- Start the day off at the fascinating Otago Museum, which has much to explore for adults and children alike. Make a beeline for the impressive Tuhura Southern Community Trust Science Centre which features all manner of interactive activities and displays for kids of all ages including a thrilling double helix slide. After you’ve finished channelling your inner Newton or Einstein, follow the signs to the Discovery World Tropical Forest to frolic amongst 1000 beautiful live butterflies. For galactic enthusiasts the Perpetual Guardian Planetarium is a must do. Go on a journey through the stars or get close to flying dinosaurs in this 360° immersive dome theatre.
- Grab some lunch at the museum café before heading back towards the central city.
- Check out the Dunedin Railway Station aka the Gingerbread House before hopping aboard one of the Dunedin Railways train excursions – the Waitati Seasider for jaw-dropping coastal views or the longer Taieri Gorge Excursion featuring stunning vistas, viaducts, tunnels and more! Refreshments available on board or you can take your own snacks. Bookings for a family of four receive one complimentary child’s ticket and special offers are available over the winter months.
- Catch an early dinner at Cobb & Co. located in the railway station, a classic family restaurant with excellent facilities and menu options especially for the kids.
- Start the day with the Baldwin Street challenge, walk to the top of the world’s steepest street and make sure to get the photographic evidence!
- Pick up lunch supplies from Beam Me Up Bagels before stopping in at the Dunedin Botanic Gardens. A wonderful place for kids and adults alike, explore the hidden reaches and discovery the aviary on the hill, feed the ducks with the free food supplied at the visitors centre, warm up in the Edwardian era Winter Garden or stroll amongst the lush year-round greenery. The Croque-o-dile café is another family friendly refreshment spot, conveniently located within the gardens.
- Take a walk on the wild side in the afternoon with a trip down the Otago Peninsula to check out the wild inhabitants that call it home. There are multiple options for guided tours in the area depending on your interests. The Royal Albatross Centre at Taiaroa Head is a great one-stop shop to view fluffy young Albatross chicks, war-time tunnels, lookouts and a full-scale disappearing gun as well as the adorable Little Blue Penguins as they waddle in from a day at sea. Alternatively, an afternoon wildlife cruises aboard the Monarch provides a unique viewpoint to take in the residents of the harbour and headland.
- Make your way back to town as the sun sets over the harbour and detour to the St Clair Esplanade for a casual dinner overlooking the sea.
- Wander down to the Warehouse Precinct with a Dunedin Street Art Trail map in hand, to discover all manner of colourful and quirky artworks that have transformed the city into a giant canvas.
- Make a pit-stop at one of the many funky cafes in the area for a cinnamon scroll or legendary cheese roll – a local favourite and sure-fire hit with the kids.
- Chocolate-lovers should seek out Ocho on Vogel Street, for locally-made artisan chocolate bars, hot chocolates and generally all things relating to the cacao-bean.
- A quick stroll past the Chinese Gardens will lead to Toitu Otago Settlers Museum. A museum, but not as you know it, complete with olden-day dress-ups, trolleybuses and vintage caravans, the interactive exhibits include a recreated settler’s house, ships cabin and full-scale steam locomotive engine. A fascinating insight into the conditions faced by many in the early years of the Dunedin settlement.
- Refuel with traditional fish and chips at the iconic Best Café on Lower Stuart Street
- Set aside the afternoon for visiting New Zealand’s only castle – Larnach Castle on the top of the Otago Peninsula. Kids will love roaming the extensive gardens spotting characters from Alice and Wonderland hidden in amongst the trees, exploring the maze of rooms furnished with Victorian fixtures and scanning the horizon from the turret!