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South Island

Dunedin is located in the southeast of the South Island of New Zealand. It is a city with a lot of charm, with special buildings (such as the Dunedin Railway Station and Larnach Castle), many works of art and a great atmosphere. Dunedin is also the perfect starting place to explore the coast, with its many beaches, wildlife and rugged coastlines.

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Dunedin New Zealand

Must see & do

Larnach Castle

Did you know that New Zealand only has one castle? It is located in Dunedin. From this castle you have a beautiful view over the Otago Peninsula. Larnach Castle has been restored in its original Victorian style and is open 365 days a year. You can visit this castle to admire the beautiful gardens, view the castle from the inside, have a high tea and you can even spend the night here. Buy your tickets easily online here.

Street art walk

There is a lot of street art to be found in Dunedin, you cannot miss it when walking around or driving through it. The visitor centre has mapped out a route to find the best murals, which you can pick up there. The walk takes about an hour and a half and is a good way to see the city centre.

Beaches Vinkje

There are many beaches around Dunedin, some are suitable for surfing, some for swimming and some for example to watch seals or penguins. Brighton Beach is closest to the centre, only 20 minutes away. This beach is popular for swimming. St. Clair is a popular surf beach, Long Beach is good for rock climbing and Tunnel Beach has an impressive natural bridge over the water, best visited at low tide.

Albatross Centre

The Albatross Centre is located at the northernmost tip of the Otago Peninsula; Taiaroa Head. This is the only place in the world where Northern Royal Albatrosses nest and breed on the mainland. You can admire these animals, or one of the other 20 animal species that live there, from the observatory. Just make sure to book a tour, as only a limited number of people are allowed into the observatory per day.

Botanic garden Vinkje

The Botanic Garden in Dunedin was New Zealand’s first and was established in 1863. In 2010 the garden was recognised as a “garden of international importance” for their botanical collection and the fact that it is a public garden. This is a nice place for a picnic, a walk or to let the children play in the playground. In the spring all flowers are in bloom, in the summer there are often street performers and in the fall you can enjoy the beautiful autumn colours.


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Dunedin New Zealand

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Dunedin is a big city, but unfortunately you don’t have many options in terms of accommodation. Good hostels in particular are scarce. There are quite a few hotels and also a few camping spots. See some of my suggestions below.

Manor House Backpackers – hostel – €

This is one of the few hostels in Dunedin. It’s an old house that they converted into a hostel which gives it a nice vibe. It is a bit outside the city, about a 15 minute walk. In addition to shared bedrooms, they also offer private rooms. This hostel has a large terrace where you can bbq or enjoy the weather. Of course there is also a shared kitchen and laundry facilities. Click here for more information.


Dunedin Holiday Park – camping – €

If you have your own transportation then this campsite is a good option. In addition to camping spots where you can spend the night in your tent or RV, they also have cabins. They have affordable standard rooms for two people, but also family rooms for four people. This site is, like all campgrounds, out of town, but ideally located to visit the Otago Peninsula. Click here for more information.


Law Courts Hotel – hotel – €

This hotel is located in the heart of the city centre, a 5-minute walk from the train station and a few minutes to the Octagen (read more about this below). This is an affordable hotel with good breakfast and standard rooms. There is also a good restaurant with bar in the building. Click here for more information.


Kingsgate hotel – hotel – €€

This hotel is also located in the heart of the city centre. This is a 3.5 star hotel with spacious rooms. All rooms have their own balcony, since the building is in the middle of the centre, you have a city view from all sides. You can choose to take a standard spacious room or an even bigger room with a separate dining and bedroom. This hotel also has a restaurant with bar. Click here for more information.


Wains hotel – hotel – €€€

If you are looking for a luxury hotel with a delicious restaurant, this hotel is a great option. This hotel is also located in the heart of the city, a few minutes’ walk from many of Dunedin’s attractions. These rooms are very extensive with TV, radio, hairdryers, alarm clock, refrigerator, iron, etc. Curious about what else this hotel has to offer? Click here for more informatioe.

Getting there

Dunedin is located in the southeast of the South Island of New Zealand and is easily accessible in several ways. From Dunedin airport you can take international and domestic flights, making it easy to fly here from other places in New Zealand and some places in Australia. Dunedin is a four and a half hour drive from Christchurch and nearly four hours from Queenstown. Many buses go from Dunedin to all kinds of destinations on the South Island.

Day trips

Catlins Vinkje

The Catlins is a coastal nature reserve about a 2.5 hour drive southeast of Dunedin. The Catlins is a beautiful area with many beautiful viewpoints, waterfalls and wildlife. There are also many activities to do such as walking, cycling, canoeing, horse riding and golf. A few highlights include Nugget Point, Parakaunui Falls, Cathedral Coves, and Slope Point. Read here about 12 sights you must visit in the Catlins. In the Catlins you can spot seals, sea lions, Hector dolphins, whales, albatrosses and penguins. It is also possible to swim with the dolphins in Curio Bay.

Otago Peninsula Vinkje

There is much to do on the Otago Peninsula and it is ideal for a day trip. As explained above, the Albatross Center and Larnach Castle are on the peninsula, but there is much more to experience. For example, go to Pilots Beach to spot fur seals or to Te Rauone Beach to see sea lions. There is also a fort on the Peninsula; Taiaroa Fort. Here you can learn everything about the military history of New Zealand and you can walk through the underground tunnel system. The Peninsula is also stunningly beautiful! If you do not have a car available, you can also visit all these places during a tour.


Oamaru is an hour and a half drive north of Dunedin. Oamaru is known for the blue penguins that walk through the village in the evening / night, so it is a good place to spend the night here. You don’t need to take a tour to see the blue penguins, but you do need to know where to find them, the visitor centre has the best information. There are also hikes to do and sea animals to spot. The yellow-eyed penguins can be seen in Oamaru, but because they are very shy, this is a lot more difficult. Read about my adventure in Oamaru here.

Makoha tips

Signal Hill Lookout

Signal Hill Lookout is about a fifteen minute drive from the centre of Dunedin and gives you a beautiful, panoramic view of the city and sea. There is a parking lot near the viewpoint, but you can also walk here. It is about an hour’s walk from the Botanic Garden, the last 20 minutes are steep. You can also mountain bike on Signal Hill, there are many different routes with different difficulty levels.


I am Dutch and in the Netherlands we love to soak up the sun on patios in summer. Usually I don’t see this much abroad, but Dunedin has them! It is still not comparable to the large markets full of patios we have at home, but there are many places to enjoy the sun with a drink, especially at the Octagon.

Steepest street in the world

You may have heard about it, but the world’s steepest inhabited street is in Dunedin; Baldwin street. This street has a gradient of 35% and rises from 30 to 100 meters. In reality, this is not an amazing sight, but it’s nice to drive by if you are in the area. You can also try to drive on the street, but you need a good car for this!

* A street in Wales took over this title in July 2019.

Other destinations near Dunedin



Milford Sound

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