Dunedin Travel Guide

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Panorama of Dunedin (made from multiple pictures). Shot from western hills.

Panorama of Dunedin (made from multiple pictures). Shot from western hills.

Tristan Burtenshaw

The Otago Coast stretches from the Waitaki River to the mighty Clutha River, on the South Island's eastern coast. About halfway between is Dunedin, built around Otago Harbour, which indents Otago Peninsula.

Dunedin, with a population of 112,000, is the South Island's second-largest city and the commercial centre for the Otago region. Its name is the old Gaelic one for Edinburgh - appropriate since the city was established by Scottish Presbyterians. It is a gracious city whose numerous grand nineteenth-century and Edwardian buildings are unrivalled anywhere in the Southern Hemisphere.

Main Attractions/Activities Dunedin's architectural heritage has provided the city with some notable buildings, including the train station, town hall, university and many churches. There are also special former private residences worth noting including Olveston, a Jacobean-style family home and Glenfalloch, surrounded by 12 hectares of woodland garden. Neo-Gothic Larnach Castle represents the finest of nineteenth century craftsmanship.

With the country's first university, it is known as a student city and enjoys a vibrant student culture during term time. The 'Dunedin Sound' - guitar based music with ethereal yet intense vocals - has cult indie status the world over. Nowadays, however, you are more likely to meet the local DJ cult figures, such as DJ Shan, spinning locally flavoured sounds. Most of Dunedin's students come from other parts of the country and leave again when they have their degrees. Those who stay tend to be artists, writers, musicians (and more computer-based designers per sq inch than anywhere else, for some reason), all of which is reflected in a lively alternative arts scene. There is also a growing cosmopolitanism in the variety of eateries - most nationalities and food tastes are catered for.

A natural attraction on the Otago Peninsula is the abundant wildlife, only a 15-20 minute drive from the central business district. Nature and wildlife tour companies run daily excursions to view fur seals, endangered yellow-eyed penguin, cormorants and albatross. Nowhere else in the world does the largest of the world's sea birds live within such easy human access. The Peninsula is also home to Otakou marae, one of the original sites of the local Kai Tahu Maori. As well as Otakou, the Kai Tahu (or Ngai Tahu as they are known further north), had major bases in the South Island at Kaikoura, Kaiapoi, Lake Ellesmere, Akaroa and Ruapuke Island.

Further north on the Otago coast is Oamaru, known for the grand white stone buildings of its old harbourside precinct. On Moeraki Beach, about halfway between Oamaru and Dunedin are the unique, perfectly round Moeraki Boulders, which weigh up to four tons each.

Courtesy of:100% Pure New Zealand

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