insights from the ultimate cruising team

Top 10 Things To See and Do in Dunedin

Top 10 Things To See and Do in Dunedin

When you think of New Zealand, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Snow-capped mountains, rugged Lord-of-The-Rings terrain, glass-like lakes and probably lots of sheep! A good number of travellers to New Zealand hop-foot it straight over to Queenstown and Milford Sound and spend the majority of their time on the slopes, or whizzing through the rapids on speedboats, white water rafts or jumping off bridges on the old bungy jumps.


But what about those who aren’t real adrenaline junkies and what about those towns that are lesser-known for attracting tourists than the likes of Queenstown? Like, Dunedin, for example. Often overlooked, Dunedin is often the gateway for cruises going to the Subantarctic Islands, but unfortunately most people fly in and cruise out the next day and miss out on all that Dunedin has to offer.


We suggest you stay an extra couple of days and check out our top recommendations of things to see and do in Dunedin:

Taieri Gorge Railway - Utterly spectacular, this narrow, deep gorge has been carved out over the years by the Taieri River. Aside from offering breathtaking scenery at every turn, you can’t help but marvel at the sheer determination of the early railway pioneers who forged this railway that seems to blend so effortlessly with the landscape.



Carey’s Bay Historic Hotel – For perhaps the best seafood dinner you’ve ever experienced, be sure to head to Carey’s Bay Historic Hotel in Port Chalmers (where the ships usually dock) and order the Seafood Platter. The Seafood Chowder is a close second.



Olveston Historic Home – Opened in 1967 as a museum, Olveston is a time capsule as little has changed inside the home since it was occupied by the Olveston family between 1906-1966. Fine art, furniture and artefacts from all around the world are on display depicting the life of a wealthy merchant family from the early twentieth century.


Orokonui Ecosanctuary – Aside from spectacular lookouts over Port Chalmers and the Otago Peninsula, Orokonui Ecosanctuary offers a fantastic day of discovering multiple species of native birds, plants, fungi and reptiles. It is well worth a visit!


Toitu Otago Settlers Museum – Just a hop, skip and a jump from The Octagon, Toitu Otago Settlers Museum is undoubtedly the best place to learn about indigenous Maori, the early Chinese, early settlers, technological innovation, art, fashion, domestic life and transport. Entry is free.


image via flickr


Royal Albatross Centre – No visit to Dunedin is complete without a visit to the Royal Albatross Centre, the only place in the world where Royal Albatross nest and breed on the mainland. These incredible birds fly an estimated 190,000 km per year, nest in early November with chicks hatching late January to early February.

Otago Museum – A favourite with families, Otago Museum is very interactive and particularly good if you are travelling with kids. Engaging and hands on, you’ll learn about everything from Pacific cultures to maritime to animals to people of the world. Entry is free.


Image Emerson's Brewery

Emerson’s Brewery – If all you’re discovering has worked up a thirst, how about a visit to Emerson’s Brewery? For lovers of craft beer, you’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at the brew process from the malt room, to the fermentation, bottling and, of course, tasting.

Otago Peninsula – To really see the wildlife, we recommend taking a tour on the Otago Peninsula. Fur Seals, Little Blue Penguins, Cormorants and Yellow Eyed Penguins all call this area home. You may also be lucky enough to see Sea Lions, Leopard Seals, White Faced Herons, Black Back Gulls and Oyster Catchers.



Image via DunedinStreetart.co.nz by Alan Dove


Dunedin Street Art Trail – If you only have a spare couple of hours in Dunedin, perhaps pop on your good walking shoes and take in the Walking Tour from the city centre. Dunedin has over 30 amazing murals and artworks by local and international artists throughout the city. The self-guided walk takes around 90 minutes to complete and you can pick up a map at Dunedin’s i-Site Visitor Centre.

We have an amazing Subantarctic cruise with Ponant Cruises as well as some incredible New Zealand cruises taking in either the South Island or both North and South Islands. To find out more about these cruises, click here or click here to request a call from our Ultimate Cruising consultants about other cruises going to Dunedin.