The drive south through Coastal Otago to the deep South of New Zealand passes through a wild landscape of coastal hills and farmland. These regions offer outstanding outdoor adventures and wildlife experiences.
The coastal Dunedin area stretching from Waitaki in the north to Dunedin in the south is a wild and beautiful part of New Zealand. Experience an ever-changing coastline, fascinating historic architecture and unforgettable wildlife encounters.
The peninsula and harbour are internationally renowned for the wealth of eco-experiences they offer, from seals, dolphins and penguins to the only mainland albatross breeding colony in the world.
Southland and Stewart Island are magnificent wilderness areas offering unparalleled opportunities to see native wildlife against a backdrop of dramatic and pristine scenery.
Many of Dunedin's restaurants have won national recognition for the standard of their food. The variety is exciting with cuisine styles from many parts of the world including Italy, Japan, Turkey, and Thailand.
Dunedin's location, close to the sea and a rich agricultural hinterland, means fresh, high quality produce, be it venison, lamb or fresh seafood just out of the Pacific. Complement your choice with the best of Otago, New Zealand or overseas wines.
The flair and creativity of the food is matched only by the interior design. Many of the restaurants have a style and atmosphere of their own - from funky to folky - and non-conformity seems to be the norm.
Your first glance of Dunedin will tell you it is a city of gardens. The Town Belt cuts a green swathe across the width of the city, with native forest, exotic trees and a wealth of sports fields and recreational reserves.
Dunedin’s Botanic Gardens is New Zealand's oldest botanic garden, opened in 1869. It remains one of the country's finest with an extensive rose garden, Japanese garden, bird aviary and the famous rhododendron dell. This is alive with colour and vibrancy during Dunedin's Rhododendron Festival in November each year.
Nearby, on the banks of the Water of Leith, is New Zealand native Woodhaugh Garden. Anzac Square in front of the Railway Station has a commemorative Flemish garden theme. And there are dozens of private gardens open to the public.
- Hokonui Moonshine Museum, Eastern Southland Art Gallery, Croydon
- Aircraft Company, Southland Museum and Art Gallery and the Tuatarium, Anderson
- Park Art Gallery, Peugeot Hokonui Fashion Design Awards
Dunedin's cultural heritage runs deep, especially for a city which is young by world standards.
Dunedin is New Zealand's centre of learning, arts and culture. The University of Otago is New Zealand's oldest university and together with Otago Polytechnic and the Dunedin College of Education, contributes to a vibrant student culture.
Dunedin Public Art Gallery is breathtaking with both classic and contemporary works, and Otago Museum is one of New Zealand's finest, with a magnificent collection of treasures from around the world. For an insight into Otago's beginnings, visit the Otago Settlers Museum.
Beach & Coastal Encounters
- Nugget Point, Oreti Beach, Curio Bay.
- Ulva Island bird sanctuary, kiwi spotting on Stewart Island,
- Penguin viewing at Curio Bay, Sea Lions at Nugget Point
Few cities anywhere on earth have such a richly diverse coastal wildlife population, including many Antarctic species that prefer Dunedin's kinder climes. Taiaroa Head is the world's only mainland albatross breeding colony, amazingly within sight of the city's skyscape..
Visit the Royal Albatross Centre for an insight into these majestic ocean wanderers. There is a large colony of Shags perched on the cliffs below. Visit the home of the world's rarest penguin, the Yellow-Eyed Penguin and peer in on the shy Little Blue Penguin. Pilots Beach and Otago Peninsula have New Zealand Fur Seals, and sometimes young pups perform aquabatics in the tidal pools.