Don’t let the glow of Christchurch lead you to overlook the charming town of Dunedin, the New Zealand second-largest city. This principal city of the Otago region is brimming with tourist destinations and splendours galore... That locals may not even know about!
Besides its revered historical sites, Dunedin also boasts picturesque horizons waiting to be explored. Admire steep hills, a bustling harbour, and otherworldly mountainscapes in every direction you turn.
Furthermore, Dunedin is also home to some of the world’s most diverse wildlife on the planet, with some animals that you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else.
Ready for an adventure? Here’s a list of the most awe-inspiring attractions in Dunedin, New Zealand that you’d be foolish to miss!
1. Otago Museum
One of the city’s most notable landmarks, the Otago Museum offers a myriad of discoveries for children and adults alike.
First founded by James Hector in 1865, this museum stands as one of New Zealand’s largest and oldest treasured institutions. With its collections of both natural and human history, the Otago Museum entices visitors with many activities. Interactive displays, stunning exhibitions, and tours that travel deep into the museum’s archives.
Furthermore, a single visit to the Otago Museum is not enough to enjoy the grandness of this establishment. There is a multitude of different programmes and events hosted nearly every day for locals and visitors alike to participate in, making this cultural hotspot an unmissable destination.
2. Royal Albatross Centre
If your heart flutters at the sight of majestic birds, then the Royal Albatross Centre is the place to be.
This magical sanctuary is one of the few places in the world where you can spot the breeding sites for the northern royal albatross. Located just 45 minutes away from Dunedin, this centre offers thrilling guided tours to see these beautiful birds in their natural habitat.
Not just a sightseeing destination, the Royal Albatross Centre is also an education centre. Here, visitors can learn more about the history of these birds and how they are vital to many of New Zealand’s ecosystems.
3. Larnach Castle
Founded in 1871, Larnach Castle stands as one of the only Victorian-style castles in the whole of New Zealand. This castle was built by William Larnach, an Australian-born banker and parliamentarian who tragically took his own life in 1898 due to a losing battle with depression.
Visitors to this estate would enjoy taking in the sights with 4-hour-long guided tours around the castle grounds, learning about its unique history. Furthermore, the castle also hosts a variety of events throughout the year, such as afternoon tea and privately-run function parties.
If you’re looking for something unique to the usual offerings of a quaint Kiwi town, then Larnach Castle is a must-visit destination. If you do happen to stop by, be sure to visit the souvenir shop as well for some cultural knick-knacks to bring home!
4. Dunedin Botanic Gardens
Right in the heart of Dunedin lies one of New Zealand’s oldest and most gorgeous botanic gardens. Established by David Tannock in 1863, these gardens are filled with a myriad of beautiful plants that have been internationally recognised around the world.
Besides hosting over 6,800 various flora such as kanuka and kauri trees, this 28-hectare garden also hosts many picturesque trails for solo travellers, couples, and families alike. You can enjoy the comfort of being surrounded by nature while also taking part in the various events planned within the vicinity.
Whether you’re an avid gardener looking for inspiration or a runner who wants to run beautiful trails, the Dunedin Botanic Gardens is a great place to walk in if you find yourself in this tiny slice of New Zealand.
5. Dunedin Railways
While the Botanic Gardens are fantastic if you want to enjoy New Zealand natural beauty at your leisure, taking a trip down the Dunedin railway tracks may be the better option if you want to witness the pristine beauty of the Otago landscapes.
The Dunedin Railways lets visitors take a ride on a historical train journey that takes passengers through the Otago region. On this tour, you’re free to explore and learn more about a variety of historical locations within the region; from the Waitati village to the Oamaru village. The Taieri River Gorge is another location you could wind up crossing.
If you’re looking for an experience that combines history, beautiful views and a journey of discovery, the Dunedin Railways is the perfect way you could make your dreams come to fruition. Besides that, many tourists are paving their own adventure with Go Rentals in Dunedin and other car rental stores near the area.
6. St Clair Beach
Just like many coastal cities, Dunedin has its fair share of iconic beaches minutes away from the city. One of the best spots for beach dwellers is St Clair Beach, which offers a beautiful shoreline that many inhabitants go to whenever they want to get out of the city.
St Clair beach is particularly popular for its active surfer community. There, you can spot many people riding the waves and having a thrilling time. Of course, sunbathing, swimming, dining, and snorkelling are also possible within the shores that meet the Pacific Ocean.
If you want a more secluded beach spot, you can visit Long Beach or Tunnel Beach to get some quietness. That said, if you’re after a more active experience, St Clair Beach is a premier destination of choice.