Why Dunedin should be on your NZ Bucket list

Story by: Shannon Aldridge     Date: 1 September 2021    Image by: Unsplash | Josh Withers

4 minutes reading time New Zealand

I’ve worked in the New Zealand tourism industry for over 15 years and am passionate about all things New Zealand. I am however always disappointed to hear when travelers to the country decide to skip one of my favorite NZ cities – even most kiwis haven’t discovered the hidden gems of Dunedin.

Dunedin has a reputation for being a “scarfie city” – renowned for its university – the scarfies are students at the university who put on their puffer jackets and scarves when they discover the cold wind that comes with the territory. But there are many treasures to be discovered in this chilly city: here’s a list of the top things you should explore when visiting Dunedin.

Dunedin Beaches

The Beaches

Yes, it may be cold, but if you get a fine day in Dunedin the beaches are well worth the time.

Tunnel Beach

Tunnel Beach should be top of your list. The tale associated with this beach is that a rich lord wanted to provide a private beach for his daughter so he carved a tunnel in the rock so she could privately access her own small beach. Apparently, due to the treacherous waves and the daughter’s inability to swim, the novelty was short-lived and the daughter drowned. Whether the myth is true or not is debatable, but the 10 minutes walk down to this wild, wavy beach is well worth the walk.

St Clair, New Zealand

St Clair and St Kilda Beaches – surfers unite – these two Dunedin beaches are supposedly two of the best surfing beaches in the South Island. St Kilda beach also provides a nice picturesque walk, and St Clair beach is perfect for a stroll and coffee at one of the quaint restaurants along the waterfront.

The Lookouts

There are lookouts dotted around Dunedin that give you optimal views of the city and sea. Many of which you can choose to drive to or walk to.

Signal Hill lookout – this is a windy drive up to the “guardians of the city”, a large statue overlooking Dunedin city. This lookout gives you a wonderful view of the city and harbor. It is also accessible by mountain bike or a decent uphill hike.

Port Chalmers, New Zealand

Port Chalmers Lookout – Port Chalmers is the port village associated with Dunedin. Drive along one side of Dunedin harbor, and view the port activities. Dunedin port has to be one of the most scenic ports in New Zealand, you can view the comings and goings from the Port Chalmers lookout, and stop at the galleries or coffee shops in the township.

Larnach castle, New Zealand

The Castle

Larnach castle is most commonly associated with Dunedin. Built upon the hill overlooking the opposite side of the harbor, this is a must-do, even just to explore the gardens. The drive to Larnach castle is scenic in itself and the gardens and lookout are breathtaking. There are many quaint little suburbs to peruse on the way as well.

Dunedin, Star Gazing

The Attractions

Star Gazing, there are a few spots to stargaze around New Zealand, particularly in the South Island and Dunedin is one of them. Venture out along the Otago Peninsula to view a remarkably clear sky. The stargazing tour provides a Maori (New Zealand indigenous) perspective into the night skies.

Albatross Sanctuary, Dunedin

Albatross Sanctuary, drive right out along the Otago peninsula for this one. It is well worth the venture. The royal albatross colony breeds and nurtures albatross on the shores of Dunedin, regardless of whether you choose to view it yourself or take a tour you won’t be disappointed in this wildlife experience.

There is so much more to do and see in Dunedin, I always recommend staying a few days to really make the most of exploring this beautiful city. Make this city a priority when you visit the South Island of New Zealand.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related stories
Queenstown, New Zealand

17 April 2022 7 min.    Grace Reveley

The best activities and day tours in Queenstown

The adventure capital of the world, Queenstown, is located down on the South Island of New Zealand. Surrounded by crystal clear lakes, rows of vineyards, and picture-perfect...

Christchurch, New Zealand

6 September 2021 3 min.    Shannon Aldridge

Top 5 day trips from Christchurch

Christchurch is a great city to plant yourself for a few days while visiting the South Island of New Zealand. It is also a great city to...

Recent Stories

Travel news: Sustainable travel destinations: Places to visit for their environmental efforts

Travelspiration 29 January

Sustainable travel destinations: Places to visit for their environmental efforts

Traveling can give you ideas, give you new experiences, and make you wonder about the worl...

Read more

Travel news: The Top Road Trip Routes in the US for Adventure Seekers

Travelspiration 28 January

The Top Road Trip Routes in the US for Adventure Seekers

Are you a person who likes to try new things and look for your next big road trip? Stop lo...

Read more

Travel news: Best out-of-state vacations

Travelspiration 27 January

Best out-of-state vacations

Vacations out of state can be a great way to get away from the busyness of everyday life a...

Read more

Join the Travelspiration Club

Never miss a story!

Every week, we'll be sending you new travel inspirations. Plus, you'll be the first to know about potential travel deals! No spam.