For the last 9 days we have been staying in chilly Dunedin, New Zealand with my family. This is the city I grew up in but it is always nice to check out places you know well from a tourist perspective, in that regard I have visited a few places since moving away from Dunedin while back here on holidays.
With these visits I give you my Dunedin Five Favourites!
5. Otago Settlers Museum: I hadn’t visited here since I was in Primary School and thought it was a great snooze fest, but my parents recommended it as something to see after I had been for lunch with my Nana. Turns out it wasn’t the snooze fest I remembered and had been really well renovated. Full of history it has exhibits about the Otago war veterans, old vehicles and a very impressive portrait gallery.
4. Dunedin Architecture: the Octagon is a great base to start a wander through the older buildings here. There are four churches within walking distance, numerous other pretty buildings and if you look down Stuart Street you will see the impressive Railway Station standing proudly at the end of the street. Each time I return for a visit I have a greater respect for these buildings, they really are pretty.
3. Otago Peninsula: located on the opposite side of the harbour from the city there is so much to see here. Beaches, wildlife, views, history and cafes all at your fingertips. Check out Larnach’s Castle, Portobello and the Albatross Colony just to name a few.
2. Botanical Gardens: I think this comes in the number two spot because it has an aviary included in the grounds and I love to see birds. This was always a place where my friends and I would take a picnic (or KFC takeaways) and find a seat to eat while checking out a magnificent view over Dunedin. In spring the Rhododendron Den is a riot of colour which we managed to catch the end of this visit. The small aviary has a cool selection of tropical birds such as macaws and cockatoos as well as the endemic and endangered birds like kakas and keas. If you catch Dunedin on a good day this will not be a wasted few hours walking around looking at the different plants, feeding the ducks in the pond, or just sitting chilling out on a blanket eating lunch.
1. Otago Museum: potentially one of the better museums I have seen. Entrance is free and you can spend a rainy day (quite frequent in Dunedin) checking out the different sections and floors. The highlight is the butterflies, if you don’t pay the fee and go in you are missing out on the best part! It’s the warmest place in the city, humid and hot but you soon forget the heat while you watch the hundreds of butterflies flit around. See if you can tear your vision away and spot the birds, turtles and lizards in the enclosure as well.
Another note: Dunedin is pretty close to central Otago so it’s not difficult to hire a car or book a bus from here to Queenstown and do some skiing (winter) or wine tours, hiking or water sports (summer). Some of the most beautiful parts of the world I currently know are in Otago so I definitely recommend paying a visit, especially if you enjoyed the scenery in Lord of the Rings!
A personal and comfort related note: take layered clothing, even in summer. Dunedin can change weather and temperature throughout the day so be prepared and you will be cosy all day long.
There is something so relaxing about being back in your home town, if you ever visit Dunedin I hope you also share this same vibe I get from the city. The weather might not be fantastic but there is a fair amount of adventures to be had.
– Lauren – Two Stray Kiwi