Dunedin is a small city located in New Zealand's far South-East. In it's early days it was one of the busiest cities in the country, but today it's a sleepy little town that's easy to get around that has a multitude of things to see and do. Dunedin punches well above its weight.
Things to do
With its compact city centre packed with numerous historical churches and buildings there is a lot to take in before even leaving the city limits. Namely, the old railway station better known in the old days as Gingerbread George is a major city sight in itself, but while there we highly recommend you book a sightseeing trip on one of the trains. If you are pressed for time, check to see whether the 90 minute Waitati Seasider is running. On the other hand, if you have a bit of time up your sleeve, take the 4 hour Taieri Gorge trip. It will take you through the dramatic scenery of the gorge, over a number of very high viaducts and the trip provides an insightful commentary along the way. And if the weather in Dunedin isn't too flash, you may be pleasantly surprised by better weather in the gorge.
Another thing to do is take a scenic drive around the Otago Peninsula. This will take you past the Harbour Cone, which showcases Dunedin's volcanic history and through quaint little seaside towns like Portobello. As you continue on you will reach Taiaroa Head where you can see albatross, seals and yellow-eyed penguins. Numerous tours run from the area to get you close to the action.
Nearby hidden gem
Many travelers venture the 76kms to Moeraki Boulders, but few stop at Shag Point Nature Reserve that is right on the way. If you are hoping to get up close and personal with some seals, this is the place to do it! We got there at about 9am and stayed for one and a half hours. For most of that time we had the place to ourselves and the fur seals were everywhere (even right beside the viewing platform). See them sleep, swim and play! And they were just as curious to see us as we were to see them. It's a great place to see shags and other seabirds as well!
For a great location and good quality at an affordable price, it's hard to go past the Scenic Hotel at 123 Princes Street. Located in the heart of the city, this clean comfy hotel has spacious rooms that include a proper table to sit at along with tea and coffee making and a fridge. Free wireless internet and a free newspaper are also bonuses. There is valet parking in a parking garage, but plenty of street pay and display parking is also available. This parking is free between 6pm and 9am.
For great pub food, head to Mac's Brew Bar on Stewart Street. With funky decor, a great vibe, and delicious food, this place won't disappoint. As the name suggests, they have Mac beer on tap along with a variety of other choices in bottles. The burgers and chips definitely won't disappoint and the sliders looked great. Live music on Saturdays just adds to the atmosphere. For something special If you are looking to splash out a little, try Etrusco at the Savoy at 8 Moray Place. It serves up Italian food that will keep you coming back. We had the Pane Al'Aglio and Schiacciata with salami to start. Absolutely amazing! We followed this up with Sugo Di Carne and Nonno. There is a bit of chilli in the Nonno, but it's not spicy. Both dishes had the pasta cooked al dente and were seasoned beautifully. We topped off the meal with two delicious desserts and coffees. We went another day and had soup, salads and antipasto and nothing disappointed!