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.
Wine & Food
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.
Nature & Scenic
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.
Art & Culture
- 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
- 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..
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.
Dunedin, Coastal Otago & Southland Quick Facts
The south end of the South Island is about as far away from the rest of the world as you can get, and nature is always close by.
At the very bottom of the country is remote wild Stewart Island. The forests here are primeval, the bird life extraordinary.
Moving up the eastern coast, you will find the homes of penguins, seals and dolphins.
The city is of Dunedin has a history going back 150 years. Originally it was a Scottish colony, then a Gold Rush Boom town. Now, it's a charming University city with the best preserved Edwardian and Victorian buildings in the Southern Hemisphere.
The Otago peninsula is home to rare and unusual coastal wild life. You can also discover the world's only mainland albatross colony. And in the north of the region are the 60 million year old Moeraki boulders, these marvellously huge marbles that lie scattered all over the beach.
Coastal Otago Southland – Wildlife, people and places, at the edge of the world.
Southland has a natural unspoilt beauty that travellers find hard to leave. The character of the region is found in the landscape – the endless beaches pounded by the Pacific Ocean, rolling green, fertile plains, meandering rivers and rugged mountains.
Southland’s scenery is forever changing. You can stand in a forest and feel you’re the only person on earth, fish on long clear uncrowded rivers or sit on a yellow sand beach that reaches as far as the eye can see. Cafes and craft shops are dotted throughout the countryside and there is an abundance of bird and sealife.
One of the most spectacular roads in Southland is the Southern Scenic Route, which forms a link from the world-renowned Milford Sound in Fiordland, through New Zealand’s southernmost city, Invercargill, to the Edinburgh of the south, Dunedin. Southlanders welcome visitors with open arms, showing them the hidden secrets of the region and sharing their homes, their lives and their spirit – that’s why Southland is home to Spirit of the Nation.
Population: ||Invercargill City – 50,500|
Gore District – 12,050
Southland District – 32,00
Southland total – 94,550
Climate:||Southland has a cool temperate climate. In the populated and intensively farmed parts of the region mean daily temperatures range from around 5ºC in July to 14ºC in January. There can be around 80 days of ground frost in the winter months and 1000mm of rainfall fairly evenly spread throughout the year. Wind|
speed averages 15–20km/hr and there are about 1600 hours of sunshine annually.
Nigel Brown – Internationally acclaimed expressionist artist.
Mark Winter – animated film maker, print media cartoonist and characateur artist.
John Husband – prominent Southland artist and nationally recognised artist.
Suzanne Prentice - singer
Dave Kennedy – former lead singer for national chart-topping groups Chapta and LINK, which recorded 1971 number 1 “Only Time Could Let Us Know.”
Neil Chilton – former BMG artist based in Australia and now solo artist still performing throughout Southland and NZ.
Jason Schmidt and Shannon Cooper-Garland – nationally and internationally recognised singers, who have regularly featured on television showcases.
Deborah Wai Kapohe – Internationally acclaimed opera singer and contemporary recording artist.
Jackie Bristow – chart-topping recording artist with single “Silly Girl” in 2004
Lynley Miller – poet and historian
David Eggleton – poet
(The Late) Dan Davin – acclaimed academic publisher
(The Late) Ruth Dallas – acclaimed author of “The Oxford Companion of NZ Literature” and children’s author.
Graham Hawkes (Flanagans Seafood Restaurant) – NZ Beef & Lamb award-winning icon, columnist
Scott Richardson (Southland Boys Chef School & Cafe) – Chef and Sky Digital cooking show host
Mark Elder (The Rocks) – Award-winning chef and restaurateur, featured on TVNZ series “Hell’s Kitchen”
Tony Chilton (Ziffs Café) – Award-winning chef
Itinerary Ideas – Britz Southern Explorer You will be awestruck on this 5-day journey through Central Otago by the sheer physical beauty of the region with fun and adventure wherever you turn.