Dunedin is the seat of the Otago region and the second-largest city on the South Island of New Zealand. The city was originally and predominantly settled by Scots, and it's name is an anglicised version of Dùn Èideann, the Scottish Gaelic name for Edinburgh.
Dunedin is a university town, a cultural hub, and a city with a strong historic streak. It is a small city with a compact walkable city centre surrounded by hilly suburbs. It has easy access to beaches, wildlife attractions and areas of native forest.
Known as the Edinburgh of the South, it has a proud Scots heritage. It has as its heart a statue of the poet Robbie Burns and many of its streets carry the same name as streets in Edinburgh. Due to the gold rush in central Otago, Dunedin was the biggest and most prosperous city in New Zealand from 1865 to 1900, and many of its old buildings and character stem from that period. Because of history and geography, Dunedin is usually considered New Zealand's fourth major centre behind Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, despite being seventh in the population ranks.
Dunedin sits in a natural harbour, with the centre of the city on a relatively small area of flat land surrounded by suburbs on the steep hillsides. Some of its streets are very steep: Baldwin Street is claimed as being the steepest street in the world, a claim which is celebrated during the annual chocolate festival by rolling more than 40,000 Jaffas down it. (Jaffas are small, round sweets consisting of a soft chocolate centre with a hard covering of orange flavoured, red coloured confectionery and made at the local Cadbury factory and also exported to Australia).
It does get cold: many of the streets are iced over in winter, and every two or three years the city gets a snowfall.
These days, Dunedin is most well known for its University of Otago, the oldest and one of the best universities in New Zealand, and its 'scarfie' student culture. The university is the South Island's second largest employer and by far the biggest contributor to the Dunedin economy. Dunedin is a university town rather than just a town with a university since the student population of around 27,000 is nearly 23% of the 120,000 residents. A consequence of this is that the city is significantly quieter during the university summer holiday period (approx November to February), and that accommodation may be harder to find or more expensive during orientation week and university graduations, etc.
Dunedinites (the Dunedin people) are generally friendly, and pride themselves on being friendlier than those from the bigger cities of NZ.
i-SITE Dunedin Visitor Centre, 50 The Octagon, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Daily 08:45-17:00, Nov - Mar 08:45-18:00. Open 365 days a year, it provides extensive local and national information as well as a booking service for visitors and residents.
- Dunedin's principal airport is Dunedin International Airport (IATA: DUD) about 30 km (19 mi) west of town and served by domestic and international flights.
- Air New Zealand, ☎ 0800 737 000, flies domestically to/from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.
- Jetstar flies domestically from Auckland and Wellington.
- Kiwi Regional Air flies directly to Nelson and continues on to Hamilton. Air passes are available. It flies directly to Tauranga (starting 15 Feb 2016).
- Virgin Australia offers international flights to/from Brisbane.
The terminal has a range of cafes, ATMs, and currency exchange. There is a pub serving some local beers and wines and a tapas style menu. There is more food and shopping before security, and since security checks are brisk at this small airport, you can plan to stay landside until your plane is ready.
Dunedin airport was built on the nearest piece of flat land that was big enough for the runway. Taxis and shuttle buses operate from just outside the terminal and are usually there when flights arrive. There is scheduled public transport to the airport. The fare for a shared shuttle is around $25-35 or $60-100 for a taxi to Dunedin. All of the major rental car operators also serve the airport.
The railway station is close to the centre of town (and is an architectural attraction as well as transport hub). There is no longer a regular long distance passenger train service, but some people arrive in the city by the local scenic trains. These are operated by the Taieri Gorge Railway, ☎ +64 3 477-4449, which run out as far as Middlemarch and Palmerston. A connecting bus service to or from Queenstown can be arranged.
State Highway 1 passes through Dunedin. Allow 4.5 hr travel time from Christchurch and 2.5 hr from Invercargill. Be sure to get a good detailed map as soon as you can. Most hostels have very detailed maps for the central business district (CBD) with reasonable details for the outlying areas. Dunedin's urban roads can be very confusing with lots of one way streets, circles, and tight and winding hill routes.
There are several daily services from Christchurch, Invercargill, Wanaka and Queenstown. The major operators are Intercity, Atomic Shuttles, Wanaka-Connection and Knightrider. (which offers an evening service from Christchurch to Dunedin). nakedbus.com has competitive fares. The trip from (or to) Christchurch takes about 6.5 hr.
Cruise ships are an increasingly popular way to visit Dunedin. There are 80-90 visits each October to March shipping season. The Dunedin City Council provides free Wi-Fi at the port and runs a web page for cruise visitors. The two major cruise companies Carnival (Holland America, P&O, Princess) and Royal Caribbean both serve Dunedin. Most cruise ships dock at the deep water harbour Port Chalmers, 14 km northeast of Dunedin, 20-30 minutes drive from the city centre. You can travel direct by cruise ship shuttle bus for $10 one-way/$15 return. Alternatively, you can board the public Bus 13 Port Chalmers to City at the Port Chalmers turnaround, five minutes walk from ship side, for $5.20 one-way (free for New Zealand Gold Card holders) and a 20 min ride to the Octagon. You may catch the return Bus 14 City to Port Chalmers at the Countdown stop (opposite Cadbury World) on Cumberland near Lower Stuart. Taxis cost about $45 one-way.
Seasoned cruise ship travellers will be aware that tourism products marketed directly to cruise ship passengers are often more expensive, so arranging visits to Dunedin attractions and tours independently can save money.
Dunedin is surrounded by hills, so cycling from other places requires effort. Cyclists are banned from State Highway 1 as it approaches the city from both north and south. There are alternative routes for cyclists.
- From the north: turn left at Waitati and take Mt Cargill Rd, or turn left or right at the following intersection and take Donalds Hill Rd/Mt Cargill Rd or Waitati Valley Rd/Leith Valley Rd (this includes crossing the no-bikes highway at the summit)
- From the south: Exit State Highway 1 at the Mosgiel interchange and take Quarry, Gordon and Dukes Roads to the aptly-named Three Mile Hill Rd, or turn right and take Quarry, Morris, Main and Main South Roads.
The city layout is focused on The Octagon, an eight-sided 'plaza' with a central carriageway. It hosts a few significant buildings, and a couple of bars and cafes, but for all intents and purposes it is a large bus stop and a roundabout.
The main retail area lies further north up George Street toward Dunedin North, and this could arguably be considered the city centre. Here you will find a larger range of shopping, some malls, cafes, etc. To a lesser there is some retail south along Princes Street and east along Lower Stuart Street from the Octagon. At the end of Lower Stuart Street, 400 metres from the Octagon, lies Anzac Square (actually a triangular area of public gardens) and Dunedin Railway Station and Toitū Otago Settlers Museum. Beyond that is an industrial area and the Otago harbour.
The street blocks in Dunedin are quite long, and walking from the Octagon past the university to the Botanic Gardens can take the best part of an hour. Always remember that Dunedin has a flatter area by the water, and then climbs steeply. So, the shorter route may not be the easiest one if you are going over the hills. Check the contours before setting out.
The Otago Regional Council's bus service is affordable: ☎ 0800 474 082. All buses are wheelchair friendly, about half are newish modern buses and half are cast-off from other cities. The regional council contracts several bus companies to operate the routes. Most drivers from any company will tell you where to find the right bus if you ask nicely, or you can call the council on 0800 474 082 (also free from cell phones), but only during office hours.
- The main line service, Normanby-City-St Clair, (GoBus 8,9, 28,29) runs every 15 minutes and is handy to about a dozen of the City's attractions: St Clair beach, the University, Dunedin Botanic Garden and Baldwin St
- Most other routes are every 30-40 min.
- The Peninsula bus route from the Museum is a good way to see the Peninsula, unless you're terrified by oncoming traffic: in places the full sized buses are wider than the lanes they travel in. The traffic is generally used to this and travels very cautiously.
- The Brockville/Halfway Bush bus is an exhilarating roller-coaster ride through the city's near-alpine outskirts, especially fun when snow has fallen.
- Bus services are reduced on Sundays and New Zealand public holidays; on Christmas Day, Good Friday and Easter Sunday, there are no services but the local bus museum operates classic vehicles (not wheelchair friendly) on two main routes.
There is a recycling centre down by the north-east end of the docks (in Wickliffe Street) which generally has one or two reasonable-condition bicycles lying about for $10 apiece. Carefully add air (there's a service station due west back over the bridge) and oil and you're set to go. You will also need a skid-lid/stack-hat/helmet, which are generally unavailable second-hand for liability reasons, but can be had new for $20 from the KMart in Meridian, between George Street and Filleul Street. There is another recycling shop called "The Recover Store" at the Dunedin Landfill on Brighton Road, Green Island.
Dunedin's hills are extremely steep but the town centre is reasonably flat. There is an excellent flat ride out along the western shore of the Otago Peninsula to Harington Point, although it's a narrow road shared by lots of tour buses. A cycle track runs along of the industrial eastern shore of the harbour, about half way to Port Chalmers (busy highway the rest of the way).
If you like a bit of a hill-climb, ride out along North Road to the Organ Pipes, a collection of rapidly-cooled volcanic lava formed into vertical columnar basalt. The walk along a bush track up to the Pipes themselves is very scenic and well attended by small, harmless wildlife. The ride up along the ridge of the Peninsula to Lanarch Castle is also good high-energy exercise.
If you like pushing a bike up a hill because it's too steep, dive off North Road onto Norwood Street, or cross to the east side of the Peninsula, or head straight up the hill behind The Octagon past the Beverly-Begg Observatory to suburbs with a view like Roslyn.
- 1 Dunedin Railway Station. Described as "the outstanding monument of Edwardian architecture in New Zealand", this is the best-known building in Dunedin (apart, perhaps, from Forsyth Barr Stadium). Opened in 1906, it has an atmosphere and character unique to any public building in New Zealand.
- 2 Toitū Otago Settlers Museum, 31 Queens Garden, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily except 25 Dec. Oct-Mar 10:00–17:00, Apr-Sep 10:00–16:00, open Th until 20:00. First opened in 1908, this newly (Jan 2013) refurbished museum housed in the stunning, original Edwardian galleries and Dunedin's former art deco New Zealand Railways Road Services bus station next to the railway station, focuses on the people and history of the region. The museum is a short walk from the Octagon and is between the Chinese Garden and the historic Railway Station, in the cultural heritage precinct. Wi-Fi is free throughout the museum and a free bag and coat check is available in the Josephine Foyer. A cafe is available in the entrance foyer. Free.
- 3 The Octagon. in the city centre has an octagonal shape instead of the standard square and features a statue of Scottish poet Robert Burns. This statue was unveiled in 1887 and was recently restored. It was cast by sculptor Sir John Steell of Edinburgh, Scotland, who made four other, nearly identical, statues, one of which stands in Central Park, New York. Several significant buildings are adjacent to the Octagon, including the Public Art Gallery, St. Paul's Anglican Cathedral, the Town Hall and the Regent Theatre.
- 4 Dunedin Public Art Gallery, 30 the Octagon, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: email@example.com. Daily 10:00–17:00 except 25 Dec. This gallery displays both local and international work in a modern building. Established in 1884, the Gallery was New Zealand’s first Art Gallery and is renowned today for the richness of its historic collection. Historical works by renowned artists such as Turner, Gainsborough, Claude, and Machiavelli feature alongside the only Monet in a New Zealand collection and master works by Derain, Tissot, Burne-Jones and internationally acclaimed Dunedin artist Frances Hodgkins. Free.
- 5 Otago University. Has some great old buildings to wander about and see; when classes are on it's a good place to sit, people-watch and take it all in, some good food/cafes/bars are nearby too.
- 6 Otago Museum, 419 Great King Street. was founded in 1868 and has a collection of over two million artefacts and specimens from the fields of natural history and ethnography. There is also a (paid entry) "Discovery World Tropical Forest". This features a variety of flora and fauna from around the globe, as well as many species of butterfly from Asia and South America. There are around 1,000 butterflies flying at any one time, and the Forest also has tarantulas, birds, fish, turtles and geckos.
- 7 Forsyth Barr Stadium. A futuristic rugby and soccer stadium, opened in 2011 for the Rugby World Cup, it is fully enclosed with a grass surface — the only such stadium in the world. (The roof is transparent, allowing grass to grow.) Some are already starting to call the stadium the "Greenhouse of Pain" — a play on "House of Pain", the nickname of Carisbrook, the stadium it replaced. Stadium tours $15.
- 8 Dunedin Botanical Gardens. occupying over 50 hectares (123 acres) in the north end of the city; an excellent place to stroll for several hours. Has an aviary along with many themed garden areas such as Rhododendron, Azalea and Rose Gardens.
- 9 North Dunedin. not your traditional attraction but a stroll through the student accommodation filled streets around the university can give you a real insight into Dunedin student life. Many of the often run down flats have their own names, and on the right sunny day the area comes to life as couches are dragged out onto the streets so the students can enjoy the sun and a few beverages. Castle St and Hyde St are two of the most famous flatting streets. The area does often get a bit rowdier in the evenings.
- 10 First Church, 415 Moray Place. Services Sun 10:00, (12:00 Cook Islands Service, 14:00 Samoan Service) open most other days for viewing - enquire locally. One of the most impressive churches in New Zealand, looking like an English cathedral. Dunedin's primary Presbyterian church, built of Oamaru stone 1868-73 to a Spire is 56m high, making it the tallest building in Dunedin. Free, donations welcome.
- 11 St. Paul's Cathedral, 228 Stuart St (The Octagon). 10:00-16:00. Anglican cathedral with the main construction being between 1915 and 1919, but this did not finish the original plans, and the building was finish with a modernist chancel built 1969-71.
- 12 Knox Church, George Street. Services Sun 10:00 and 19:00, viewing on most other days. The largest church in Dunedin, used by a Presbyterian congregation. Built of bluestone and Oamaru stone, with a wooden ceiling between 1872-76 to design by Robert Lawson.
- 13 St. Joseph's Cathedral, 300 Rattray Street. Catholic Cathedral built 1878-86, but the original design was never completed.
- 14 Cadbury World, 280 Cumberland St, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily tours running every half hour from 09:00-15:30, with hours extended to 19:00 during the summer. Closed 25-26 Dec, 1 Jan and New Year's Holiday.. Take a guided tour of the Cadbury Chocolate Factory, a factory that accounts for more than 75% of New Zealand's chocolate production. Full tour $22, weekend short tour $16, centre only $5.
- 15 Speight's Brewery, 200 Rattray St, e-mail: email@example.com. Shop hours: M-Th 09:30-19:00, F-Su 09:30-17:00. Tours daily at 10:00, 12:00, 14:00. Closed Christmas Day, Good Friday, Easter Saturday and Sunday, and shortened hours on ANZAC day. Children under 15 require adult supervision. The brewery has been a Dunedin landmark since its founding in 1876. The guided tour takes you through the Speight's brewery, sharing the heritage and culture of beer, from the Babylonians to today. The tour's finale is a 25 minute beer tasting. You must be 18 years or over to join in on the tasting.
- 16 Fortune Theatre, 231 Stuart St. corner of Stuart St and Moray Pl. Housed in a converted stone church, the Fortune Theatre provides professional live performances to the citizens of Otago.
- 18 Olveston, 42 Royal Terrace, ☎ . 09:30-16:00. Olveston homestead provided the Theomin family with the perfect setting to entertain both professional and personal friends. Seven servants were employed to service the 35 rooms of the home and to manicure the acre of beautiful garden. The home is sited in the inner city and is within walking distance from the city centre. $17.
- 19 Dunedin Chinese Garden, Corner of Rattray and Cumberland Streets, next to the Toitū Otago Settlers Museum (Two minutes walk from the Railway Station and five minutes from the Octagon.), ☎ . Daily 10:00-17:00. A piece of serenity in the city. The Dunedin Chinese Garden is an example of a late Ming, early Ching Dynasty scholar's garden. The only traditional Chinese garden in the Southern Hemisphere. Try some amazing dumplings and Chinese tea. An opportunity not to be missed! Adult $9.00.
Out of town
- Otago Peninsula - much scenic coastline including rugged points and headlands, wildfowl-laden mud flats and beautiful Allans Beach (plus several smaller beaches) on the south/east coast, and picturesque hamlets on the north/west coast (including a pretty and peaceful cemetery on a little spit of land called Dunoon, many boat-houses and a minuscule beach). Seals, sea-lions and other interesting fauna turn up at all of the southern/eastern beaches. Ask nicely, and the locals may even tell you where the good spots are for gathering shellfish, catching blue cod, and viewing the wildlife without having to pay for the privilege.
- The Royal Albatross colony, at Taiaroa Head is the only mainland albatross nesting site in the world. It is an hour's drive along the western coast of Otago Peninsula on a road that skirts the water for most of its length without any guardrail. In places, the city buses which frequent the road are wider than the lanes (the local traffic is used to this, and drives very carefully), so if you don't trust your driving reflexes, take a coach instead. Albatrosses may be seen during the summer months, as well as other wildlife at all times of the year. Guided tours of the colony and the old fortifications on and under the headland are conducted daily.
- Armstrong Disappearing Gun, End of the peninsula near the Albatross colony. All hours. This Armstrong Disappearing Gun was installed in May 1889 and was recommissioned during World War II. It is still in its original gun pit. Coastal fortifications were constructed in New Zealand in two main waves. The first wave occurred around 1885 and was a response to fears of an attack by Russia. The second wave occurred during World War II and was due to fears of invasion by the Japanese. The fortifications were built from British designs adapted to New Zealand conditions. Free.
- Larnach Castle. Also on the peninsula, billed as "the only castle" in New Zealand, it's very pretty but technically only a manor house. There is another (ruined, but being restored) building in the same predicament called Cargill's Castle in the southern suburbs of Dunedin. Lanarch Castle has a rich and interesting but rather unhappy history.
- 20 Tunnel beach. Closed for lambing 1 Aug – 31 Oct.. The story goes that crazy old Cargill had a steep tunnel cut through the stone cliff, so his daughter could go to the beach. Some stories say she later drowned, but it's a lovely beach all the same, and the tunnel is very spooky. You need to walk over farmland to get there, so access is banned during lambing. See the visitor's centre in the Octagon for further information.
- The Organ Pipes - small columnar rock formation set in a hillside with splendid views. Pleasant hike up a steep bush track from a car park about 5 km (3 mi) out of town along North Road. The track continues up from the Organ Pipes to the peak of Mount Cargill (676 m; 2,218 ft) which gives panoramic views across the city, Otago Harbour and Peninsula, and the surrounding countryside.
- Otakou Marae - a Maori church and meeting-house, which gave the Otago Peninsula its name. Find it on a side-road near Harington Point, at the outer (north-east) end of the Peninsula.
- Orokonui EcoSanctuary, Blueskin Rd (on the scenic route between Port Chalmers and Waitati), ☎ . Daily 09:30-16:30. Home to some of New Zealand's most fascinating and rare wildlife and providing visitors with exceptional experiences while allowing native flora and fauna to live naturally in a safe haven. A 307 ha enclosure inside an 8.7 km pest proof fence, it provides a chance to see Kaka, Tui, Bellbirds, Tuatara, Kiwi and more in a native setting. Offers daily guided tours and night tours twice a week. The visitor centre has free entry, but passengers on identified cruise ship tours are charged $5 for a mandatory tour.
- 1 Baldwin Street. Located in Dunedin's North East Valley suburb. According to Guinness World Records it is the steepest street in the world, with a 1:2.86 gradient (that is, it rises one metre for every 2.86 metres travelled). Take the ten minute walk to the top or drive up to enjoy the view looking down! There is a drinking fountain at the top. Some people have tried, and a few have succeeded, cycling all the way up Baldwin Street - try it if you're a keen cyclist. That said, you will need to be careful coming back down - chances are the cycle's brakes will do little to slow a descent at such an incline!
- Baldwin Street Gutbuster. Take part in a run up and back on the world's steepest street during the city's summer festival.
- Swim or surf the beaches. much more fun if you wear a wetsuit to combat the ocean's chill. Saint Clair beach is the most popular, closest to the city and (along with the adjoining St Kilda) is regularly visited by a wide array of wildlife, such as seals, blue penguins and sea lions and the very occasional shark. St Clair beach also features an esplanade with cafes/bars/restaurants, together with a salt water swimming pool at its western end, and a surf school with wetsuit and board rental which operates in the summer. There are also a number of other less populated local beaches a short drive away from the city, including Aramoana, Long Beach, Warrington Beach, Tunnel Beach, Brighton, and Sandfly Bay. St Clair, St Kilda, Warrington and Brighton beaches are patrolled by life guards on summer weekends and daily at the height of summer.
- Go to a rugby game. A huge part of Otago culture. From February until August the Highlanders and then the Otago NPC team play games at the roofed Forsyth Barr Stadium. Otherwise there are local club games that you can watch for free at parks around town on Saturday mornings.
- Watch a cricket game. Cricket replaces rugby as the national sporting pastime when summer arrives (although the national cricket team, the Black Caps, enjoys considerably less success than the All Blacks). National level cricket games are played at the University Oval throughout the summer, along with the occasional international match, and on a sunny day its a great way to spend your time. Otherwise, as with rugby, local club games can be watched around the town at weekends.
- Taieri Gorge Railway, ☎ . A sightseeing train trip travelling through spectacular scenery. It departs from the historic Dunedin Railway Station in central Dunedin and ends at the small village of Middlemarch. Departing daily it takes you on a journey through the rugged and spectacular Taieri River Gorge, across wrought iron viaducts and through tunnels carved by hand more than 100 years ago. Take your camera and lots of memory. The same company runs trips on the Christchurch line as far as Palmerston, about 2 hours away. These go about twice a week in the summer.
- Tramping. Dunedin has some of the most easily-accessible tracks of any city in NZ. In less than half an hour you can be in pristine bush far from the worries of the world. Ask about Green Hut Track, Carey's Creek, Possum Hut, Rosella Ridge, Yellow Ridge, Rocky Ridge, Rongamai, Honeycomb, Powder Creek, Long Ridge, Swampy Ridge, Leith Saddle, Burns, Rustlers, Nichols Creek, Nichols Falls, to name just some of the fabulous tramping tracks around this city. Ask at the Visitor Centre or get "The Ultimate Tramping Guide for around Dunedin" at DoC ($10) and cut loose.
- Moana Pool is a public pool with water slide and spa, and is a 5 minute walk up Stuart Street from the Octagon.
The University of Otago (Māori: 'Te Whare Wānanga o Otāgo') is internationally recognised and New Zealand's oldest university. It had over 21,000 students enrolled during 2011.
The university has New Zealand's highest average research quality and in New Zealand is second only to the University of Auckland in the number of A rated academic researchers it employs. Probably the most internationally famous research to come out of Otago is the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study (or "Dunedin Study" for short), which has followed 1037 people born in Dunedin during 1972-73 since age three and is arguably one of the richest sources of human health and development data in the world.
The Otago Polytechnic focuses on skills based, technical education and occupational training, offering a range of New Zealand accredited degrees, diplomas and certificates in many areas of interest
The students in Dunedin are referred to as scarfies and are well know throughout New Zealand for their antics. Much of the student accommodation in Dunedin is located in close proximity to the University in old houses known as 'flats'. The majority of the houses in North Dunedin around the university are student flats, creating a student 'ghetto'. Dunedin is known for having a tightly woven active student culture with many well known traditions, ranging from the toga party for first years to the infamous Hyde Street keg race.
The main industry sectors contributing to Dunedin's economy are property services, education, business services, health services and food manufacturing. Communication, Government administration and tourism are all big industries.
Dunedin's main employers (employing more than 2000 people) are the University of Otago and the Otago District Health Board.
Other large employers are the Dunedin City Council and Cadbury Confectionery Ltd.
Most Dunedin shopping is on George Street north of the Octagon, centred around the Meridian/Golden Centre/Wall Street mall complex. There are also a number of souvenir shops near the octagon.
For the freshest local organic produce, including fruit, vegetables, eggs, bread, cheese, check out the Farmer's Market. Held at the railway station Sa 08:00–12:30, it is a Dunedin institution and one of the best places to try local food. It has delicious delicacies such as crepes (including gluten free), the deservedly famous "bacon buttie" (far corner from the Railway Station, look for the crowd), whitebait fritters, and baking as well as fresh fruit and vegetables. It's rated as one of the best farmers markets in New Zealand.
One Dunedin favourite is the cheese roll - a mixture of grated cheese, onion and soup mix in a toasted rolled slice of bread, a speciality of the southern part of the South Island, available in cafes.
Lower Stuart Street, around the Octagon and the northern part of central George Street (including the side streets) have the majority of Dunedin's restaurants. There are also a few interesting places on Albany Street, which runs across the south of the University of Otago. There is a full range of ethnic cuisine available, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Italian, Turkish, Malaysian, Thai, Filipino and Indian.
Fish and chips are the classic cheap eats: the minimum serve of chips usually costs around $1.50 and will fill you up. Best Cafe on Lower Stuart Street is often rated as one of the best in town. Being a student town, you can expect to find some very cheap take-away food near the university campus: you will pay $3.50-4.00 for a teriyaki chicken riceball from many sushi stores, the Flying Squid (Squiddies) on Albany Street sells hearty burgers for $3.50 at lunch time, and you can get a decent sub sandwich from Frankly Sandwiches in the University's 'link' (corner of Albany and Cumberland Street) for around $5.
Hot kumara chips are made from a sweet-potato variant and are typically priced at about double the cost of potato chips.
Cones of ice cream sell for reasonable prices at many places, including little delis and general stores at places like MacAndrew Bay (e.g. $2.50 for a giant ice-cream at the Rob Roy on the corner of George and Albany St).
McDonalds is at 232 George Street, with an internet cafe is attached. A second McDonalds, and a variety of fast food outlets, can be found in North Dunedin near the end of the one-way going north (Great King Street - "Fatty Alley"), and even more fast food places are located on the way to South Dunedin on Anderson's Bay Road.
The Friday bakery in Roslyn village is recommended; it is open only on Friday mornings, and hungry, in-the-know locals tend to clear it out of its stock of delicious baked pastries and meat pies rather quickly.
- Best Cafe, Lower Stuart St, is a well known 'old fashioned' fish and chip shop.
- Countdown Supermarket, Moray Place (about a 2 min walk from the Octagon) standard supermarket fare, open 24 hours.
- Circadian Rhythm Vegan Cafe, 72 St Andrew St, ☎ . offers a buffet for just $8.50. And they are gluten and dairy free.
- Good Oil on George St has premium ALLPRESS espresso coffee, fantastic edibles from the cabinet made fresh daily, and a full à la carte brunch menu available, also on Fridays from 18:00 they host some of Dunedin's top acoustic musical talent with fantastic Central Otago wines and locally brewed ales available.
- Modaks, is a popular cafe on the north of central George St.
- Pasha Cafe and Bar, 31 St. Andrew St, ☎ . Offers doner kebabs for $11+. Popular with locals lunch spot 12:00-14:00, prices are higher for dinner.
- Rhubarb, 299 Highgate, Roslyn, ☎ . M–Th 07:00-18:00, F 07:00-19:00, Sa 08:00-18:00, Su 08:30-16:30. Licensed cafe and wine shop with a strong focus on homemade quality baking
- Satay Noodle House, Hanover St (Opposite the Hannah's Meridian entrance) has good Cambodian and Thai food at cheap prices ~$7.
- 1 Savoury Japan, 324 George St, ☎ . M-Th 10:30-20:00, F-Su 10:30-20:30. Cheap sushi and Asian dishes.
- Jizo, 56 Princes St, ☎ . Japanese restaurant. If you want to be impressed, then order one of the Katsu dishes. Deluxe Katsu is good as is the Chicken Katsu. Damn good sushi to boot.
- Zucchini Bros, 286 Princes St. (+64 3 477-9373). Fantastic pizza & pasta from the Bros. Lovely staff and the menu is tried and true. Get a no.20 pizza, and the Chicken & Mushroom pasta is hard to beat. Serving Emersons and Green Man beer. These guys deliver also.
- Etrusco at the Savoy, 8 Moray Pl, ☎ . - Great Italian meals ranging between $10 - $25. This restaurant has its fair share of long time returning locals and will definitely satisfy your need for a decent meal without having to stroll too far from the centre of town.
- Plato Cafe, 2 Birch St, ☎ . One of the best places for fresh seafood
- Bacchus Wine Bar, ☎ . Level 1/12 The Octagon, - Great place for food and wine, pre- or after dinner show.
- Scotia, 199 Upper Stuart St, ☎ . Scottish influenced New Zealand food including a whiskey bar
- Number 7 Balmac, 7 Balmacewen Rd, ☎ . Maori Hill, - Neighbourhood restaurant specialising in Modern NZ Cuisine
- Pier 24, 24 Esplanade St, ☎ . Clair, Dunedin 9012, - This classy, semi-formal, glasshouse like restaurant with waterfront views.
Dunedin is known for its vibrant nightlife, mainly stemming from its large student population. It is also home to some well known beer breweries, Speights, Emersons and to a lesser extent Green Man. There is also a strong coffee culture with a number of good cafes.
- Strictly Coffee has been on the Dunedin coffee scene for 15 years and roasts its own coffee locally. One of its 3 cafes is on Bath St (off Lower Stuart).
- Modaks on George street is a long serving popular Dunedin cafe.
- Nova in the Octagon next to the art gallery has won best cafe in Dunedin for a number of years.
- Mazagran Espresso on Moray place also roasts its own coffee and is thought of by many as the best coffee in Dunedin.
Speights was founded in Dunedin in 1876 and is now a national brand associated with Dunedin and the southern region of New Zealand. It is still brewed at the Dunedin location and brewery tours are available. The Speights brewery also makes Speight's Old Dark, and the Speights Craft Range of beer.
Emerson's Brewery Limited is a microbrewery located in Dunedin, New Zealand established in 1993. It has won numerous Australian and New Zealand awards and it is well appreciated by locals. Good places to find it on tap include Albar on Lower Stuart street and Tonic on Princess street. Riggers (plastic 1.25 L bottles) of Emersons can also be bought at Castle McAdams on Lower Stuart Street.
Green Man Brewery founded in 2006 specializes in batch-brewed organic beers brewed according to the Bavarian Beer Purity Law of 1516.
The majority of the bars are located in and around the Ocatgon and Lower Stuart street, with a few popular student bars in North Dunedin. There is a strip of bars along the east side of the Octagon with tables outside, which all fill up when the weather allows. A jug of ale costs about $10.
- Albar, beer bar on Lower Stuart street with a great ambiance and selection of craft beers.
- Bacchus, nice wine bar and restaurant in the octagon above Macs Brew Bar.
- Captain Cook, world famous in New Zealand, the last of the famous student bars of north Dunedin after the closing of Gardies and the Bowler. Very quiet in the summer but often heaving with students during the term. Sadly closed as of mid 2013, but may re-open
- Caurosel, upmarket bar upstairs on Lower Stuart St near the Octagon, with a great deck.
- Di Lusso, nice lounge bar on Lower Stuart Street.
- Pequeno, hard to find upmarket lounge bar, down the alley next to Del Sol on Moray Place.
- Pop, underground cocktail bar in the Octagon next to Macs Brew Bar, often with DJ's.
- Robert Burns Pub, 374 George Street. Nice pub on George street with live jazz on Thursday nights.
- Speights Ale House, restaurant/bar attached to the brewery.
- Stuart Street Brew Bar, popular Dunedin representative of a chain of bars on the corner in the Octagon.
- Tonic, another craft beer bar on Princes St.
- 1 Arden Street House, 36 Arden St, ☎ . B&B, homestay and en suite. 20 min walk to the Octagon. $45-130.
- 2 Central Backpackers Dunedin, 243 Moray Pl, ☎ , toll-free: 0800 4 CENTRAL. In the heart of the city, 1 minute from the Octagon.
- 3 Chalet Backpackers, 296 High St, ☎ , toll-free: 0800 242 538. 10 min walk to the Octagon. Beds, not bunks - and no more than 5 people in the largest room!
- 4 Pavlova Palace Backpackers, 74 Elm Row (5 minutes walk uphill from the Octagon), ☎ , toll-free: 0508 728 5682. Limited parking is found on the street. beds from $25, rooms from $58.
- 5 Hogwartz Backpackers, 277 Rattray St, ☎ . 5 minute walk from the Octagon. Maximum 4 share room, no bunks.
- 6 Leviathan Heritage Hotel and Downtown Dunedin Backpackers, 27 Queens Gardens, ☎ , toll-free: 0800 773 773. 2 minute walk to the Octagon. Practically next door to a 24x7 Countdown supermarket and the railway station.
- 7 Manor House Backpackers, 28 Manor Pl, ☎ . Set in 2 colonial homes and surrounded with beautiful gardens there is nowhere more pleasant to stay in Dunedin. 10min walk to the octagon. From $22.
- 8 On Top Backpackers, Filleul St near The Octagon and Moray St, ☎ , fax: . Small dorms, good clean facilities, good staff, good attitude, right next to the Octagon and two blocks from a 24/7 Countdown supermarket. Built over a pool hall and bar; one minute from most facilities including cinema, library, information centre, banks, food etc. 24/7 swipe-card access. dorm bed from $27.
- 9 Geeky Gecko Backpackers, 6 Stafford St, ☎ , fax: . Close to The Octagon and nightlife, free Internet & DVDs, local phone, pickups, on-street parking. Female-only dorm. Renovated historical Dunedin hotel. Dorms from $28.
- 10 Kiwis Nest, 597 George Street. Pleasant backpackers near the Botanic Gardens. beds from $28, rooms from $44.
- 12 Magnolia House Non-Smoking Bed and Breakfast, 18 Grendon, Maori Hill. (20 min walk to Octagon.), ☎ . Beautiful old Victorian villa set in gardens. $120 double, $100 single..
- 13 Dunedin Leisure Lodge, 30 Duke Street, North Dunedin (Opposite the Botanical Gardens.), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Offers hotel rooms & suites, all with either a balcony or patio area, free parking. Short walk to the CBD. Restaurant & bar on premises. $119-$190.
- 858 George Street Motels, 858 George St, ☎ , fax: . Motel complex within walking distance of Otago University, Polytechnic, Dunedin Hospital $130-280.
- 27 Pitt, 27 Pitt St, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: email@example.com. A quiet bed and breakfast. $220-250.
- Boutique Bed and Breakfast, 107 Jefferis Road, ☎ . 2 R. D Waikouaiti. Historic Bed and breakfast with remodelled suites set in the peaceful countryside 30 min North of Dunedin. $150.
- Fletcher Lodge, 276 High St, ☎ , toll-free: 0800 843563, fax: . Bed and breakfast with beautiful suites. $175-550.
- Living Space Dunedin, 192 Castle St, ☎ . LivingSpace provides several options of rooms, starting with a studio for $89. There are also discounts for those staying weekly or monthly. Located a block from New World Market (grocery) and Countdown (grocery), a couple of blocks from Cadbury World, and a 5 minute walk to the restored train station (and home of the very popular Saturday farmer's market.) Some rooms have self-contained kitchens, while others have kitchenettes, but all guests are invited to use the large shared kitchens, TV rooms, theatre, and computer room, located throughout the building.
- Quest Apartments Dunedin, 333 Cumberland St, ☎ . Quest Apartments in Dunedin, 40-room serviced apartment complex located in Central Business District and across the road from the famous Cadbury World Tour.
- Leith Valley Holiday Park is within decent walking range of the CBD and close to the Botanical Gardens and the Otago Museum. It has all the normal holiday park facilities including showers, kitchen, internet access, etc. Although it caters mostly to camper vans and motor homes, campers with bikes and tents do stay there.
The city is quite safe, but try to walk in a group on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. People can get excessively inebriated and occasionally look to cause trouble. Exercise the same caution and common sense that you would in any other western city. The police station is in Great King Street, next to Countdown, the supermarket.
Dunedin Public Library has free Internet terminals and Wi-Fi. Free Wi-Fi is also available in the Octagon.
Otherwise, Internet access is available at various cafes for a fee.
- Albany Street Centre, 28 Albany St, +64 3 479-2169. M-Th 09:00-17:00. Professional counselling services.
- Octagon Amcal Pharmacy, 2 George St (at the corner of the Octagon and George St), ☎ , toll-free: 0800 ASK AMCAL, fax: . M-F 08:30-17:30, Sa 10:00-17:00. Closed 25 Dec, 1 Jan, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday.
- Fiji, 108 Cannington Road, Maori Hill, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Mr Richard Hatherly, Honorary Consul.
- Finland, c/o University of Otago, Union Court – Rm G22, Union Place, ☎ .
- France, 28 Antrim Street, Normanby, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: email@example.com. Dr Christiane Leurquin, Honorary Consul.
- Italy, 230 Forbury Rd, St Clair, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Dr Sergio Gian Salis, Honorary Consular Agent.
- Christchurch, 5 hr north
- Wanaka and Queenstown, 4 hr inland via Alexandra and Cromwell
- Invercargill, for Bluff oysters, 2.5 hr south via Gore and Mataura
- Oamaru, 1.75 hr north
- Blueskin Bay, 30 min north
|Routes through Dunedin|
|Oamaru ← Blueskin Bay ←||N S||→ Gore → Milton|