Purakanui Farmstay

33 Mihiwaka Station Road, RD 1 Port Chalmers, Dunedin, 9081, New Zealand
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Travel Tips for Dunedin

Observe Penguins for FREE

by blacksnail

Pilot Beach, used to known as ‘Hobart Town Beach’ is a place where we can see Penguins for FREE along Otago Peninsula, Thanks to the lady in 1908 for telling us about this place The Blue Penguins, smallest penguins on earth, will come home from the sea everyday at 7pm.. It was Day light saving Day, and they were back at 8pm. We arrived slightly before 7pm and waited for an hour. It was very windy but it still couldn’t stop us from waiting. there were other observants there too.. a kid showed us a sick penguin.. we could see and hear the penguin. We could see holes around the grass area, homes of the Penguins. There was a walkway for the penguins to walk up from the beach to their homes. We danced, yoga and kungfu.. while waiting. at 8pm, it was getting dark and we finally saw a group of penguins walking across the beach. We ran quickly there to observe.. too bad we couldn’t flash our cameras. They walked pretty slow.. we waited quite a while til they reached the top. Other observants told us to leave as its unfair that we disturb their (Penguins’) Privacy..

Birds, Beaches and Peace on Otago Peninsula

by Kakapo2

Although Otago Peninsula has a world reputation for the only mainland albatross colony at Taiaroa Head it is a remote place waiting to be discovered because most tourists just do not have the time to visit all the nice places in this country, and those who come to Dunedin and visit more than just the Cadbury Factory cannot do a lot more than visit the Royal Albatross Colony at the very end of the Peninsula, or Larnach Castle, New Zealand's only castle, or go on a guided tour (Elm Wildlife Tours, Penguin Place) or a boat trip (Monarch Cruises and Tours) where they can also see penguins, shags and seals.

All the other magic spots are there to be discovered by people with more time. I have been there many times, and every time for several days, but I never tire of this magic peninsula where you can watch sea and shorebirds in abundance, enjoy lonesome white beaches and go tramping on various tracks (maps at the Visitor Centre in Dunedin). The loneliness - apart from the main road from Dunedin to Taiaroa Head via Portobello - is impressive. The drive on the summit road (Highcliff Road) offers spectacular views. No exit dirt roads lead down to the beaches or at least to parking areas from where you can walk to the beaches. If you are lucky you will spot penguins and seals, especially at Alan's Beach and Sandfly Bay (penguin hide) which you reach on a walk over fabulous white sand dunes - the way back is steep uphill in the sand...

Birdwatching is fantastic from around the two inlets (Hoopers and Papanui), you see them all, from kingfisher to masked lapwing, from oystercatcher to black swan.

And then there is still more to discover in even more remote spots like Cape Saunders.

More about penguin places, the albatross colony and other birds on my "What to do" tips.

Great Rail Trip - Taieri Gorge

by Robmj

A visit to Dunedin wouldn’t be complete without taking a ride on the Taieri Gorge Railway. A live commentary is provided during the trip, which tells of the history and heritage of the area. There is also a choice of modern and traditional carriages with sight seeing stops along the way.

The Otago Excursion Train Trust was formed in 1978 to operate excursions on the Otago Central Railway line. In 1990 the line beyond Taieri was closed by the New Zealand Railways Corporation. The Trust then stepped in, in partnership with the Dunedin City Council to form the Taieri Gorge Railway Limited, purchasing the line as far as Middlemarch, along with some locomotives. The line beyond Middlemarch was lifted during 1991, and the trackbed handed over to the Department of Conservation in 1993. It is now the Otago Central Rail Trail, another major tourist attraction in the area.

The train trip is around 60kms long and passes along the Taieri river, through the gorge going over 12 viaducts and through 10 tunnels. The quick change in scenery will amaze you and you quickly get into the central Otago shist rock formations.

Check the website for timetables, generally there are daily departs from Dunedin to Pukerangi at 2.30pm and 9.30am departures to Middlemarch (start / end of rail trail) on Fridays and Sundays.

A very worthwhile trip.

Historia Railway Station

by wkcsmt

The Otago gold rush left a legacy of ornate Victorian and Edwardian buildings. The Flemish Renaissance-styled railway station is one outstanding example.

Dunedin Railway Station was opened in 1906. It is built of Kokonga basalt with Oamaru limestone facings and incorporates a variety of shapes, textures and materials. A major restoration in 1999 to bring it back to its former glory.

Visit the Albatross Colony

by Robmj

The Royal Albatross Centre nestles at the foot of Taiaroa Head on the Otago peninsula.

It is the only mainland breeding colony for any albatross species found in the southern hemisphere. The first Taiaroa-reared albatross chick flew in 1938 and this now protected nature reserve has grown into an established colony with a population of around 140 birds.

There is a centre that has a narrated video introduction, a Gallery that details the history and wildlife of the area and of course the usual eating, drinking and shopping experiences.

From the Centre, it's a short walk to the Observatory for the privilege of seeing for yourself the greatest of all seabirds. The sight of a soaring albatross is unforgettable - it seems to float in the air with a huge wing span of up to 3 metres (9'6") across, the great Albatross is capable of swooping speeds of more than 115kph.

This is a stunning setting and great experience.


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