Dunedin is widely regarded as the best preserved Victorian and Edwardian heritage city in the southern hemisphere. It is also home to some of New Zealand’s top fashion designers and vibrant cafes and bars. The Clock Tower at the University of Otago, New Zealand’s oldest and most pre-eminent University, tolls the hours for the lively students who make up almost a fifth of the city’s population. Dunedin’s distinctive seasons provide year round interest in flora. Gardens in spring are spectacular, particularly those with rhododendrons, azaleas, camelias and bulb varieties. The transition to summer provides a wealth of roses, perennial flower gardens and formal floral schemes.
One aspect that makes Dunedin unique is its Scottish heritage. The city’s Scottish beginning gives it a special flavour which makes it quite different from anywhere else in New Zealand or Australia. Late nineteenth century visitors, like the French political scientist Andre Siegfried, the Irish land radical Michael Davitt and the inimitable Mark Twain, were struck by the city’s Scottish character. Since that time immigration from Scotland has declined to almost nothing, but the Scottish character remains intact. Dunedin is the old Gaelic name for Edinburgh, yet Dunedin is nothing like the Scottish capital except for the street names and the entrancing “Juliet” towers which grace some of the older houses.
Dunedin is hillier, smaller, closer to the sea and has better climate than Edinburgh. Otago Peninsula, is renowned for the world’s only mainland albatross breeding colony at Taiaroa Head and various other ocean bird, seal and penguin species, including one of the world’s rarest, the yellow eyed penguin. The rugged but welcoming hinterland can be accessed via the Taieri Gorge Railway which enables a link to Middlemarch and the Otago Central Rail Trail. Alternatively it scales the cliff tops to provide spectacular views of Port Chalmers and the Pacific Ocean coastline on its Seasider route. Answer the call of the wild and stay a while in Dunedin – much more than a one night stay.
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Dunedin’s Botanic Gardens
New Zealand’s oldest botanic garden, opened in 1869. It remains one of the country’s finest with an extensive rose garden, Japanese garden, bird aviary and the famous rhododendron dell. This is alive with colour and vibrancy during Dunedin’s Rhododendron Festival in November each year.
Discover New Zealand’s only Castle, built 1871 by William Larnach, merchant baron and politician, for his beloved first wife Eliza. 200 workmen spent three years building the Castle shell and master European craftsmen spent a further 12 years embellishing the interior. Larnach spared no expense on his dream home, which features the finest materials from around the world.
Dunedin Railway Station
Dunedin Railway Station was opened in 1906 to cater for the travelling public of, what was at the time, the commercial centre of New Zealand. Its sheer size, grandiose style and rich embellishments, not surprisingly, earned architect Mr George A Troup, the nickname of ‘Gingerbread George’
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- Visit the many beautiful gardens in and around Dunedin
- Visit the Dunedin Railway Station and take a ride on the historical Gorge Railway
- Learn the history of Dunedin at the Settler’s museum
- Enjoy the great Royal Albatross Colony is on the Otago Peninsula at Taiaroa Head.
- Experience the Penguin Place, which is a privately operated reserve for the rare Yellow-eyed Penguins or Hoiho in Maori
- The Speight’s Tour is a fully guided informative and interactive tour through a working brewery and heritage centre
- Take a tour of Dunedin, either self guided or with an informative local, its up to you!
- See Dunedin from the sky in a scenic helicopter flight
- See the world’s steepest street! At its maximum, the slope of Baldwin Street is approximately (19° or 35%) that is, for every 2.86 metres traveled horizontally, the altitude rises by 1 metre
- See the historic First Presbyterian Church, with its magnificent spire rising to 54m, opened for worship in 1873
- The Otago Peninsula, a short drive out of Dunedin is not to be missed. The road hugs the lake before going out towards the sea with stunning dramatic cliffs. You can see penguins and seals further on the route