Visiting the South Island city of Dunedin is like visiting a smaller version of Edinburgh – this city is fiercely proud of its Scottish heritage. Visitors here will enjoy the same lively, social, ‘down to earth’ vibe that Scotland’s capital city is renowned for.
‘Dunners’ as locals fondly refer to it, is not only considered to be one of the Southern Hemisphere’s best-preserved Victorian and Edwardian cities, it’s an outstanding place to experience New Zealand’s fascination with the sport of Rugby Union. A game featuring the professional Otago Highlanders rugby team is something all sports loving visitors should check out at Forsyth Barr Stadium. Up to 30,000 fans can be entertained comfortably year-round under its impressive all-weather roof.
Around the city you can visit historic homes, dip into the chocolate factory, tour the iconic Speights brewery and browse museums. Dunedin boasts a special place within New Zealand culture as being a particularly festively ‘student’ orientated city due to the hugely popular Dunedin University.
That large tertiary student population keeps Dunedin lively and the nightlife buzzing, with a variety of pubs and bars catering to all tastes. Outside of the city you’ll find wild and spectacular surf beaches – some hardy souls even surf during winter here – and the area is a habitat for many kinds of rare wildlife.
A drive down the Otago Peninsula will reveal ruggedly un-spoilt scenery and animal lovers can stop off at multiple breeding areas for the little blue penguin (the world’s smallest) and the endangered yellow-eyed penguin. These aren’t the only cute little amphibians in this region, you’re also likely to encounter wild seals and impressively large albatrosses.
For those who love getting off-road, there’s trails everywhere you look. Head to Signal Hill and Wakari Creek for downhill tracks, or the Swampy Summit Circuit for a longer ride.
For architecture lovers Larnach Castle is a must-see, as is Olveston House. Head to the historic Speight’s Brewery, or take a look at St Paul’s Cathedral, Dunedin Railway Station or the municipal chambers.
The Dunedin Chinese Garden was custom built by Shanghai artisans, while the Dunedin Botanic Gardens are at their colourful best in spring.