Dunedin (which is Gaelic for ‘Edinburgh’) is part of the Otago region; an area that has a long history of Maori settlement. Dunedin is located on the South Island of New Zealand and is situated on the East coast, towards the South. It is the second largest city on the South Island (after Christchurch).
European settlement began around the 1830s, a few decades before the Otago Gold Rush, which made the area famous (and wealthy!) Today, Dunedin is one of four main historic, cultural and geographic cities in the country and as such is one of the main attractions of the South Island.
Experience the Splendour of the Dunedin Railway Station
Evidence of Dunedin’s historic wealth is displayed proudly in its awesome Railway Station, which stands in the centre of the City. Looking like a cross between a European castle and a Gingerbread House, the Railway Station is New Zealand’s most photographed building. The platforms still service a few trains and you’ll find some fantastic trips available, but today, the building is mostly visited on foot for its beautiful stained glass windows, mosaic floors and stunning architecture. You’ll also find a restaurant, an art gallery and New Zealand’s Sports Hall of Fame inside, and on a Saturday the farmers market is right next door; truly one of the best multisensory experiences in Dunedin!
One of Our Favourite Things to Do: The Otago Peninsula
As always in New Zealand, you’re never too far from nature, even when in the biggest cities, and the same goes for Dunedin. Less than an hour’s drive away from the bustling centre is the Otago Peninsula: a wild and wonderful coastline with cliffs, beaches and some truly unique wildlife. The Peninsula is home to seals, sea lions, the rare yellow-eyed penguin, and the world’s only land-based breeding Albatross colony! And if that wasn’t enough, you could break up your journey there with a visit to New Zealand’s one and only castle! Visiting the Otago Peninsula is an unforgettable adventure, and often described as one of the best things to do in Dunedin.
Ride the Rails
Departing from the wonderful Dunedin Railway Station we talked about earlier, the Taieri Gorge Railway Journey is an absolute must for fans of geography, technology and cultural history. Departing daily, the train carries you comfortably through jaw dropping scenery, and along routes cut by the early European pioneers. You’ll see amazing feats of early engineering including ten tunnels, bridges, and Wingatui Viaduct: the second largest of its kind in the world. With lots of unique photo opportunities and a licenced café and bar on board, as tours of Dunedin go, this one’s pretty special. So retrace the steps of the early pioneers – but in a much more relaxing and comfortable fashion!
Dunedin and the Otago region, is a real a treasure chest of gems when it comes to exploring New Zealand. It’s one of our favourite areas here at Silver Fern, and one we have got to know very well over decades of visits. Drop us a line and we’ll help you unlock the treasure and discover the very best things to do in Dunedin.
Ready to Explore Dunedin?
We specialise in planning tailor-made itineraries focused on your personal interests. Want to have a chat? Our team are always on standby ready to answer any questions you may have. Talk to someone now by calling +44 (0) 1636 813 544. Alternatively, or use our handy contact form to request a call back.