On our trip to New Zealand’s South Island we saw a lot of amazing things. One of our favorite stops was Dunedin, which lies on the east coast. There is a beautiful little peninsula called the Otago Peninsula, and there are several reasons to drive along the peninsula. This post contains 5 things to do in Dunedin that we found to be really fun.
Otago Settlers Museum
The Otago Settlers Museum was a great stop in Dunedin. We were surprised how similar the history in this hemisphere was to our American history. We read about Pioneers, goldrushes, and settlers from England and other parts of Europe. There were great interactive displays and a room to play in, as well. Best of all, the Otago Settlers Museum is FREE! Bonus: Right next door is the old train station with a free art museum. Make sure to check out the train station.
Royal Albatross Centre
The crown jewel of Dunedin is the Royal Albatross Centre. Right at the end of Otago Peninsula is a reserve for these massive birds. For a fee, you can learn about the albatrosses and how they are unique to New Zealand. Then you take a short walk out to the observation area. Huge birds with ten foot wingspans soar above the “tiny” nestlings, which are about the size of a Canadian goose. This was the highlight of our time in Dunedin.
Larnach Castle is located about halfway out the peninsula and is definitely worth a visit. Billed as the only castle in New Zealand, it was built by an early New Zealand politician. You can tour the castle and go all the way to the top tower and look out over the bay. There are also beautiful gardens and a small giftshop at Larnach Castle.
We made a short stop at the steepest street in the world. Baldwin Street is located near the center of Dunedin. Though we chose to drive up the hill, (not recommended with a manual transmission!) our boys opted to hop out and walk up the hill. We waited at the top and ten minutes later they came huffing and puffing and smiling up the hill.
If hiking is your game, don’t miss Tunnel Beach. This 2 km hike is located just south of Dunedin, and the trail leads steeply down to the ocean. Don’t forget that you have to climb back out, but Tunnel Beach is amazing. After a fifteen minute walk down, you come to a flat, grassy area. Follow the trail to the left and it enters a long, narrow tunnel that takes you down to the beach. There are beautiful views of the ocean and a large natural arch to enjoy. This was one of our favorite hikes in New Zealand!
There are lots of things to do in Dunedin, New Zealand. We had a wonderful time exploring the area. If you are looking for other things to do in New Zealand, search our website for individual city adventures.