Dunedin

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Dunedin, old Gaelic for Edinburgh, is a regional centre and the second-largest city on the South Island of New Zealand, located in the Otago region.

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Points of Interest in Dunedin

Free

  • Dunedin Railway Station, described as "the outstanding monument of Edwardian architecture in New Zealand", is the most well known building in Dunedin (apart, perhaps, from Forsyth Barr Stadium). Opened in 1906, it has an atmosphere and character unique to any public building in New Zealand.
  • Toitū Otago Settlers Museum, 31 Queens Garden,  +64 3 477-5052, fax: +64 3 474-2727, e-mail: toituosm@dcc.govt.nz. Daily except 25 Dec. Oct-Mar 10:00–17:00, Apr-Sep 10:00–16:00, open Th until 20:00. First opened in 1908, this newly (Jan 2013) refurbished museum housed in the stunning, original Edwardian galleries and Dunedin's former art deco New Zealand Railways Road Services bus station next to the railway station, focuses on the people and history of the region. Wi-Fi is free throughout the museum and a free bag and coat check is available in the Josephine Foyer. Free.
  • The Octagon in the city centre has an octagonal shape instead of the standard square and features a statue of Scottish poet Robert Burns. This statue was unveiled in 1887 and was recently restored. It was cast by sculptor Sir John Steell of Edinburgh, Scotland, who made four other, nearly identical, statues, one of which stands in Central Park, New York. Several significant buildings are adjacent to the Octagon, including the Public Art Gallery, St. Paul's Anglican Cathedral, the Town Hall and the Regent Theatre.
  • Dunedin Public Art Gallery, 30 the Octagon,  + 64 3 474-3240, fax: +64 3 474-3250, e-mail: dpagmail@dcc.govt.nz. Daily 10:00–17:00 except 25 Dec. This gallery displays both local and international work in a modern building. Established in 1884, the Gallery was New Zealand’s first Art Gallery and is renowned today for the richness of its historic collection. Historical works by renowned artists such as Turner, Gainsborough, Claude, and Machiavelli feature alongside the only Monet in a New Zealand collection and master works by Derain, Tissot, Burne-Jones and internationally acclaimed Dunedin artist Frances Hodgkins. Free.
  • Otago University. Has some great old buildings to wander about and see; when classes are on it's a good place to sit, people-watch and take it all in, some good food/cafes/bars are nearby too.
  • Otago Museum - was founded in 1868 and has a collection of over two million artefacts and specimens from the fields of natural history and ethnography. There is also a (paid entry) "Discovery World Tropical Forest". This features a variety of flora and fauna from around the globe, as well as many species of butterfly from Asia and South America. There are around 1,000 butterflies flying at any one time, and the Forest also has tarantulas, birds, fish, turtles and geckos.
  • Forsyth Barr Stadium - A futuristic rugby and soccer stadium, opened in 2011 for the Rugby World Cup, it is fully enclosed with a grass surface — the only such stadium in the world. (The roof is transparent, allowing grass to grow.) Some are already starting to call the stadium the "Greenhouse of Pain" — a play on "House of Pain", the nickname of Carisbrook, the stadium it replaced.
  • Dunedin Botanical Gardens - occupying over 50 hectares (123 acres) in the north end of the city; an excellent place to stroll for several hours. Has an aviary along with many themed garden areas such as Rhododendron, Azalea and Rose Gardens.
  • North Dunedin - not your traditional attraction but a stroll through the student accommodation filled streets around the university can give you a real insight into Dunedin student life. Many of the often run down flats have their own names, and on the right sunny day the area comes to life as couches are dragged out onto the streets so the students can enjoy the sun and a few beverages. Castle St and Hyde St are two of the most famous flatting streets. The area does often get a bit rowdier in the evenings.

Attractions

  • Cadbury World, 280 Cumberland St, e-mail: cadburyworld@cadbury.co.nz. Take a guided tour of the Cadbury Chocolate Factory, a factory that accounts for more that 75% of New Zealand's chocolate production. Daily tours running every half hour from 09:00-15:30, with hours extended to 19:00 during the summer. Closed 25-26 Dec, 1 Jan and New Year's Holiday.
  • Speights Brewery, 200 Rattray St, e-mail: tours@speights.co.nz. Shop hours: M-Th 09:30-19:00, F-Su 09:30-17:00. Tours daily at 10:00, 12:00, 14:00. Closed Christmas Day, Good Friday, Easter Saturday and Sunday, and shortened hours on ANZAC day. Children under 15 require adult supervision. The brewery has been a Dunedin landmark since its founding in 1876. The guided tour takes you through the Speight's brewery, sharing the heritage and culture of beer, from the Babylonians to today. The tour's finale is a 25 minute beer tasting. You must be 18 years old to join in on the tasting.
  • Fortune Theatre, 231 Stuart St. corner of Stuart St and Moray Pl. Housed in a converted stone church, the Fortune Theatre provides professional live performances to the citizens of Otago.
  • Hoyts 6 Octagon Cinemas, 33 The Octagon. Catch a feature film in the Octagon.
  • Olveston, 42 Royal Terrace,  +64 3 477-3320. 09:30-16:00. Olveston homestead provided the Theomin family with the perfect setting to entertain both professional and personal friends. Seven servants were employed to service the 35 rooms of the home and to manicure the acre of beautiful garden. The home is sited in the inner city and is within walking distance from the city centre. $17.
  • Dunedin Chinese Garden, Corner of Rattray and Cumberland Streets, next to the Toitū Otago Settlers Museum (Two minutes walk from the Railway Station and five minutes from the Octagon.),  +64 3 474-3594. Daily 10:00-17:00. A piece of serenity in the city. The Dunedin Chinese Garden is an example of a late Ming, early Ching Dynasty scholar's garden. The only traditional Chinese garden in the Southern Hemisphere. Try some amazing dumplings and Chinese tea. An opportunity not to be missed!

Out of town

  • Otago Peninsula - much scenic coastline including rugged points and headlands, wildfowl-laden mud flats and beautiful Allans Beach (plus several smaller beaches) on the south/east coast, and picturesque hamlets on the north/west coast (including a pretty and peaceful cemetery on a little spit of land called Dunoon, many boat-houses and a minuscule beach). Seals, sea-lions and other interesting fauna turn up at all of the southern/eastern beaches. Ask nicely, and the locals may even tell you where the good spots are for gathering shellfish, catching blue cod, and viewing the wildlife without having to pay for the privilege.
  • Tunnel beach - The story goes that crazy old Cargill had a steep tunnel cut through the stone cliff, so his daughter could go to the beach. Some stories say she later drowned, but it's a lovely beach all the same, and the tunnel is very spooky. You need to walk over farmland to get there, so access is banned during lambing. See the visitor's centre in the Octagon for further information.
  • The Organ Pipes - small columnar rock formation set in a hillside with splendid views. Pleasant hike up a steep bush track from a car park about 5 km (3 mi) out of town along North Road.
  • Otakou Marae - a Maori church and meeting-house, which gave the Otago Peninsula its name. Find it on a side-road near Harington Point, at the outer (north-east) end of the Peninsula.
  • Orokonui EcoSanctuary, Blueskin Rd (on the scenic route between Port Chalmers and Waitati),  +64 3 482-1755. Daily 09:30-16:30. Home to some of New Zealand's most fascinating and rare wildlife and providing visitors with exceptional experiences while allowing native flora and fauna to live naturally in a safe haven. A 307 ha enclosure inside an 8.7 km pest proof fence, it provides a chance to see Kaka, Tui, Bellbirds, Tuatara, Kiwi and more in a native setting. Offers daily guided tours and night tours twice a week. The visitor centre has free entry, but passengers on identified cruise ship tours are charged $5 for a mandatory tour.

First Church of Otago

Otago Settlers Museum

The Octagon

Dunedin Town Hall

Cadbury World

Regent Theatre

Dunedin Public Art Gallery

Royal Albatross Centre

St. Paul\'s Cathedral

New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame

Hocken Library

Historic Fort Taiaroa

Otago Museum

Speight\'s Brewery

Dunedin Botanic Garden

University of Otago

Baldwin Street

Forsyth Barr Stadium

NZ Marine Studies Centre and Aquarium

Penguin Place

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About Dunedin

Background

Dunedin is a university town, a cultural hub, and a city with a strong historic streak. It is a small city with a compact walkable city centre surrounded by hilly suburbs. It has easy access to beaches, wildlife attractions and areas of native forest.

Known as the Edinburgh of the South, it has a proud Scots heritage. It has as its heart a statue of the poet Robbie Burns and many of its streets carry the same name as streets in Edinburgh. Due to the gold rush in central Otago, Dunedin was the biggest and most prosperous city in New Zealand from 1865 to 1900, and many of its old buildings and character stem from that period.

Dunedin sits in a natural harbour, with the centre of the city on a relatively small area of flat land surrounded by suburbs on the steep hillsides. Some of its streets are very steep: Baldwin Street is claimed as being the steepest street in the world, a claim which is celebrated during the annual chocolate festival[1] by rolling more than 40,000 Jaffas down it. (Jaffas are small, round sweets consisting of a soft chocolate centre with a hard covering of orange flavoured, red coloured confectionery and made at the local Cadbury factory and also exported to Australia).

It does get cold: many of the streets are iced over in winter, and every two or three years the city gets a snowfall.

These days, Dunedin is most well known for its University of Otago, the oldest and one of the best universities in New Zealand, and its 'scarfie' student culture. The university is the South Island's second largest employer and by far the biggest contributor to the Dunedin economy. Dunedin is a university town rather than just a town with a university since the student population of around 27,000 is nearly 23% of the 120,000 residents. A consequence of this is that the city is significantly quieter during the university summer holiday period (approx November to February), and that accommodation may be harder to find or more expensive during university graduations, etc.

Dunedinites (the Dunedin people) are generally friendly, seemingly more friendly than in the bigger cities of NZ (and the bigger cities anywhere else in the world).

Visitor Information

i-SITE Dunedin Visitor Centre, 26 Princess St,  +64 3 474-3300, e-mail: visitor.centre@dcc.govt.nz. Daily 08:45-17:00. Open 365 days a year, it provides extensive local and national information as well as a booking service for visitors and residents.

Activities

  • Baldwin Street. Located in Dunedin's North East Valley suburb. According to the Guinness Book of Records it is the steepest street in the world. Take the ten minute walk to the top or drive up to enjoy the view looking down! There is a drinking fountain at the top. Some people have tried, and a few have succeeded, cycling all the way up Baldwin Street - try it if you're a keen cyclist. That said, you will need to be careful coming back down - chances are the cycle's brakes will do little to slow a descent at such an incline!
    • Baldwin Street Gutbuster. Take part in a run up and back on the world's steepest street during the city's summer festival.
  • Swim or surf the beaches. much more fun if you wear a wetsuit to combat the ocean's chill. Saint Clair beach is the most popular, closest to the city and (along with the adjoining St Kilda) is regularly visited by a wide array of wildlife, such as seals, blue penguins and sea lions and the very occasional shark. St Clair beach also features an esplanade with cafes/bars/restaurants, together with a salt water swimming pool at its western end, and a surf school with wetsuit and board rental which operates in the summer. There are also a number of other less populated local beaches a short drive away from the city, including Aramoana, Long Beach, Warrington Beach, Tunnel Beach, Brighton, and Sandfly Bay. St Calir, St Kilda, Warrington and Brighton beaches are patrolled by life guards on summer weekends and daily at the height of summer.
  • Go to a rugby game. A huge part of Otago culture. From February until August the Highlanders and then the Otago NPC team play games at the roofed Forsyth Barr Stadium. Otherwise there are local club games that you can watch for free at parks around town on Saturday mornings.
  • Watch a cricket game. Cricket replaces rugby as the national sporting pastime when summer arrives (although the national cricket team, the Black Caps, enjoys considerably less success than the All Blacks). National level cricket games are played at the University Oval throughout the summer, along with the occasional international match, and on a sunny day its a great way to spend your time. Otherwise, as with rugby, local club games can be watched around the town at weekends.
  • Taieri Gorge Railway +64 3 477-4449. A sightseeing train trip travelling through spectacular scenery. It departs from the historic Dunedin Railway Station in central Dunedin and ends at the small village of Middlemarch. Departing daily it takes you on a journey through the rugged and spectacular Taieri River Gorge, across wrought iron viaducts and through tunnels carved by hand more than 100 years ago. Take your camera and lots of memory. The same company runs trips on the Christchurch line as far as Palmerston, about 2 hours away. These go about twice a week in the summer.
  • Tramping. Dunedin has some of the most easily-accessible tracks of any city in NZ. In less than half an hour you can be in pristine bush far from the worries of the world. Ask about Green Hut Track, Carey's Creek, Possum Hut, Rosella Ridge, Yellow Ridge, Rocky Ridge, Rongamai, Honeycomb, Powder Creek, Long Ridge, Swampy Ridge, Leith Saddle, Burns, Rustlers, Nichols Creek, Nichols Falls, to name just some of the fabulous tramping tracks around this city. Ask at the Visitor Centre or get "The Ultimate Tramping Guide for around Dunedin" at DoC ($10) and cut loose.
  • Moana Pool is a public pool with water slide and spa, and is a 5 minute walk up Stuart Street from the Octagon.

Food

For the freshest local organic produce, including fruit, vegetables, eggs, bread, cheese, check out the Farmer's Market. Held at the railway station Sa 08:00–12:30, it is a Dunedin institution and one of the best places to try local food. It has delicious delicacies such as crepes (including gluten free), the deservedly famous "bacon buttie" (far corner from the Railway Station, look for the crowd), whitebait fritters, and baking as well as fresh fruit and vegetables. It's rated as one of the best farmers markets in New Zealand. If you wake up on a Sunday, you can head to the Forsyth Barr Stadium, where a similar weekly market is held with similar food but more of a focus on local arts and crafts.

One Dunedin favourite is the cheese roll - a mixture of grated cheese, onion and soup mix in a toasted rolled slice of bread, a speciality of the southern part of the South Island, available in cafes.

Lower Stuart Street, around the Octagon and the northern part of central George Street (including the side streets) have the majority of Dunedin's restaurants. There are also a few interesting places on Albany Street, which runs across the south of the University of Otago. There is a full range of ethnic cuisine available, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Italian, Turkish, Malaysian, Thai, Filipino and Indian.

Budget

Being NZ, fish and chips are the classic cheap eats: the minimum serve of chips usually costs around $1.50 and will fill you up. Best Cafe on Lower Stuart Street as often rated as one of the best in town. Being a student town, you can expect to find some very cheap take-away food near the university campus: you will pay $3.50-4.00 for a teriyaki chicken riceball from most many sushi stores, the Flying Squid (Squiddies) on Albany Street sells hearty burgers for $3.50 at lunch time, and you can get a decent sub sandwich from Frankly Sandwiches in the University's 'link' (corner of Albany and Cumberland Street) for around $5.

Kumara chips [13] are made from a sweet-potato variant and are typically priced at about double the cost of potato chips.

Cones of ice cream sell for reasonable prices at many places, including little delis and general stores at places like MacAndrew Bay (e.g. $2.50 for a giant ice-cream at the Rob Roy on the corner of George and Albany St).

McDonalds is at 232 George Street, with an internet cafe is attached. A second McDonalds, and a variety of fast food outlets, can be found in North Dunedin near the end of the one-way going north (Great King Street - "Fatty Alley"), and even more fast food places are located on the way to South Dunedin on Anderson's Bay Road.

The Friday bakery in Roslyn village is recommended; it is open only on Friday mornings, and hungry, in-the-know locals tend to clear it out of its stock of delicious baked pastries and meat pies rather quickly.

  • Best Cafe, Lower Stuart St, is a well known 'old fashioned' fish and chip shop.
  • Countdown Supermarket, Moray Place (about a 2 min walk from the Octagon) standard supermarket fare, open 24 hours.
  • Circadian Rhythm Vegan Cafe, 72 St Andrew St,  +64 3 474-9994. offers a buffet for just $8.50. And they are gluten and dairy free.
  • Good Oil on George St has premium ALLPRESS espresso coffee, fantastic edibles from the cabinet made fresh daily, and a full al a carte brunch menu available, also on Fridays from 6PM they host some of Dunedin's top acoustic musical talent with fantastic Central Otago wines and locally brewed ales available.
  • Modaks, is a popular cafe on the north of central George street.
  • Pasha Cafe and Bar, 31 St. Andrew St,  +64 3 477 7181. offers doner kebabs for ~$11+. Popular with locals lunch spot 12:00-14:0, prices are higher for dinner.
  • Rhubarb, 299 Highgate, Roslyn,  +64 3 477-2555. M–Th 07:00-18:00, F 07:00-19:00, Sa 08:00-18:00, Su 08:30-16:30. Licensed cafe and wine shop with a strong focus on homemade quality baking
  • Satay Noodle House, Hanover St (Opposite the Hannah's Meridian entrance) has good Cambodian and Thai food at cheap prices ~$7.
  • Savory Japan, George St, cheap sushi and Asian dishes.

Mid-range

  • Jizo, 56 Princes St,  +64 3 479-2692. Japanese restaurant. If you want to be impressed, then order one of the Katsu dishes. Deluxe Katsu is good as is the Chicken Katsu. Damn good sushi to boot.
  • Zucchini Bros, 286 Princes St. (+64 3 477-9373). Fantastic pizza & pasta from the Bros. Lovely staff and the menu is tried and true. Get a no.20 pizza, and the Chicken & Mushroom pasta is hard to beat. Serving Emersons and Green Man beer. These guys deliver also.
  • Etrusco at the Savoy, 8 Moray Pl,  +64 3 477-3737. - Great Italian meals ranging between $10 - $25. This restaurant has its fair share of long time returning locals and will defiantly satisfy your need for a decent meal without having to stroll too far from the centre of town.

Splurge

  • Plato Cafe, 2 Birch St,  +64 3 477-4235. One of the best places for fresh seafood
  • Bacchus Wine Bar +64 3 474-0824. Level 1/12 The Octagon, - Great place for food and wine, pre- or after dinner show.
  • Scotia, 199 Upper Stuart St,  +64 3 477-7704. Scottish influenced New Zealand food including a whiskey bar
  • Number 7 Balmac, 7 Balmacewen Rd,  +64 3 464-0064. Maori Hill, - Neighbourhood restaurant specialising in Modern NZ Cuisine
  • Pier 24, 24 Esplanade St,  +64 3 456-0555. Clair, Dunedin 9012, - This classy, semi-formal, glasshouse like restaurant with waterfront views.

Drinks

Dunedin is known for its vibrant nightlife, mainly stemming from its large student population. It is also home to some well known beer breweries, Speights, Emersons and to a lesser extent Green Man. There is also a strong coffee culture with a number of good cafes.

Coffee

  • Strictly Coffee has been on the Dunedin coffee scene for 15 years and roasts its own coffee locally. One of its 3 cafes is on Bath St (off Lower Stuart).
  • Modaks on George street is a long serving popular Dunedin cafe.
  • Nova in the Octagon next to the art gallery has won best cafe in Dunedin for a number of years.
  • Mazagran Espresso on Moray place also roasts its own coffee and is thought of by many as the best coffee in Dunedin.

Local Beer

Speights was founded in Dunedin in 1876 and is now a national brand associated with Dunedin and the southern region of New Zealand. It is still brewed at the Dunedin location and brewery tours are available. The Speights brewery also makes Speight's Old Dark, and the Speights Craft Range of beer.

Emerson's Brewery Limited is a microbrewery located in Dunedin, New Zealand established in 1993. It has won numerous Australian and New Zealand awards and it is well appreciated by locals. Good places to find it on tap include Albar on Lower Stuart street and Tonic on Princess street. Riggers (plastic 1.25 L bottles) of Emersons can also be bought at Castle McAdams on Lower Stuart Street.

Green Man Brewery founded in 2006 specializes in batch-brewed organic beers brewed according to the Bavarian Beer Purity Law of 1516.

Bars

The majority of the bars are located in and around the Ocatgon and Lower Stuart street, with a few popular student bars in North Dunedin. There is a strip of bars along the east side of the Octagon with tables outside, which all fill up when the weather allows. A jug of ale costs about $10.

  • Albar, beer bar on Lower Stuart street with a great ambiance and selection of craft beers.
  • Bacchus, nice wine bar and restaurant in the octagon above Macs Brew Bar.
  • Captain Cook, world famous in New Zealand, the last of the famous student bars of north Dunedin after the closing of Gardies and the Bowler. Very quiet in the summer but often heaving with students during the term. Sadly closed as of mid 2013, but may re-open
  • Caurosel, upmarket bar upstairs on Lower Stuart St near the Octagon, with a great deck.
  • Di Lusso, nice lounge bar on Lower Stuart Street.
  • Mou Very, 357 George St. Self-proclaimed as the smallest bar in New Zealand. Measuring up to 1.5 metres wide by 8 metres long, with room for only six bar stools and an oversized coffee roaster.
  • Pequeno, hard to find upmarket lounge bar, down the alley next to Bennu on Moray Place.
  • Pop, underground cocktail bar in the Octagon next to Macs Brew Bar, often with DJ's.
  • Robert Burns Pub, 374 George Street. Nice pub on George street with live jazz on Thursday nights.
  • Speights Ale House, restaurant/bar attached to the brewery.
  • Stuart Street Brew Bar, popular Dunedin representative of a chain of bars on the corner in the Octagon.
  • Tonic, another beer bar on Princes St.

Shopping

Most Dunedin shopping is on George Street north of the Octagon, centred around the Meridian/Golden Centre/Wall Street mall complex. There are also a number of souvenir shops near the octagon.

This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Dunedin on Wikivoyage.

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