Edinburgh of the South

Known as the Edinburgh of the South, the evidence of the Dunedin's Scottish settler heritage is highlighted by the abundance of ornate Victorian and Edwardian buildings, and Dunedin is also home to New Zealand's only castle.

Perched on the hills of the Otago Peninsula, Larnach Castle overlooks Otago Harbour. Further evidence of Dunedin's heritage can be seen each November during the annual Scottish Week, which culminates in the Caledonian Society Highland Games.

Established in 1862 by a meeting 'of about forty gentlemen', the Caledonian Society of Otago still keeps the old traditions alive, such as pipebands competitions and the Queen of Heather crowning.

The coast around Dunedin is renowned for beautiful beaches, including Tunnel Beach - said to be the most romantic spot in New Zealand. The beach can be accessed through a hand-cut tunnel, dug in the 1870s by a wealthy land owner for his daughters to access the beach unreserved.

Separating Dunedin's harbour from the sea is the dramatic Otago Peninsula, a haven for local wildlife, including the rare Hoiho or Yellow-eyed Penguin. Blue Penguins, New Zealand Fur Seals, the endangered Hooker's Sea Lion and the only mainland Royal Albatross colony in the world.

Daily wildlife tours leave from Dunedin, or you can drive out along the entire length of the Peninsula and stop at various wildlife sanctuaries, including the Penguin Place and the Royal Albatross Centre.

Insiders' Tips

  • Chocolate and Beer Haven: Dunedin offers some very 'tasty' attractions - home to both the Cadbury factory, and Speights Brewey - both factories offer tours and tastings.
  • Royal Albatross Centre: Located on the Otago Peninsula, the centre is home to the only mainland breeding colony of the Royal Albatross.
  • All Aboard: Taieri Gorge Railway departs Dunedin railway station and travels to the narrow Taieri River Gorge to Pukerangi, north of the city.
  • Beaches: Dunedin is blessed with a plethora of beaches, and even if it's too cold for swimming the scenery is spectacular and perfect for taking a stroll.
  • Larnach Castle: Located on the Otago Peninsula, this is the only castle in New Zealand and home to internationally significant gardens.
  • Otago Museum: Visit this fascinating museum that covers the natural world, and the Maori culture of the region.
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