Deeply embedded into Scottish heritage, migrants established a town in 1848, thirteen years later gold was unearthed.
Tour around Dunedin to view the towering cathedral spires, Flemish-style railway station, nineteenth-century castle and neo-gothic convent.
Escape into the many art galleries and museums containing some of the best collections in New Zealand.
Quietly wander into the wildlife reserves like no other. Royal albatross, yellow-eyed and Little Blue Penguins colonise on the tumbling shores.
And what better place to propose? CNN International naming Dunedin as one of the ten most romantic places in the world to propose marriage.
If you are arriving at the beginning of October you may be a little overwhelmed at the excitement filling the port. Why? The Port Chalmers Seafood Festival displays the freshest seafood, selection of Otago’s wines, ales and beer, live music and demonstrations.
Don’t worry; tastings will greet you at every turn.
Glow Worm Tours
Tours only available at night will sure to guarantee a fascinating experience.
Start your expedition travelling around Dunedin, getting to know the sights before journeying to your ultimate destination.
As the moon slivers in and out of focus behind the trees, you tramp through native bush, your torches flickering on the trees and the night life begins to waken. A pair of beady eyes may peer at you from the trees, the possums skittering from branch to branch; curious at what has disturbed their sleep.
Unobtrusively drift through the caves, the glow worms lighting the walls and ceiling like a Christmas tree, threads hanging like crystal chandeliers. The almost ethereal glow from these tiny insects will leave you spellbound.
This tour is particularly good to start your stay in Dunedin, introducing you to the sights you may want to explore during your trip
Cruises and charters can take you across to the Otago Peninsula; where you can experience award-winning wildlife encounters, have close encounters with endangered penguins, rare New Zealand sea lions, royal albatross, little blue penguin and fur seals.
Enter into the world of these creatures through a lane of gnarly trees, walking through farmland to sheer cliffs overlooking the blue ocean.
Grip the railing as the vehicle passes through narrow and winding roads, see the Royal Albatross soar into their nests, crouch down in silence as you watch some penguins nesting on their eggs.
Inhale the scent of homemade food wafting from the kitchen in the café, ending your sightseeing on a delicious note.
Lonely Planet Best in Travel 2010 ranks the Peninsula the best place for going on cycling adventures. Swift descents, steep climbs and Royal albatross flying over the tumbling ocean waves.
Delight Your Taste Buds in Cadbury World
This is definitely one for the kids, or the kids at heart. Cadbury World takes you close to the chocolates everyone has come to love. Chocolate-themed displays will take you into a dark, gooey world where you will learn about the history of chocolate.
Be greeted with the intoxicating scent of Jaffa, Turkish delight or cocoa. Gaze upon the one tonne of melted chocolate cascading down five stories.
Take a guided tour through the factory, sampling little goodies along the way. Your tour guide will take you to visit the chocolate fall housed in a five-storey high decommissioned crumb silo, and taste the melted, still warm chocolate oozing from it.
Try a fresh cocoa bean, then… step into the land of purple. The shop containing an overwhelming sight of chocolate, lollies and colourful displays.
At the end of your tour, you receive a goodie bag to continue sampling all day.
Discover the World of Butterflies
Otago Museum’s Discovery World and the Tropical Forest is an innovative and fascinating world to escape in.
Come face-to-face with more than a thousand butterflies roaming around you, dozens of them landing on your shoulder, hovering so close to you, quickly escaping from your reach.
Enter into a maze of interactive exhibits. Try your hand at table soccer, inflate a hot air balloon, warp yourself in the trick mirrors, or stomp out a tune on the piano.
Gaze upon the fossils of whales and dolphin ancestors, visit the Animal Attic where centuries old animals habitat.
Pass by the large-scale model ships, or visit the Nature Gallery.
If you’re bringing the kids, you might want to visit the Museum first, the kids won’t be able to get enough of the interactive exhibits.
Travelling on the Railway.
Hop on the train and discover Otago’s stunning countryside on the Taieri Gorge Railway. Tracks weaving through remarkable scenery, untamed landscapes and transcending viaducts. At each stop you can enjoy exploring the range of sightseeing available. The trip taking around four to six hours.
Reconnoitre the Past
Gaze out the tower views, examine the New Zealand antiques, explore the 35 acres of gardens, or wander in and out of twelve beautifully themed rooms in Larnach Castle. New Zealand’s only castle, offering guests a look back in time.
Stay a night in one of the rooms, enjoying the superb food they serve in the conservative dining room.
For those that would enjoy Larnarch Castle, then you can’t miss Olveston; enabling an intimate glimpse of Dunedin in Edwardian times.
Meander through the English/New Zealand inspired gardens. Your tour guide taking you through a maze of ancient treasure, the furniture set as if waiting for someone to come live here. The atmosphere creating lived-in quarters, as if a person from the Edwardian era is going to step through those doors, startled at your intrusion.
Touring through Nature and Beyond
Enjoy the convenience and the history of Dunedin by opting to go on one of the many tours that will take you to all of the popular locations.
Monarch Wildlife Cruises and Tours has the option of taking one hour cruise, half day coach to a full day which includes Larnach Castle, Penguin Place and Royal Albatross centre, as well as city sightseeing.
Elm Wildlife Tours captures the heart of the peninsula, viewing all the stunning creatures. You may even be able to view the yellow-eyed penguin just one to five metres away, although beware of the steep steps and climbing up the hills.
Next you can explore the terrain in the 8-wheel vehicle, travelling over bumpy and muddy trails.
On this hour long trek, New Zealand fur seals and their pups cuddle together, and you may even have a chance to get close to them. The sweeping view of the sheep grazing on the green hills, swooping down to the sea, the yellow-eyed penguins tottering about is sure a sight to behold.
Relax in the Gardens
If you just want to relax, then come to the Dunedin Chinese Garden, where Shanghai artisans constructed this beautifully landscaped garden with centuries-old building processes. Sit back and enjoy the tea and traditional Chinese finger food in the Tea House, transporting you to the bustling city of Shanghai.
Climbing the Steepest Street in the World
After all that food, you may want to stretch your legs. Come and climb Baldwin Street, “the steepest street in the world’, said by Guinness Book of Records, and receive a certificate at the top for your accomplishment.
Tour through Tui
After all that climbing you may feel a little thirsty. The guided tour of Tui brewery shows you how the beer is made. Step inside the large tasting room and learn the art of pouring beer. Of course best of all, you get to sample around six to seven beers, even going back for seconds, or thirds.
Finish of your tour by relaxing in the pub for a lunch or dinner, enjoying the good ole pub lunch.
Trekking on Horseback
But you can’t finish off your stay in Dunedin without exploring the landscape on horseback. Hare Hill Horse trek, located in Port Chalmers, is designed for both beginner and advanced riders.
Leisurely cross the sandy beaches, keeping a look-out for the wildlife hidden amongst the seas and land. Listen to the stories the guide tells you.
Or canter along the pristine beach, splashing in the water.
Stop for a cuppa and biscuit; continue your journey to see sea lions and penguins colonising on the shores.
Only taking a small group allows for a peaceful and relaxing experience.
The World’s Most Southern Winery
Weston Winery is embedded deep in the south of Dunedin. Their pure, non-filtered wine offers an unadulterated pleasure on the tongue of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling and Black and Red current wines.
A small winery, but sure to please any wine enthusiast that enjoys the full body of elegant wines.
Taste Dunedin through Food and Wine
St Clair Beach Resort offers tours that will indulge your senses and bring to life the food and wine that plays an integral part to Dunedin.
Stay in a luxury hotel during the night, enjoying a bottle of Central Otago Pinot Noir.
Explore nature through food, stopping for morning tea with cheese, bush foods and coffee.
Sojourn in at hotels to hear and enjoy tastings of wine and food.
Relish on lunch at an award-winning restaurant, devour the tastings at the Gourmet Ice Cream Company and Greenman Brewery. Finishing off tastings at Weston Winery or Rhubarb café and wine shop.
Or you can choose just to travel through the wineries and vineyards, sipping tastings as you go, lunching at Northburn Station Winery and purchasing local products.
Or indulge in the ultimate tour and do both.
Dunedin may be the oldest city in New Zealand, but it offers old to exciting new activities leaving a lasting memory.
Dunedin, “Attractions”, Accessed 23/08/11 www.dunedinnz.com
Dunedin, “Family Activities”, Accessed 23/08/11 http://www.jason.co.nz
Otago Cycling Tours, Accessed 23/08/11, www.otagocyclehire.co.nz
Cadbury World, Accessed 23/08/11, www.cadburyworld.co.nz