Dunedin winter days can be some of the most spectacular in terms of wildlife viewing and crisp clear days. Fuel up on an awesome café breakfast and head out among this wild, beautiful city.
Dunedin wildlife loves winter, so during the cooler months the local sea lions, yellow-eyed and little blue penguins, fur seals and albatross are completely in their element. The absolute best way to view these amazing creatures is with a guided tour as this is not only more informative and comfortable for you but also ensures the animals are not disturbed.
Wrap up on a still Dunedin winters’ morning, jump on a bike and see the city reflected in Dunedin’s Otago Harbour from the harbourside’s ever-lengthening shared cycle and pedestrian paths. Ebikes can be hired from a number of local operators including OGHC and ibike. Then, top up your energy levels at a toasty-warm café and head into the city hillsides to one of the five mountain bike trail networks, great for beginner riders through to experts. Dunedin’s winters are often quite dry, making for firm, fun tracks. If you want a rural ride, then take a detour to Middlemarch and the stunning Otago Central Rail Trail. Flat, full of history and beautiful views, you can choose to ride 150km all the way to Central Otago or stop at country towns, offering friendly pubs, calm cafes and golden-hued landscapes.
The Otago Peninsula has been described as the finest example of eco-tourism in the world. You can observe fur seals, sea lions, rare yellow-eyed penguins as well as the only mainland colony of the Royal Albatross in the world. Explore the quaint villages dotted along the harbour bays and discover Larnach Castle, New Zealand's only castle, with its 'gardens of international significance' and intriguing history of tragedy and romance.
Explore Dunedin street art
Grab a map and explore Dunedin’s outstanding Street Art Trail which is brilliantly woven through the central city and Warehouse Precinct, making for surprising discoveries around every corner. Featuring works from local and internationally acclaimed street artists such as the UK’s Phlegm and Belgiums’s ROA, the artworks provide a colourful and quirky addition to this heritage city. Grab a free map from the iSITE, find your way by downloading the Street Art Cities App (iphone or Android) or book a tour to find all the new and hidden pieces.
Winter on the water
Facing the Pacific Ocean and blessed with the long beauty of Otago Harbour, Dunedin has plenty of year-round opportunity for enjoying time on the water. Harbour cruise tours can take you to the Otago Peninsula headlands to spot rare royal albatross, penguins and frolicking fur seals, or explore Quarantine Island and it's fascinating history. You can hire full-body wetsuits and find out why Dunedin is known as a surfing mecca no matter what the season. If you want to ‘take a stand’, keep that wetsuit on and try the increasingly popular sport of paddle boarding on a calm harbour day.
Otago Farmers Market
Voted the best market of its kind in New Zealand, the Otago Farmers Market is a thriving community hub, where foodies gather for their weekly treats. With a focus on local artisan producers, there is a mouth-watering selection of fresh produce, cheeses, baked goods, chocolate, dips and sauces, honey, meats and of course coffee on offer. The popular stall-holders sell out early so get in quick on Saturday mornings at the Dunedin Railway Station.
Dunedin is an immensely walkable city with a compact urban centre and miles of beautiful hinterland and native bush within easy reach. A number of operators offer walking tours of the city and focus on heritage, street art, literature and even ghostly happenings, otherwise grab a map from the department of conservation and head out for a stroll.
Baldwin Street in Dunedin’s North East Valley was recognised as the steepest residential street in the world until 2019, then it wasn't, and now it is again. The street runs up the northern side of Signal Hill, at slopes of up to 1:2.86 (for 2.86m horizontal distance, a rise of 1m). Try counting the steps; it takes about ten minutes, just to walk about 350 metres! But don't worry, there's a drinking fountain at the top. Insiders Tip - Walking backwards is heaps easier.
Take a self-guided tour or simply stroll around one of the world’s most beautiful campuses. The University of Otago is New Zealand’s oldest and celebrates 150 years in 2019. Start in our visitors’ centre to learn more, or pick up a unique memento. Open six days a week.
The link is: www.otago.ac.nz/about/visitors-centre