Our Top 10 Ways to Spend a Dunedin Day
If you love walking up hills and starting every conversation with “It’s rather cold today don’t you think?” Then Dunedin is the city for you. Home of the Highlanders and the scarfie culture, Dunedin is renowned for its cold living, its vertical streets and the fact that Speights is on tap in nearly every establishment. It’s a great place live and an affordable one too as Dunedin has many locations and activities that will keep you busy at a reasonable price. We have gone ahead and listed our top 10 cheap activities to do in order to keep you busy. But, we will give you a small warning now, most of them involve the cold.
With the entrance located at 12 Opoho Rd, North Dunedin, the Botanic Gardens was New Zealand’s first public garden. The Botanic Gardens is home to thousands of plant species and countless native birds. A breath-taking place with walking tracks (both open and bush), bird aviary, duck ponds, creeks, playgrounds and a café. Dunedin’s Botanic Garden is open free to the public with its utilities open from 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. nearly every day of the year. A great place to enjoy a walk in the sun and it also acts as a nice change in scenery from the neighbouring student streets in the area.
The Otago Peninsula is home to an abundance of extraordinary marine wildlife. Whether it be the Yellow-Eyed Penguin, the Blue Penguin, the New Zealand Sea lion, the Sea Elephant or the Royal Albatross, the Otago Peninsula will leave you gasping and awing at every turn. OK, maybe not every turn as sometimes it can be rather tricky finding these New Zealand beauties since they tend to stay away from the public roads. Going for a drive around the peninsula could be an entertaining adventure for you. But, if you want to guarantee a sighting of some of the wildlife, we recommend joining one of the tours that are open to the public at a reasonable price. Check out the Otago Peninsula page for more information.
Signal Hill, reaching an elevation of 393m holsters an amazing scenic view of Dunedin and its harbour. With walking/cycling tracks beginning form Butts Rd, just off Logan Park and also street access coming from Signal Hill Rd, you can get to the view any way you please. With free access, of course, Signal Hill is open 24/7. Meaning you can visit during the day and take in a panoramic view of Dunedin or treat your eyes to the luminous beauty that is Dunedin city at night.
Maybe walking isn’t your thing and you want to please the adrenaline junky within you. Well, one of the multiple downhill biking tracks will hit the spot for you there. From easy tracks like ‘Dog Leg’ or ‘Water tank Road’ to the more difficult tracks like ‘the Haggis Basher’ and ‘Gum Drops.’ The downhill biking tracks will keep you entertained for hours. There are various map locators at key points around Signal Hill so finding your way won’t be difficult. But we recommend testing your skills on something nice sounding like the ‘Start Loop’ track before you let yourself loose on the ‘Rock Garden’ track.
Whether it’s for sun, surf, views or food, St Clair Beach is Dunedin’s place to take your family or your friends for a seaside getaway. Being only minutes away from the city centre, St Clair beach has restaurants and bars as well as New Zealand’s most consistent surf. Just be wary of the Sea lions that may be about. A legendary Sea Lion that went by the name of “Mum” gave birth to many Sea Lion pups along the Dunedin Coast. She was the first sea lion to give birth on the New Zealand mainland in over 150 years when she did so in 1993. So if you do plan on going for a picnic there, make sure you don’t take any fish with you.
OK, hear us out before you start yawning, but the Otago Museum is actually really cool! It’s free to enter and is located right beside the university, the Otago Museum contains lots of attractions and tours that will keep a variety of people entertained. You could take a seat and become immersed in the state-of-the-art Perpetual Guardian Planetarium. Or instead, you could focus on your breathing and do some Hot Yoga in the tropical forest of the butterfly exhibit. The Otago museum is full of fun for the kids and is home to a wide range of New Zealand and Otago history. Use your spare time productively and learn about your surroundings and history. It’s a win-win as it’s mostly free and you won’t feel guilty doing so.
Want to journey through a dark, ominous tunnel and come out on the other side on a secluded private beach? Well, Tunnel Beach is the place to go then. So we might have been exaggerating a little with the whole ‘dark and ominous’ aspects of the beach, but the excavated tunnel is quite a spectacular site. Located South of Dunedin off Blackhead Rd, Tunnel Beach can be reached by following the fence line of the downhill 1 km walking track. The track, however, crosses over private land so please be respectful of any livestock that you may see on the way.
Probably one of Dunedin’s most famous attractions, Baldwin Street is the steepest residential street in the world. Home to the Jaffa race and the destroyer of hamstrings and calf muscles, walking to the top of Baldwin Street is an accomplishment that is worthy of putting on your CV. Located in North East Valley off North road, the street is pretty hard to miss. We advise taking some deck chairs and a water bottle with you if it’s your first time attempting the climb as you may be stopping for a few rests along the way.
This one is a favourite for all those Instagram lovers out there, Ross Creek Reservoir is one of New Zealand’s oldest artificial lakes. Located in Dunedin and having been created in 1860, the reservoir is still used today to provide water for the country. The Ross Creek track runs as a circuit around the reservoir, great for walks and for jogging. The area is a historical location that everyone checks out, as you can’t really say you have been to Dunedin if you haven’t had a photo taken at Ross Creek Reservoir.
The only castle in Dunedin (well mock castle if we are being technical) is located on the ridge of the Otago Peninsula. The initial construction of Larnach Castle began in 1871 and was completed in 1874. The castle is made up of 43 rooms and required a staff of 46 to occupy it. Originally being built by William Larnach, it was sold in 1906 to the Barker family and now is used as a tourist attraction. Costing only $12.50 for a visit, Larnach castle and garden is a priceless beauty that allows you to go back in time and see how good some people had it.