Dunedin Things to Do

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  • Fordcore's Profile Photo

    Otago Peninsula

    by Fordcore Written Sep 10, 2010

    It's easy to think that a trip here would be a few hours max... until you get there and quickly discover that you could easily spend a few days here exploring the seemingly endless supply of beautiful landscapes. There are easily at least a day's worth of walking trails alone. The area also has some of the most amazing seaside locations I've seen in my travels. Oh yeah, lots of cute little buddies can be seen- including penguins, seals and more sheep than you'd ever care to see haha. My next trip to New Zealand is going to have at least 2 full days spent in this region alone- it is that good!

    Related to:
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Road Trip
    • Hiking and Walking

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  • balhannah's Profile Photo

    SCENIC DRIVE OTAGO PENINSULA

    by balhannah Updated Jan 23, 2010

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    Lookout over Otago Peninsula

    I hope that if you are in Dunedin, that you can do this scenic drive. There is plenty to see and do!

    Located along the way are plenty of Art Studio's and Galleries, we made a stop at "Happy Hens" for a unique souvenir from New Zealand, it's located at Portabello.

    Another stop was Larnach Castle, a beautiful Castle with just as beautiful gardens, well worth a look.

    High cliff road, which runs through the middle of the Peninsula has magnificent views.
    We did a round trip, followed the coast road one way, and came back the other.

    Our final destination was The Royal Albatross Centre is nestled at the foot of Taiaroa Head. The Royal Albatross Centre is open daily all year except Christmas Day.
    Unfortunately we were there at the wrong time of the year to view the colony, that is
    from the 24th November until the 16th September each year.
    Wildlife is prolific here, Albatross, Shags, Seals, Sea Lions, Sea Elephants, and two varieties of Penquins.

    The whole journey is only 64 kms round trip

    Related to:
    • Road Trip

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    LARNACH CASTLE GARDENS

    by balhannah Written Jan 23, 2010

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    Laburnum Arbour

    The gardens.....they are large, so be prepared for some walking as they cover 35 acres!

    Renowned as one of NZ’s finest gardens it is a top rating “Garden of International Significance”.

    They are constanly being developed to their original form, so far, it has taken 40 years of hard work by Margaret Barker who is now the owner. When they bought the Castle, there was little of the garden remaining.
    Larnach had planted a shelter belt of Cypress for wind protection on all sides, not all this has survived, because Margaret removed some, so the "Barkers" could enjoy the lovely views.
    The Laburnum Tunnel is one point where there is a spectacular vista through the tunnel and down to the harbour.
    Original framework of paths, hedges and trees and been found and established again.

    There are nine different gardens.......
    South Seas Garden, Larburnum Arch & Green Room, Patterned garden, Lost Rock Garden, Serpentine Walk, Rain Forest and Alice Lawn.
    Spring to summer is the prettiest time to visit when the perennial borders are in full flower, the Azalea's and Rhododendron's are at their best, and many others are in full bloom.
    Visit in Autumn, and the Scottish Heathers are flowering and follow the Native trail

    Make sure you look at your grounds map so that you don't miss anything!

    These are beautiful gardens, and ones that are constantly being improved, I will be returning for another visit for sure!

    Entry to the Castle's gardens and grounds, ballroom cafe, historic stables and outbuildings. Informative garden and native plant trail brochures and maps provided to assist with exploring the gardens and grounds.
    Adult $10.00 Child (5-14) $ 3.00

    Related to:
    • Castles and Palaces

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  • balhannah's Profile Photo

    LARNACH CASTLE - INTERIOR

    by balhannah Updated Jan 23, 2010

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    Bedroom in Larnach Castle
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    Larnach Castle is New Zealand's only Castle

    There is a choice of visiting everything..............
    OR..........Just the gardens...........
    Once the shell of the Castle was built, it was another 12 years to finish embellishing the interior. Expense was not an option!

    We visited the interior and saw a priceless Venetian glass wall, antique furniture and Victorian articles, ornate interior carving, detailed stonework, woodcarving, plasterwork and glass.

    If you like antique furniture then I think you will enjoy the Castle interior.

    The castle consists of forty-three rooms and a large ballroom. The Bedrooms and beds were all different style, some had matching floral curtains, bed cover, bed head, dressing table stool and even the placemats were matching!
    The baby's nursery, with its iron cot sitting in the centre of the room, dark furniture, adult paintings on the walls, nothing that made it look like a nursery, not like we do today.
    I thought the stair case was magnificent, also, the room which was complete in wood, ceiling and walls, beautiful!
    The dining rooms and sitting rooms, and others, I really enjoyed looking and seeing how they lived in the past.

    You can now stay here in one of the lodges or stables, so check out the website if you need more information.

    Entry to the Castle in 2010 including the tower, ballroom cafe, gift shop, Castle gardens, grounds, historic stables and outbuildings. Informative brochure provided, in several languages
    Adult $25.00 Child (5-14) $10.00

    OPEN.... 9am daily, last admission 5pm

    Related to:
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Architecture

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  • balhannah's Profile Photo

    LARNACH CASTLE

    by balhannah Written Jan 23, 2010

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    Larnach castle

    Larnach Castle is New Zealand's only Castle

    It is a Neo gothic Castle that has lovely architecture, carved ceilings, antiques and furnishings, it is beautiful inside and out!

    The history of this Castle is quite fascinating.
    It all began with William Larnach , of Scottish descent, being born in 1833 in New South Wales, Australia. His banking career began in Melbourne then followed the gold rush to the Australian goldfields. When gold was discovered in Otago, in the 1860's, Larnach became the manager of the Bank of Otago in Dunedin.

    When it came to building the Castle, Larnach a man of great vision, created a magnificent residence for himself and his family.

    The site he chose was on a hill, giving panoramic views of Dunedin, Otago Harbour, the Peninsula and the Pacific Ocean. The site was cleared, then approx 200 men spent 3 years building the shell of the Castle and then European craftsmen spent 12 years embellishing the interior

    Materials from all over the world were used - marble from Italy, slate from Wales, tiles from England, glass from Venice and France. No expense was spared in creating Larnach's dream home! Many New Zealand native woods were also used - kauri, rimu floors and honeysuckle panelling. In 1885 a 3000 square foot Ballroom was also added.

    Larnach was not so lucky in his love life, he was married three times and had six children. He was pre deceased by his first two wives and his eldest daughter, Kate. He took his own life in the New Zealand parliament buildings in 1898. After Larnach's suicide in 1898 the family was torn apart by legal battles over Larnach's property as he died intestate. The family then sold the Castle in 1906..

    Very nice to have a look at, we really enjoyed seeing all the antiques, unfortunately, no photos were allowed, so I had to buy a postcard set from the shop for my memories.

    We were impressed with this Castle, enjoyed the beautiful interiors, the planned garden with its plants and the views!

    Entry to the Castle in 2010 including the tower, ballroom cafe, gift shop, Castle gardens, grounds, historic stables and outbuildings. Informative brochure provided, in several languages
    Adult $25.00 Child (5-14) $10.00

    Gardens & Grounds Only (self-guided)

    Entry to the Castle's gardens and grounds, ballroom cafe, historic stables and outbuildings. Informative garden and native plant trail brochures and maps provided to assist with exploring the gardens and grounds.
    Adult $10.00 Child (5-14) $ 3.00

    OPEN.... 9am daily, last admission 5pm

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Road Trip

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  • balhannah's Profile Photo

    St. Joseph's Catholic Cathedral

    by balhannah Written Jan 23, 2010

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    St. Joseph's Cathedral

    Another impressive building, built out of Oamaru stone, is the Gothic Revival St. Joseph's Cathedral.
    It is built out of the beautiful bluestone, and was designed by F. W. Petre, who also designed the neighbouring St. Dominic's Priory. The Priory is no longer used, except for one room by the Cathedral choir. The Cathedral Chapel is situated behind the Priory, and the Traditional Latin Mass is still celebrated there every Sunday.

    L. J. Godfrey, brought to New Zealand by William Larnach to work on his "castle", carved the decorations and church furniture.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Religious Travel

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    OTAGO BOY'S HIGH SCHOOL

    by balhannah Written Jan 23, 2010

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    Otago boy's high school

    Driving through Dunedin, we saw this magnificent building, and wondered what it was! We were stunned to find out, that it was Otago boy's high school, it opened for the school in 1885.
    .....wow! fancy going to school there, we wondered how many of the students would appreciate the Historic School they were attending.

    This eye catching building was built out of Leith Valley, Port Chalmers and Oamaru stone, and is regarded as one of the finest Gothic revival structures in the country. Situated on high ground with surrounding lawn, it is a very impressive building!

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel

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    LAW COURTS

    by balhannah Written Jan 23, 2010

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    law courts building @ Dunedin

    The Law courts, built 1899, are another beautiful historic building found in Dunedin. It has four court rooms, including a lavishly decorated High Court [which I did not see] and also houses the Law Society office and library. They are located quite close by, to the Railway station.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel

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  • balhannah's Profile Photo

    TAIERI GORGE RAILWAY

    by balhannah Updated Jan 23, 2010

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    The best scenery

    We like doing rail trips, so when this one was quoted as one of the "world's greatest train trips" we decided to do it.
    The Train took us through the rugged Taieri River Gorge, across wrought iron viaducts and through tunnels carved by hand more than 100 years ago.

    We had a good time, the scenery was nice on the plains, but after that, we didn't think that much of the scenery and trip. It was quite expensive, and its one that I wouldn't say is a must do, not unless you are train buffs. I would have rather spent the money on something else. We both thought the advertising and photos made it look much better than it really is.
    Whether our view was because we had previously done the Tranz Alpine Train and that was a very good days journey or whatever!
    I will leave it up to you to make your own mind up!

    It has full commentary, photographic stops, and on board refreshments.
    You can make the return journey to Pukerangi, or Middlemarch, or use the train as the one leg of your journey to or from Queenstown and Central Otago on our connecting `Track & Trail' coach.

    We did the return journey to Middlemarch and back.

    FARES FOR 2010 are.....

    Adult Return Fare / One Way Pukerangi: $ 76.00 return - $ 51.00 one-way

    Adult Middlemarch: $87 return $58 one- way

    Children..... One child free with each accompanying adult

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    • Trains

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    DUNEDIN RAILWAY STATION

    by balhannah Written Jan 22, 2010

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    Dunedin station

    What an impressive building is the Dunedin Railway station.

    The fully restored Station is of Flemish Renaissance-style architecture, and features white Oamaru limestone facings on black basalt rock, it certainly grabs your attention!
    As in a lot of places, the station in years gone by was extremely busy, in fact, it was New Zealand's busiest, handling up to 100 trains a day. Today, and only a few use the Station, one of them being the Taieri Gorge Railway tourist train.

    The use of the station has now changed. The one kilometre main platform is the country's longest and every year in October becomes what is probably the world's longest catwalk, for the South Island's main fashion show. There is also a large restaurant and the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame and the Otago Art Society located in the building. A produce market is held in the station's grounds to the north of the building every Saturday morning.

    We had to catch a train from here, so had a good look, but if you don't still come in a have a wander around, marvel at the ceilings and the Royal Doulton tiles.

    Related to:
    • Trains
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits

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    SIGNAL HILL LOOKOUT

    by balhannah Written Jan 22, 2010

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    The bronze figures at the lookout

    What a great view we had from this lookout, the site of Dunedin’s New Zealand Centennial memorial. The views were over most of Dunedin and its harbour, fantastic!

    There are bronze figures on the memorial, these were added after the war. They represent 100 years of British sovereignty (1840 - 1940).
    The male figure, "History", represents New Zealand’s first hundred years........
    The female figure spinning, "The Thread of Life", the unfolding of the second century.

    In June 1957, plaques were added, one showing the old provincial seal of Otago province, the other three ferns.

    Embedded in the memorial is a piece of rock from Edinburgh Castle.

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    1st CHURCH

    by balhannah Written Jan 22, 2010

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    1st church Dunedin

    The 1st Church, [1862] located right in central Dunedin, is a beautiful gothic style chuch built out of Oamaru stone, and is set amongst manicured lawn & gardens, my poor photo does not do it justice! It has even been featured on a centennial postage stamp!

    Walk around all sides for different views, especially the rear, which shows its Cathedral like design.
    The church is dominated by its multi-pinnacled tower crowned by a spire rising to 54 metres. Its spire is unusual as it gives an illusion of even greater height.
    Externally, First Church successfully replicates the effect, if on a smaller scale, of the late Norman cathedrals of England.
    A beautiful church to admire!

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Religious Travel

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    Drive down the Otago Peninsula

    by Robmj Updated Nov 7, 2009

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    Map of Peninsula

    The peninsula is a real gem for the city of Dunedin. It stretchs along the southern edge of the Otago harbour and is an easy drive from central Dunedin.

    A wonderfully scenic drive will see you passing by farmland, small bays and inlets, sandy beaches, rugged hills and volcanic landforms. A good idea is to travel the harbourside road out to Taiaroa Heads and then return to Dunedin via the high road. Highcliff Road offers magnificent views. Or do this in reverse and take the high road out.

    Along the Highcliff road, you will come across Harbour Cone, a 315m hill that you should climb. Magnificent views will be your reward for a fairly steep but short bit of exercise. A number of other walkways give you access to many breathtaking views and sheer cliff faces like "The Chasm" and "Lovers Leap".

    A return journey is about 64kms and you can easily spend an entire day or more exploring the area. There are plenty of accommodation choices and several pubs and cafes along the way. In fact I would recommend you take several days to explore and stay.

    The Peninsula has Larnach Castle (the only castle in Australasia), Glenfalloch Gardens, the Marine Studies Centre Aquarium, local Arts & Crafts and the Royal Albatross Colony (also penguins and seals) and you have more than enough to do and see.

    Related to:
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Mount Cargill

    by Robmj Written Nov 7, 2009

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    View from Mt Cargill

    This is an outstanding view point on the north east verges of the city. You can have magnificent views over the city, over the Otago Peninsula or towards the northern points of Aramona, Karitane and as far as the eye can see.

    This place is a photographers paradise.

    There are numerous tracks up some that allow you to drive nearly all the way, or some that provide a pleasant but challenging climb.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Take the Nature's Wonders tour

    by BurgerQueen Written Sep 18, 2009

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    Lonely yellow-eyed penguin
    3 more images

    The only way to visit the Otago Peninsula is to take one of the tours proposed by different companies. You can either choose a boat tour, a walking tour or a 8-wheel drive! Because of the stormy weather we went for the 8-wheel drive tour, but we booked it from the Dunedin I-Site (tourist board), to be sure to find a place, even though we ended up to be almost alone, the weather was really horrible! After a milk tea and a couple of wonderful home-made cinnamon and apple muffins, we started our 8-wheel drive in the mud!!! The crew gave us some mantles, but our "jeep" was already full of water and mud and the mantles were almost useless! The ride was definitely exciting, our drivers scared us with high speed and puddle jumping, but it was part of the fun :)
    We stopped several time, and bumped into some fur seals resting on a path close to our parking area, and we were very lucky to see a yellow-eyed penguin in the early afternoon (they usually come ashore in the evening). On the way to the yellow-penguin beach, we had the chance to see some little blue penguin chicks in their nest... priceless!
    We really enjoyed the tour, and cannot imagine how beautiful it would be with sunshine!
    The tour costs 50NZ$ per person.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Birdwatching

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