Dunedin is the wildlife capital of New Zealand due to the amazing number of endangered species in close proximity to the city. The coastal terrain, secluded beaches and bushclad hills are the perfect habitat for several native adorable animals like blue penguins, royal albatross, fur seals and dolphins. Spot these cute creatures from afar in the wild, or if you want to see the animals up close, you can take a specialist wildlife tour.
The variety of dining options in Dunedin will surprise you. The city has an established coffee scene with an array of cafes and has a growing collection of food truck vendors. On Saturdays, head down the Otago Farmers Market beside the railway station to pick up fresh produce, baking and other goods from more than 65 local producers and artisans.
Arts and culture are an essential part of Dunedin, which is a designated UNESCO City of Literature. Throughout the year, ballets, concerts, comedy shows, film festivals and colourful carnivals are on. Forsyth Barr Stadium hosts incredible live music acts, while the Dunedin Railway Station platform transforms into a runway for ID Dunedin Fashion Week. The Otago Museum has unique collections, the largest science centre in the country and the only 3D planetarium in Australasia. Dunedin also has a remarkable street art trail, pick a fine day and go on a street art safari. If you prefer to stay inside, the Dunedin Public Art Gallery is a must-do.
Dunedin has a range of shopping outlets for all budgets. Head to retro rummaging shops and stylish vintage fashion boutiques like Paper Bag Princess, Shop on Carroll, Op Shop on St Andrew, Two Squirrels Vintage Emporium, Finders Keepers, Box of Birds or Save Mart to get something stylish and affordable. For lightly pre-loved label shopping visit Collectibles Revamped, Swaye Boutique and either of the Inside Outs. For international brands head down George St and browse the central city malls.
Fun and games
Who says fun and games are just for children? Dunedin has a number of entertainment activities and game zones for you to fill you days and evenings including bowling, laser tag, mini golf, escape rooms and arcades. There is also a dedicated trampoline park, clip and climb facility and ice stadium, where you can skate or ride ice bumper cars. Several establishments even have regular nights where you can play board games.
Many of the city’s iconic buildings have been preserved to provide a window into Dunedin’s past. The city is home to the country’s oldest university and only historic castle in the country. The amazing Dunedin Railway Station is the most photographed building In New Zealand. A timeline of the history of Dunedin can be viewed for free at Toitu Otago Settlers Museum, which is next door to the beautiful Lan Yuan Dunedin Chinese Garden, which pays homage to the city’s long connection with China.
Feeling a bit homesick? Fill your senses with the smells and flavours of home by trying some of Dunedin’s international eateries. The city has restaurants that offer cuisines from around the world from bubble tea and Syrian saj flatbreads to ramen and pho. If you want to make your own meal from home, the way your family makes it, shop for ingredients from specialist grocers or markets which import authentic products.
Explore Dunedin's amazing natural wonders. From spectacular waterfalls and volcanic formations through to ancient coastlines, you'll need your camera at the ready for these adventures. Discover Ross Creek, a lush bush walk which has a great network of tracks surrounding a reservoir or spend the day trekking down and exploring the boulders and caves of Tunnel Beach. For the best views of the city, take the day and walk to the top of Signal Hill Lookout and see how the city of Dunedin stretches below.
Engage in sport
If your idea of fun includes hiking to get the best views of the city or getting up early to surf the amazing swells at the beach then Dunedin has everything you need. There are downhill tracks for mountain bikers, lagoons for fishers, and the harbour is great for sailing or paddle boarding. If being active indoors is more your style, have a swim at one of the local pools or try your hand at indoor rock climbing.
Watch the home teams
If you have never been to a cricket match or rugby game before in your life then now’s your chance. Wear your best Otago colours to Forsyth Barr Stadium and cheer on the local rugby team during the winter season. In the summer, bring a deck chair and relax in the sun as you watch the home cricket team. Dunedin hosts thrilling live sport and is the home base for several regional teams including for ice hockey and basketball.
Visit the Otago region
Dunedin is perfectly situated on the coast of the Otago Region, allowing for easy access to some of New Zealand’s most remarkable locations within a couple of hours’ drive. The Moeraki Boulders and towering Omarama Clay Cliffs can be found in the Waitaki District in the north of Otago. The South Otago coast features the stunning rugged beaches and walks to waterfalls. A few hours inland is Central Otago, known for its vineyards and orchards where you can go on tastings and pick fruit in the summer. The Queenstown-Lakes District, towards the mountains, is the perfect place to go skiing and snowboarding in the winter.