Dunedin. What’s it got?

I know a lot of tourists to New Zealand either cap their travels at the North Island, or they venture south for the picturesque Central Otago or West Coast. Don’t get me wrong, they are stunning locations with a bunch of stuff to see and do. Those beautiful mountains, stunning waterfalls, ski fields, bungee jumping, and river rafting. They’re all there. It’s also worth remembering sunny Nelson with its great vibe, and local Saturday market. Kaikoura is also beautiful, and if you’re into whale watching it’s the place to go.

What about Dunedin? Why do I think it’s worth your while coming here? Well, gosh, where to begin?

For me personally, there are two big features that matter more than anything:

It’s the Wildlife Capital of New Zealand. You want penguins? We have penguins (Yellow-eyed and Little Blue, and one or two others). Seals and Sea Lions? Yup. Albatrosses? Indeed. And for a bunch of other bird species (Kaka, Takahe, etc) and Tuatara, you can pop along to the Orokonui Ecosanctuary. Which, by the way, is a mere 8 minutes drive from our little pocket of paradise according to Google maps. Oooh. Convenient.

And the second feature that I love about Dunedin? Well, I’m a writer, so I just adore the fact that Dunedin is New Zealand’s UNESCO City of Literature. Granted, this may not be an attraction to most tourists, but it gives us a link to other word nerds around the world, and that’s something I’m not going to complain about.

Taieri Gorge train ride

A trip on the Taieri Gorge train

What else have we got for you?

Well, Dunedin has embraced the coffee and café culture so prevalent in many metropolitan regions around the world, so if that’s your thing, we can cater to you.

Dunedin has stunning Victorian and Edwardian buildings, from its world class University, to its Railway Station and Court House. And let us not forget Larnach Castle. Some may not tell you this, but Larnach’s isn’t the only castle in Dunedin. Indeed, we also have Cargill’s Castle. Guess how many castles the rest of New Zealand has…

… I can wait…

That’s right. None. Dunedin has two, the rest of the country has none. You want to see South Pacific castles? Then come on down to Dunedin.

A door in the garden of Larnach Castle

Funny thing about castles and me… I tend to gravitate to the garden… (Larnach Castle gardens)

Linked, historically, to Cargill’s Castle is Tunnel Beach, which, apparently, has been called the most romantic spot in Dunedin. Well, if you want to be the judge of that, you’ll have to come visit.

Castles not your thing? Perhaps you prefer churches. And we have more where that came from

Recently, the Harbourside Historic Area of Dunedin has been undergoing extensive improvements, thanks to property investors and street artists from all over the world. It’s well worth the time taking the tour.

Like beaches and surfing? You want beaches? We have beaches. In fact, there’s one that’s a short drive (~7mins) from our little spot of beauty. If you’d prefer to walk, it’s about an hour and twenty minutes. I’m also in the process of researching our ability to provide horse rides (in the future) from our home to the beach and back… about two hours or so round trip, plus perhaps a gallop in the middle. Could be fun.

Love gardens? Dunedin has Gardens. We hope to maybe join their ranks down the track.

The city has been developing an extensive cycle network. Some stretches of which are more successful than others, but overall it’s a great start. So, if you like cycling, get on your bike, or hire one.

I’m proud of Dunedin’s plan to become a Dark Sky City, whereby standard street lighting is replaced by LED lighting, which emits less light pollution. Dunedin does have stunning night skies, and you don’t have to go far to see them (in fact, our little slice of paradise has a great view of the night’s beauty). Dunedin is also lucky to be far enough South to catch glimpses of the Aurora Australis (Southern Lights) when they are strong enough.

Sunrise from Signal Hill

I may have got engaged in front of this view… Yes. Very likely.

Dunedin was also the first city in New Zealand to divest from fossil fuels. Isn’t that forward thinking? A rich history and a proud future. Dunedin really is a city that knows its place in the world. Way down here at the bottom of the planet, probably the farthest possible city from London, but we won’t be left behind.

In fact, in 2014, a bunch of dedicated locals (ahem, I may have been one) took out New Zealand’s Gigatown competition, winning Dunedin a head-start in the roll out of fibre internet in New Zealand. Alright, fine, I admit, our little pocket of paradise doesn’t have gigabit speed internet. It doesn’t even get fibre (or full speed DSL)… but it will one day. But the city is attracting internet-reliant start ups to make a base here, thanks to the competition and those who fought for it.

Foggy harbour from Mornington Lookout

People may wish for a sunny day, but fog gives great photo opportunities

Once I get thinking about it, I’m blown away by all the things you can see and do in Dunedin. And I love it all. I look forward to sharing my city with guests from all over.

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