Dunedin is blessed with an abundance of urban and natural attractions, and with two days, you can experience the best of both. In town check out the colonial-era architecture and the vibrant student culture, then take an easy day trip to the windswept Otago Peninsula. Here’s how to make the most of your time.
Day 1: Explore Dunedin City
Morning: Start the day at a streetside café in the Octagon. If you happen to be in town on a Saturday, drop by the farmers market at the Dunedin Railway Station. Otherwise, take a leisurely walk around the central city, stopping by the Dunedin Public Art Gallery and St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Afternoon: Relive your student days and wander around the University of Otago campus. Established by Scottish migrants to New Zealand, some of the older architecture has stood in for old British universities in movies. Afterward, head over to the attractive Dunedin Botanic Garden.
Night: To meet some fun-loving students while drinking cheap local beer, go barhopping in North Dunedin. The area around the university has some quieter places to grab a tasty meal. For a more sophisticated scene, make your way to the Octagon.
Day 2: Tour the Otago Peninsula
Morning: Drive or take a tour out to the Otago Peninsula, an arm of land that falls within the Dunedin city boundaries. Penguins, albatross, fur seals, and sea lions make their homes on the beaches and hills of the peninsula, and several centers provide eco-friendly tours to see the animals.
Afternoon: Continue exploring the peninsula. Or, go to Larnach Castle. Built by politician and entrepreneur William Larnach, the 19th-century mansion is a beautiful place to spend a couple of hours discovering the gardens and admiring the views.
Night: Quality theater can be quite affordable in Dunedin. Back in the city center for your final evening, see if there are any plays or musical performances on in one of the city’s independent theaters.