.

Outdoor entertainment is often enjoyed in the Octagon, while people watching from the comfort of one of the nearby cafes is a must. A range of venues to suit all tastes and budgets can be found in Dunedin. Activity, excitement and vitality abound! Go out and enjoy yourself.

Day Trip Itineraries

The countryside around Dunedin is the perfect compliment for the metropolitan centre. It also happens to be incorporated within the city of Dunedin boundaries, which makes Dunedin New Zealand's largest city in land area.

Inland
The lush Taieri Plains lie south-west of Dunedin with the bustling town of Mosgiel at their heart. From the foothills that hug the western side of the plains, State Highway 87 winds up to the Rock and Pillar Range, through Middlemarch, the start/finish point of the Otago Central Rail Trail. This town is notable for its many sun-dried brick and stone buildings. Then it is on to the Maniototo.

Another route leads from Outram via a narrow winding road to Lake Mahinerangi, a beautiful purpose built lake created for hydroelectric power generation.

South
For beaches and white sand, the coast road through Brighton and Taieri Mouth makes an interesting southern day trip with many walkways and picnic areas along the way. The Southern Scenic Route begins in Dunedin and follows the coastline down to Balclutha, through to the Catlins and on to Invercargill.

North
On the other side of Dunedin, past the student campus and half way along the northern arm of the Otago Harbour, is the historic town of Port Chalmers. Otago Harbour lies in front as you drive over a gently curved hill into George Street, the town's main street, which is lined with craft stores, potters, cafes and specialist shops. From here, you can continue along the side of the harbour, past Careys Bay to the settlement of Aramoana with its wild rugged beach at the northern head of the harbour.

Alternatively you can take the road high above Port Chalmers, which meanders north around hills and down through farmland to the northern motorway at Waitati and beautiful Blueskin Bay. Some fifteen minutes north of here, on either side of an estuary, are the lovely beach towns of Waikouaiti, in the early 1800's a whaling station, and Karitane, a fishing settlement and long favourite holiday spot for Dunedin residents.

More Information

For further information contact, please contact the Dunedin Visitor Information Centre

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