It’s 5000 miles from Singapore and over 9000 from New York. Yes, New Zealand’s South Island is a long way away from the rest of the world, but it’s distance that helps make the city of Dunedin so special.
Distance, and the promise of new beginnings is what drew two shiploads of Scottish settlers to the South Island’s Otago region in 1848.
These wild shores, fern-filled valleys, and ever-changing skies spoke to the hardy Scots, just as they had to the Maori who settlethe Otago Peninsula centuries before.
 Set at the head of Otago Harbour, the city centre is shaped by The Octagon, an eight-sided plaza that’s a tribute to the Scottish sense of order.
Right at the Octagon’s heart sits a contemplative statue of Robert Burns, the acclaimed Scottish poet whose nephew was one of the city’s founding fathers. From here, Dunedin spills out in all its bluestone beauty.

Dunedin Railway Station

Dunedin Railway Station Full Exterior

Wander down Stuart Street to New Zealand’s most photographed building,
Dunedin Railway Station.
In the early 1900s, when Dunedin was the nation’s commercial capital,
the station serviced over 100 trains a day.
Today it serves as the departure point for scenic adventures along the Otago coast and into the rugged interior, yet its grand interiors and mosaics still sweep visitors back to the great age of rail.

Toitū Otago Settlers Museum

Toitū Otago Settlers Museum 230

Just up the tracks, venture back even further, at the Toitū Otago Settlers Museum.

Gaze up into the faces of Otago’s stoic pioneers in the portrait room, where dreams, hopes and trials drift back electronically across the mists of time.

The Dunedin Chinese Garden

Chinese garden entry - panoramio

Just behind the museum, The Dunedin Chinese Garden quietly celebrates the contribution Chinese settlers have made to the region, particularly during the 1860s gold rush.

Otago Museum, Dunedin


Across town, at the Otago Museum, discover the complete history of this Southern Land, from the present day, back to the legendary Moa, and beyond.

Olveston House

Just a short walk from the museum, step into Olveston House, once the family home of a prosperous merchant and arts patron.
Filled with exotic arts and antiques, as well as everyday objects, this 35-room Edwardian time-capsule is a fascinating window into Dunedin’s glory days.

Speight’s Brewery

Dunedin Speights Brewery

Retracing centuries of history can be thirsty work, so why not combine a little learning with leisure, at Speight’s Brewery, which has been serving up the Pride of the South since 1876.
The brewery sits on top of a deep underground spring, so even if you don’t fancy a cold one, you can still fill up on pure spring water for free; just follow the scent of roasting coffee beans to Dunedin’s many cafes.
Dunedin is the home of New Zealand’s first university, whose students keep the city’s creative juices bubbling, from its innovative dining, live music scene, to its fabulous street art.

Baldwin Street, Dunedin

BaldwinStreet Descending Tourist

When it’s time to walk off lunch, stretch your legs on Baldwin Street, which according to the Guinness Book of Records, is the steepest in the world.

Dunedin Botanic Garden

Dunedin Botanic Gardens greenhouse panorama

Or explore the woodland paths and floral displays at the Dunedin Botanic Garden, and enjoy the fine views across the northern suburbs.

St Clair Beach

St Clair Beach, Dunedin Otago New Zealand

Just a ten-minute drive south from the city centre is St Clair Beach, a popular summertime hangout for generations of Dunedinites, and for those crazy enough, the site of the annual mid-winter plunge!

The Otago Peninsula

Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula, Otago, New Zealand, 12th. Dec. 2010 - Flickr - PhillipC

Dunedin offers no shortage of natural escapes. The wildest jewel in Dunedin’s crown is The Otago Peninsula, which remarkably, sits within the city limits. Rent a car or a push bike and follow the peninsula’s coast road past the boat sheds and shacks of fishermen, charter boat operators, and rat-race escapees.

Larnach Castle, Dunedin

larnach castle Denudin

Head into the hills through forests and farms, to New Zealand’s only castle.
Referred to by its creator simply as, “The Camp”, Larnach Castle, is anything but. Step inside these thick stone walls and explore lavish living rooms, cosy bedrooms and a tower with views across the harbour to Port Chalmers.

Otakou Marae Dunedin

Otakou marae

Further up the peninsula is another of Otago’s most important buildings, the Ōtākou Marae. Built on the site of an important Maori settlement, this meetinghouse is the hub of Ngāi Tahu cultural life.

Taiaroa Head

Dunedin - Taiaroa Head 4

A little further up the road the peninsula comes to an end, where Taiaroa Head and the vast Pacific’s many moods meet. A century ago, lookouts at Fort Taiaroa scanned the horizon for hostile raiders.
Today, visitors are on the lookout for something far more delightful, the Otago sea life.

Royal Albatross Centre

皇家信天翁中心 ROYAL ALBATROSS CENTRE - panoramio

Taiaroa Head is home to the world’s only mainland albatross breeding colony.
Pay a visit to the Royal Albatross Centre, a safe haven where these seabirds who travel an astonishing 120,000 miles each year, come to rest, breed, and raise their chicks.
While you’re here, sit back and watch the resident Southern Fur Seals glide by between their long snoozes in the sunshine.
And if you hang around til dusk, you’ll catch Little Blue Penguins, the world’s smallest, return from a big day at sea to the warmth and safety of their burrows. Once the sea spray and mists of the Otago Peninsula have whet your appetite for adventure, it’s time to hit the road again.

Shag Point, Dunedin

Little seals, perched on rocks.

Just to Du, nedin’s North, stop in and say hello to rare Yellow Eyed Penguins at Shag Point.

Hampden, Dunedin


Then just up the road at Hampden, reconnect with your sense of childhood wonder at the mysterious Moeraki Boulders.


Oamaru - 7367560510

At the historic farming and port town of Omaru, Victorian warehouses and stores have become places where imaginations run free, earning the town the title of, The Steampunk Capital of the World.

Catlins Coast, Dunedin

Curio Bay Lookout, Catlins

If it’s total isolation you’re yearning for, turn southward to a corner of New Zealand bypassed by time, the sparsely-populated Caitlins Coast.

Purakaunui Falls; Dunedin

New Zealand Purakaunui Falls 01

Explore Mother Nature’s ancient forests, let her watery veils enchant you at Purakaunui Falls.

Nugget Point, Dunedin

Nugget Point and The Nuggets.jpg

Then feel the full force of grandeur at Nugget Point…

Central Otago, Dunedin

To the west, Central Otago beckons, from its historic gold towns, all the way to Queenstown’s lakes and The Remarkables.
For centuries this region has been a place of new beginnings, a place to escape from the constraints of the past.
The industrious Scots made their mark all over New Zealand, but nowhere is the Caledonian spirit more alive than in Dunedin. Today more than ever, we need places that allow us to catch our breath, experience a little magic, and continue our journeys renewed. Dunedin always has been, and always will be, one of those places.