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Dunedin and Otago Peninsula: sights and places to visit

The Scottish town of Dunedin is on the South Island of New Zealand and is definitely worth a stopover. We’ve been here twice and in New Zealand we’ve rarely felt so much as if we were on European soil.

The best thing: Dunedin is a perfect starting point to explore the scenically incredibly fascinating Otago Peninsula . City and nature are very close together here and that is what makes the region so attractive to us. In this blog article we tell you which sights and excursion destinations you should not miss in Dunedin and on the Otago Peninsula.

1. What to expect in Dunedin and on the Otago Peninsula Dunedin isn’t called the “Edinburgh of New Zealand”( for nothing designated. The town was founded by Scottish settlers and there really is no denying its history. One of these buildings, which is immediately reminiscent of Scotland, is the imposing Railway Station in the center of Dunedin.

What we don’t like about Dunedin is the large number enthusiastic about the sights (they are really manageable in the center), but rather the flair of the city. Dunedin looks very young thanks to the large university. So there are plenty of great cafes and there is also a lot going on in the evenings.

Dunedin is also a perfect base for exploring the Otago Peninsula (also known as the Otago Peninsula). There you can admire the fascinating wildlife of New Zealand up close, including seals, penguins and albatrosses.

By the way: In case you’ve always wondered how Dunedin is pronounced – here’s the answer: You say “Daniedin”). Many a time we got confused looks with our strange pronunciation until we finally figured out how to pronounce Dunedin correctly.

How much time should I allow for Dunedin and Otago Peninsula? If you want to explore Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula with as little stress as possible, then we recommend that you plan three nights. So you can take a whole day for both Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula. Of course you can also explore a lot in just two nights. We ourselves have already been to Dunedin twice and spent three nights in the region each time.

2 . Dunedin: Sights & our tips Signal Hill In the north of Dunedin you will find the most famous vantage point in the city: Signal Hill. Although you “only” narrowly 818497 meters high, you have a beautiful view of Dunedin and the sea. Although the weather didn’t quite play along during our visit, we still really liked it up here.

We recommend you to come at sunset. Then the lighting mood is simply at its most beautiful. By the way, you can easily drive up the winding road to Signal Hill by car or walk.

Baldwin Street Also in the north of Dunedin, not far from Signal Hill, you will find Baldwin Street. It is the steepest inhabited street in the world. At its steepest point, the incline is incredible 35%.

You can either walk down the street or drive up the street, which is not a very popular thing to do. We would only recommend the latter if you are traveling with a moderately powerful car.

Baldwin Street itself is only a few hundred meters long and – apart from the incline – fairly unexciting. Nevertheless, in our opinion, a stopover is worthwhile. One can actually feel a bit sorry for the residents of the street, because some people come to this otherwise quite quiet residential area to take a picture of the street.

Historic Buildings: Railway Station, Octagon & University of Otago There are numerous Scottish-influenced buildings scattered throughout the city. In our opinion, you will find the most impressive at three locations. One of the prettiest (if not the prettiest) buildings in the city is the railway station building (“Dunedin Railway Station”), which stands practically in the city centre. Today it is hardly used, but both inside and outside it is a real architectural jewel.

The “Octagon” is – as the name suggests – an octagonal square and something like the main square of Dunedin. Here you will also find some sights, including St. Paul’s Cathedral or the town hall (“Dunedin Town Hall”). The Octagon is only a few minutes’ walk from the railway station.

We also find the University (“University of Otago”) well worth seeing. It is New Zealand’s oldest university and the reason why downtown Dunedin looks young at heart: the university counts over 25. Students. We highly recommend a stroll around the University of Otago campus. The university is located just north of the city center, approximately 20 Walking distance from the Railway Station.

Otago Farmers Market New Zealand is known for its farmers markets, which always take place on weekends. You can find them all over the country. Anyone who knows us can already imagine that we didn’t miss an opportunity to visit them.

We particularly liked the Otago Farmers Market in Dunedin. It takes place every Saturday from 8 to : 20 Clock right next to the historic station building instead of. To up to 30 Market stalls you will find a lot of delicacies here. Not only do they sell fresh fruit and veg, you can also sample a variety of goodies, including bagels, pies, falafel, and of course sweets. By the way, we got a parking space near the market without any problems.

Tunnel Beach About 15 A drive south of the center of Dunedin is one of the most spectacular stretches of coastline in New Zealand, in our opinion: Tunnel Beach. A approx. 15 minutes, relatively steep path leads from the parking lot down to the craggy coast.

If if you want, then a narrow tunnel will take you the last few meters down to the water. At low tide you can walk along the beach here. But don’t worry: we were there at high tide and the place was just as impressive. Overall, we would recommend that you allow at least 1.5 hours for the visit. Depending on your level of fitness, the way uphill takes a little longer due to the incline.

Delicious brunch: The corner store In Dunedin there are lots of hip cafés. Along Stuart Street (between the Octagon and the Railway Station) there is one cool place after another. Our favorite is “The corner store”. Breakfast & brunch is served here seven days a week. The menu is typically “hipster” with just the right amount of creativity. We had breakfast there and were very impressed. Quite apart from that, the interior is pretty cool too.

Address: 134 Stuart Street, Dunedin

3. Otago Peninsula: Sights & the most beautiful beaches We have already been to the Otago Peninsula twice. Each time we took a full day to explore . The distances are quite far, so we would recommend you to drive.

We drove our entire New Zealand trip with a private vehicle on road. We also strongly recommend this, because this is the only way you can flexibly head for all destinations. We booked our rental car through Sunny Cars.

Sandfly Bay One of the places that impressed us the most on our first trip to New Zealand was Sandfly Bay. We found this beach quite by accident and spontaneously made our way through the sand dunes down to the water. And arrived at the bottom? Yes, for the first time in our lives we saw seals up close.

Sandfly Bay is the for us )The epitome of wild New Zealand. There is just something magical about the combination of sand dunes, strong currents and wildlife. If you want to visit Sandfly Bay, you first have to go down the steep sand dunes and then of course climb them up again. A little tip: When you get to the bottom of the beach, be sure to walk to the end. On both visits we have been able to observe a huge seal colony at the eastern tip.

By the way, Sandfly Bay does not bear its name because of the sandflies, of which there are plenty in New Zealand. The naming would be logical, but is not correct. Instead, the beach is called that because the wind regularly whirls the sand across the entire dune landscape.

How do I get to Sandfly Bay? From the center of Dunedin, the drive to the car park takes just under half an hour. The path takes you via Highcliff Road and then Seal Point Road. You can park your car directly at the parking lot.

The approx. 04-minute walk from the parking lot down runs first on an ordinary dirt road. However, you have to walk half the way through the sand. The way back up is many times more strenuous, as you naturally sink quite a bit in the sand and slide down again and again. Depending on the temperature, this can be quite exhausting. But it’s not something an average fit person can’t do, so don’t worry. Believe us: It’s worth it!

Allans Beach Allans Beach is much more accessible than Sandfly Bay. Only a 3-minute walk separates you from the parking lot from this lonely beach. Here, too, you have a great chance of observing wild seals. The nature at Allans Beach is not quite as spectacular as at Sandfly Bay, but of course the beach is still very beautiful.

How do I get to Allans Beach? From Sandfly Bay it is just 20 drive to Allans Beach. You drive back to Highcliff Road. Follow this to Portobello and turn onto Allans Beach Road. You can park your car in the parking lot. From there it is only a 3-minute walk over level terrain to the beach.

Albatross Colony At the northernmost tip of the Otago Peninsula, on Taiaroa Head, is the only mainland albatross colony in the world. To be honest we can’t be too fond of birds personally very excited. BUT: When such an albatross suddenly circled over us, we were admittedly a bit humbled.

The wingspan of such an albatross is about 3 meters. You only realize how big these seabirds are when you see them with your own eyes.

You can book various guided tours at the Royal Albatross Centre. , including ones where you can see little penguins. We decided against a guided tour. You won’t get that close to the Royal Albatrosses, but you can see them flying in the sky without a guide.

4. More excursion tips from Dunedin to the north In the north of Dunedin there are two very interesting destinations for a day trip. If your itinerary takes you past here anyway (e.g. because you are traveling from Lake Tekapo), then it is best to make a stop here. If not, then we think it’s worth the drive from Dunedin – provided you’ve already seen the highlights of Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula.

Katiki Point About an hour’s drive north of Dunedin is Katiki Point, a spectacular headland known for wildlife viewing to be able to. About 10 The walk from the parking lot along the rough coast takes minutes.

You will almost certainly meet countless seals here . Nowhere else in New Zealand have we seen as many seals as at Katiki Point. And: We were quite lucky and even spotted two penguins. Be sure to keep enough distance from the animals!

Moeraki Boulders From Katiki Point the famous Moeraki Boulders are only an approx. 10-minute drive away. From the parking lot, a short walk takes you directly to the beach, where you can admire the famous spherical rock formations. Small warning: there were countless other tourists with us. So the Moeraki Boulders are anything but an insider tip.

5. Our accommodation tip in Dunedin We stayed in Dunedin for three nights and explored the region including the Otago Peninsula from there. We can highly recommend our accommodation: Aria on Bank is a motel that is very modern compared to many others in New Zealand. The apartments are on two floors. We personally thought it was great, but we can understand if it’s less suitable for some. The bed is on the upper floor. On the ground floor is the bathroom and a small living area with a kitchenette (note: there are only hotplates in the slightly more expensive apartments).

The motel is a bit away from the city center. It’s almost a bit too far to walk: You walk approx. 25 Minutes to the Railway Station. For sightseeing in Dunedin, we simply drove by car and always found a parking space in the center without any problems.

You can book the motel here: Aria on Bank

6. More New Zealand Travel Reports Our route through New Zealand The most beautiful day hikes in New Zealand Christchurch: sights & our tips Lake Tekapo: Our Tips 818497 Transparency: This blog article contains our personal recommendations in the form of so-called affiliate links. If you book or buy something through the links, we will receive a small commission. For you, this does not change the price at all. cool thing right? For our rental car in New Zealand we have from Sunny Cars got a discount – thank you very much! Nothing changes in our opinion at all. We have booked privately with Sunny Cars several times (i.e. paid the full price) and have always had good experiences.

Have you been to Dunedin or the Otago Peninsula? We look forward to your comments and experiences!