Fiordland Travel Guide

As a little city of only 120,000 people, Dunedin punches well above its weight as a tourist destination and offers, pound for pound, a world-beating concentration of sights and activities to the visitor. With white-sanded beaches on unspoilt coastline, superb dining and drinking, quirky physical features (such as the world’s steepest street and the Moeraki Boulders) and a compactness that makes getting around ridiculously easy, Dunedin earns its reputation as one of the great small cities of the world.

The South Island’s Dunedin is on the Otago Harbour, on the central eastern coast of the Otago region. It is sometimes called “The Edinburgh of NZ” due to its rich Scottish heritage, which can be seen, for example, in the must-visit Larnach Castle and Gardens.

The Dunedin Botanic Gardens, established in 1863, are truly world-class, and are near the city’s centre, near the University of Otago and historic Northern Cemetery. Deemed a Garden of International Significance by the New Zealand Gardens Trust, the site is a good place to start one’s visit.    

Cadbury World, “Dunedin’s Tastiest Tourist Attraction” is also near to the city’s centre, and offers tours varying from 10 to 75 minutes’ length, describing and showing visitors the workings of the confectionery factory, with memorabilia such as old chocolate trucks.

Another tasty local attraction is the Otago Farmers Market, run every Saturday morning outside the Dunedin Railway Station (at the north car park), famous for its spectacular Flemish architecture and resemblance to a giant gingerbread house. The farmers market can feature up to 75 vendors, and offers some of the region’s finest artisan cheeses and wines, baked goods, fruit and vegetables and more.

For beer lovers, the Speight’s Brewery is unmissable. Dating back to 1876, the Rattray Street operation runs 90-minute tours every day (check website for times), and offers tastings, ale history discussions, lunches and dinners. Bookings are essential.

In terms of unique local events, the Dunedin Midwinter Carnival held every June, and July’s Cadbury Chocolate Carnival and the Taste Otago Dunedin Food and Wine Festival, are all worth being around for.

Dunedin’s climate is temperate, with average maximum and minimum temperatures of 18.9 and 11.5 degrees Celsius in January, and 9.8 and 6.5 in July.

Dunedin International Airport is served by Air New Zealand, which “flies almost anywhere” in NZ from the that airport, and Jetstar, which offers one flight each day between Dunedin and Auckland.