After the crazy of Queenstown, and a non-stop few weeks on the road, I was ready to settle down for a while and have a bit of a rest. Through a stroke of luck, I easily found myself some work for accommodation on the East Coast, and set off to Dunedin.
With a huge Scottish influence, the town is designed to be an exact copy of Edinburgh (which I have since had confirmed to be completely true!), and with a huge student population, has a very different feel to Queenstown. It was nice just to walk around and hear Kiwi accents! I wasn’t sure I’d be able to entertain myself for a full 2 weeks here, but the time flew by, and Dunedin holds some of my favourite memories from my whole time in NZ. For anyone travelling through, 2 weeks would be too long, but there’s a surprising amount of things to do to fill up a few days, and I would definitely recommend a visit! Here were some of my favourite:
Dunedin is home to the worlds steepest street! It’s certainly worth to go and take a look, even if you don’t fancy the walk to the top. I actually climbed this twice in one week (ever so easily persuaded!), and it does get slightly easier the second time. It can be walked from the town, but I was lucky enough to have company or it would have been quite a dull walk, aside from detouring slightly through the botanic gardens. If you do have access to a car it’s much easier to drive there (despite having to persuade my friend that his small hire car was unlikely to make it up the hill – we will never know if it would have made it!)
Ok so I have to be honest, this isn’t quite the same as the cadburys we Brits know and love, but still worth a trip. I was lucky enough to have a great tour guide for my visit, and there’s definitely plenty of samples to be had as they take you around some of the factory, including a tasting room and a giant chocolate drop (it’ll all make sense when you see it!). I also tasted “Jaffa’s” for the first time – much to the shock of some of the older kiwi guests on the tour who pushed me to the front to make sure I got the first samples! They don’t allow photos during the tour, but I was able to get this lovely snap with my takeaway bag of chocolate before leaving. One tip – your receipt gives a discount for the attached café, which has incredible hot chocolates, so take advantage of this if you have any space left!
Otago Settlers Museum, Otago Museum & Art Gallery
Great for a rainy day (of which September holds many in Dunedin!) and all completely free, which is always a bonus for any backpacker. The settlers museum was my preferred of the two, and we spent a lot longer wandering here, as well as climbing on bikes and trying on outfits. A great place to learn more about how Dunedin came to be!
Although it’s tricky to reach without a car, I absolutely loved this beach. It was a cold, not particularly nice day, but it still looked beautiful under cloudy skies. It’s a short but very steep walk down from the car park, so prepare yourself for the walk back up the hill (it’s tougher than Baldwin Street!). As well as stunning views from the top, there’s a secret little stairway that allows you to get down onto the beach to explore/run around playing games & climbing rocks like excited kids because you have the beach all to yourself!
As well as a really beautiful drive, heading out to the peninsula takes you out to the Royal Albatross Centre, and some penguin viewing spots for when they return around sunset. The albatross centre has a free information centre as part of the building, but we chose not to pay and go further as sightings aren’t guaranteed. The beach is also free to access earlier in the day, so we took a chance to see some penguins, but unfortunately weren’t so lucky. We did see plenty of seals lazing around, so still worth the visit You are able to stay later and pay to access the beach later when sightings are more likely, but we chose not to.
Walking through Town
There’s some pretty cool buildings to be seen around town, especially in the Octagon area, which is also close to the First Church of Otago. There’s some great second hand book shops close to here as well. The train station is a huge old building, and definitely worth a wander down to see. I’d recommend visiting on a Saturday morning to visit the local farmers market at the same time – great coffee, heaps of food, and gluten free crepes!! It’s no wonder I loved it! (Can’t resist a good weekend market wherever we are in the world!!). There are also some great bars and restaurants in the area – Madame Woo’s had great Asian food (perfect when you put a gluten free & a vegetarian together!!), The Perc is a perfect place for good coffee and brunch, and in keeping with the Scottish theme – Scotia Bar was a cute whisky bar, with a huge selection of whisky and wine. That being said, doing loops of the Octagon on a Saturday night you’ll certainly find at least one of the bars suits what you’re looking for!
My accommodation for my time in Dunedin was Central Backpackers, which is in a great location right in the middle of town, and walking distance to all of the town based activities above. I met some amazing people during my time here, and definitely recommend it for a stay ( I hear the reception staff back in September were particularly wonderful as well!)
It’s never easy to leave a place you’ve become attached to, but with an absolute Hex & Peps favourite joining me for a few days on the road, it was time to love and leave, and get road trippin’ in a yellow vw beetle…
To be continued!
With kindest regards,
Have you had the chance to visit Dunedin whilst you were in New Zealand? Did you enjoy your time there? We would love to hear!