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Autumn Activities

Enjoy the last of the golden weather by getting out and exploring some of Dunedin’s breath-taking natural spots or head indoors for a spot of culture and entertainment.

Cultural exploration

The award-winning Tūhura Otago Museum and Toitū Otago Settlers Museum tell the story of Dunedin’s past, present and future through highly interactive exhibits and an impressive collection of local and international artefacts. At Otago Museum you can visit Tuhura interactive science centre and planetarium with over 45 hands-on exhibits for the young and young at heart. Toitū offers an exciting exploration of Dunedin’s great, poignant, wild and inspiring past. You can experience conditions in ocean-going sailing ships and settler cottages, try on pioneer clothing, or admire chrome laden vehicles and quirky appliances you’ll remember your grandmother using.

Reach for the stars

Watch the heavens unfold before you exploring the renowned dark skies of the Otago Peninsula and wider Dunedin. Horizon Tours weave a magical experience by sharing Maori tales of the celestial bodies and waiata under the stars, as you sit in snugly wrapped in blankets and plied with hot soup and garlic bread.

Explore Dunedin’s literary past with ‘dtour’

The ‘dtour’ mobile app encourages Dunedin residents and visitors to explore the city's literary culture. Dunedin Unesco City of Literature has teamed up with the University of Otago's department of English and linguistics to create the ''dtour'' app. The app links remarkable writers and their stories to remarkable sites in Dunedin and the Otago region and provides information about places in the city that past and present writers have lived in or visited, even if they were not referred to in their works.

More about dtour

Orokonui Eco-Sanctuary

A visit to Orokonui Eco Sanctuary, 20 km north of Dunedin will be rewarded with Tuatara lizards, Otago Skinks and 17 species of native birds, including kiwi. Walk independently or with knowledgeable guides. Then relax over a coffee in Horopito Café and enjoy one of the most stunning views in Dunedin. Visiting on a Sunday? Then try a spot of Forest Bathing (clothes on!) which allows you to mindfully soak up the atmosphere of rejuvenating native bush.

Olveston Historic Home

Olveston is a masterpiece. Built in the Edwardian era, this home is filled with works of art, fine antiques and exquisite collectibles. The 35-room mansion is a stunning slice of Dunedin history. The guide will take you on a journey through Olveston, learn its story and marvel at its many priceless treasures. A great place for Downton Abbey fans!

Wild things

Dunedin is home to magnificent and rare wildlife. On the Otago Peninsula you can spot Little Blue Penguins, Yellow-Eyed Penguins, fur seals and sea lions visit the world’s only mainland breeding colony of Northern Royal Albatross. View the albatross with a guided tour at the Royal Albatross Centre and pair this with a dusk viewing of Little Blue Penguins returning from a day at sea at the adjacent Blue Penguins Pukekura. Horizon Tours visits the far reaches of the peninsula for close encounters with the wild inhabitants and Penguin Place has perfected conservation tourism by offering a unique encounter with wildlife combined with a rehabilitation and release programme.  To get a different perspective, join a Monarch Wildlife Cruise or Port to Port cruise for a unique view via sea. To add a dash of adventure to the experience, try Nature’s Wonders unique argo all-terrain vehicle tours.

Experience Dunedin V8 Trike Ride

Combining Dunedin’s epic scenery with an exciting V8 trike ride, Experience Dunedin offers a variety of tours around Dunedin city and surrounds. Owner and guide Andrew Sim has great local knowledge and will take you to some of Dunedin’s hidden treasures from the comfort of a custom-made trike which seats four passengers.

Gallery hopping

Long famed for its creative community, Dunedin is home to galleries to fit all tastes. New on the scene is OLGA, presenting a programme of exciting, important art by New Zealand and international artists. Nearby, Quadrant exhibits and sells contemporary New Zealand jewellery, sculpture and other 3D works by. The Artist’s Room is a busy space where artworks arrive in and leave for their new walls almost every day. The Dunedin Public Art Gallery is the city’s crowning glory, with internationally recognised collections that reflect the generosity of patrons from the city’s goldrush days to the present.

Find more galleries

Head for the hinterland

Is it a day for sandy toes or fields of dreams? Pick the seaside town or rural village that fits your fancy – there are plenty to choose from within Dunedin’s extensive city limits. Karitane and Waikoutai to the north, and Brighton to the south, all offer beautiful beach walks and tasty cafés or bakeries. Outram and Middlemarch to the rural west introduce you to the rugged hills of Maungatua and the Rock and Pillar Range. Port Chalmers and Macandrew Bay have harbourside charm, parks and quaint beaches.

Find out about the wider Dunedin region

Visit New Zealand's original brewery

What better activity for a crisp autumn day than sampling Dunedin’s finest ales as part of a brewery tour. Historic Dunedin stalwart Speights spins a good yarn as its tour guide leads you through the history and brewing process with beer samples to taste at the end.

Zap around by bike and ebike

E-bikes make Dunedin flat, or it seems that way as you sail up its hills for another stunning view. A number of places rent ebikes, such as Electrify NZ Dunedin and Otago Harbour Golf Challenge. If you prefer traditional ‘treddling’ Dunedin's compact city layout and flat runs make it a great place for cycle touring, while the surrounding countryside offers five mountain bike trail networks. Signal Hill has the best downhill track in the country. About an hour's drive from Dunedin, Middlemarch forms the start of the famous Otago Central Rail Trail. This 150km trail takes in historic gold mining sites, country pubs, and peaceful, golden-hued landscapes.

Paddleboarding lessons on the Otago Harbour or Purakanui Inlet

Try your hand at paddle-boarding in and around the stunning Dunedin coastline on the Otago Harbour or Purakanui inlet, which is a hidden gem tucked away in the bays just north of Dunedin. Spend an hour exploring its reaches under the guidance of an instructor and soak up the serenity under the guise of exercise.

Check out equipment hire with Water Cooled Sports

Walk this way

With its bush-covered hills and miles of stunning coastline, it’s not difficult to find an inspirational Dunedin walking track with a view. Popular trails include the iconic ‘Organ Pipes’, the Pineapple Track, Bethunes Gully and even the Dunedin Town Belt, but the many spectacular beaches are an equally enticing options. Doctors Point beach at low tide allows for exploration of the secluded Mapoutahi Pā with a beautiful outlook onto Blueskin Bay and the northern coast. For a more urban walking experience, tag along with City Walks to be regaled with stories on Dunedin’s heritage and the regeneration of its many grand buildings.

More Dunedin Walks