Many people arrive by cruise ship in Port Chalmers and look for a budget transportation alternative to the expensive tours offered by the cruise company.
Nothing easier than this.
There is a public bus route from Port Chalmers to the city centre of Dunedin. The trip takes only 20 minutes.
Here are the timetables:
To the city:
From the city to Port Chalmers:
General bus website:
If you have to get to Dunedin in a speedy way (for example for reaching the Taieri Gorge Railway) and would not make it in time by bus, and the cruise ship shuttle buses do not run early enough, you depend on a taxi. They queue at the pier, so it should not be a problem to get one. The trip is 13 km and costs $ 35 to 45.
More info here:
However, I have seen lately that the Taieri Gorge Railway departs near the docks at Port Chalmers on days when cruise ships arrive. Make sure with your cruise company that this is the case, so you do not have the hassle of arranging taxi transportation.
This is a 77km journey starting daily (except Christmas Day) at Dunedin's historic Railway Station. It leads through the spectacular Taieri River Gorge, across old viaducts and through tunnels carved by hand more than 100 years ago.
You can make the return journey to Pukerangi or Middlemarch, or use the train as one leg of your journey to or from Queenstown and Central Otago on the connecting Track & Trail coach.
You could also use the train to the starting point of the multi-day bicycle or tramping (hiking) tour on the Central Otago Rail Trail from Middlemarch to Alexandra or Clyde.
Return fare to Pukerangi NZ$67, to Middlemarch $75 (one child free with each accompanying adult/price as April 2007).
Cruise ship passenger need not worry about getting to the train. It departs near the docks at Port Chalmers to pick up people from the ships.
There are some good shuttle services from Dunedin to Queenstown and Wanaka, and this clearly is the way to go if you are on a budget.
A shuttle bus from the CBD to the airport would already cost you NZ$ 30, and a taxi about $ 75, add the airfare, then the transportation from Queenstown Airport to the town centre (not far though, so not expensive)… This is quite some money – and the trip is not even very convenient. So better just sit down in a bus which takes you from A to B.
It is also the perfect way if you want to cycle or walk on the Otago Rail Trail from Middlemarch to Clyde, or any stage along the way. Most of those shuttle services have frequent stops, so you can get off and back on wherever you want.
We used Catch-a-Bus to get back to our car after having cycled on the Otago Rail Trail. While I waited with the bicycles in Middlemarch my husband took the shuttle to Alexandra, and came back to pick me up. They would also transport bikes for $ 10 extra. It runs between Dunedin and Wanaka.
Wanaka ConneXions services Queenstown and Wanaka. Check out here:
If you just want to get from Dunedin to Queenstown you best use one of the big overland companies like InterCity or Nakedbus. They have very limited stops along the way.
Dunedin has a very good public bus service. You get around very well, but it is not suitable for really exploring Otago Peninsula, because there is only one line that runs to Harrington Point (near the Albatross colony), via Portobello. On the northern side of the fiord-like harbour there is a service running to Dunedin’s port at Port Chalmers. So this is an option for cruise ship passengers. (See extra tips with the timetables for those services.)
Bus fares depend on the number of zones you travel in. One zone costs NZ$ 1.50, up to $ 5.00 for seven zones. Just tell the driver where you want to go, and he will tell you how much it costs. (Fares as Oct. 2008)
If you plan to travel quite a bit on public buses you can save money by getting a GoCard. This is a prepaid swipe card which automatically gives you a 10 per cent discount on all travel.
GoCards are available in the local buses, at the Otago Regional Council office (70 Stafford Street) and at the DCC (Dunedin City Council) Service Centre at the Octagon.
On this website of the Regional Council you find all relevant info about the bus service:
On this website you find all lines and just have to click for the timetables:
You can also reach some interesting destinations north of Dunedin by bus, for example Waikouaiti ($ 8.80), Karitane ($ 7.50), and Palmerston ($ 11.30).
The Railway Station at ANZAC Square is not only a historic building of outstanding beauty, parts of it are still used as a railway station. This is rare in New Zealand ;-) The famous Taieri Gorge Railway (extra tip) starts here, as does the so-called Seasider.
The Seasider operates every Wednesday (Oct – April) and runs along the coast from Dunedin to Palmerston, and return. Departure from Dunedin is at 9.30am, and you will be back at 1.30pm. Cost for the return trip is $ 68 (until Sept. 2009). Prices and timetables on the Taieri Gorge Railway website. The winter service on selected dates is practically non-existent. Last winter, for example, the Seasider operated on exactly one day.
They also offer a Railroad to Gold Tour. It starts with the Seasider Trip from Dunedin to Palmerston. From there you travel by coach to the Macraes Gold Mine and Pukerangi, and from there by train via the Taieri River Gorge to Dunedin. Cost is NZ$ 175.
The Southener service, a train that ran from Christchurch to Invercargill, via Dunedin, was stopped in 2002. There is big public pressure to re-establish this service. Southland has pushed its support to Otago’s bid. The high petrol prices have contributed to this push for the return of the Southerner.
As Dunedin’s airport is so far from the city centre, and you have to fork out a lot for transportation, even the lowest airfare must not be a good deal.
Dunedin Airport is located 30 kilometres south of the city, and there is no public bus service running. So if you need transportation, you better look out for one of the shuttles, like New Zealand’s most well-known company Super Shuttle or Airport Direct. There is quite a wide range of shuttle services that run when planes arrive. On the SuperShuttle website
you can calculate your fare. For one person it costs NZ$ 30 from the airport to the CBD, for two people $ 38, for three $ 46, for four $ 54, etc.
Taxi rides to the city centre are hugely expensive, it could easily cost you about NZ$ 75.
The official Airport website has a fantastic list of shuttle and taxi companies, check out there:
It is well worth to consider renting a car at the airport. Hertz, Avis, Budget, Thrifty, EziRent, Europcar and Nationwide have offices at the airport. Their details are also listed on the airport website.
You can also arrange airport pick-ups and drop-offs with other companies that use to have lower rates than the biggies Hertz and Avis, for example Pegasus, Rent-a-Dent, etc.
Some companies charge for airport pick-up and drop-off. Ace Rental Cars, for example, charge NZ$ 30 (the cost for one person with the SuperShuttle).
Dunedin Car Hire offer complimentary airport pick-up and drop-off, and also service customers who arrive by cruise ship in Port Chalmers: http://www.dunedinrentalcars.co.nz/
You see, you have to do some homework before you book a car and want it at the airport.
There is public transport to the Peninsula but only along the coastal road, to Portobello and Harrington Point (near the Albatross Colony at Taiaroa Head). But you could get off at Broad Bay and walk up Camp Road. From there a popular walking track leads up to the castle. The walk would take about 40 min one way.
Here is the timetable:
However, Otago Peninsula is so wonderful, with lonesome beaches, inlets fabulous for bird watching, the Albatross Colony, and fantastic views from the Summit Road. If you have enough time consider renting a car and spend the whole day there.
The tour we took to the Otago Peninsula from Dunedin was with Dunedin Cititours.
The driver was friendly and helpful and we enjoyed the tour, even though the brochure didn't read too clearly in one part (where it seemed as though our part of the tour visited the Albatross to see them...not just to spend 5 mins at the centre and drop off other passengers).
Built in 1962 to cater for passengers of short haul aircraft, Dunedin Airport has adapted well to the modern era of air transport.
From 100,000 passengers in 1963 to 481,000 in 2000.
Facilities include: Koru Club Lounge, baby changing facilities, BNZ bank (with Foreign Exhange), ATM, duty free stores, gift shop, bookshop, information/visitors centre, meeting room, courier service,
public telephones, Time-Out amusement centre, toilets/disabled facilities/wheelchair facilities.
Airlines flying into Dunedin: Air New Zealand
(www.airnewzealand.com), Freedom Air International (www.freedomair.co.nz), Origin Pacific Airways (www.originpacific.co.nz)
Dunedin airport is located some distance from the city. Airport shuttles await disembarking passengers and are located right outside the terminal. It costs NZ$15 to be delivered to your accommodation in the city (if there are three or more passengers on the mini-bus). You can have one of the shuttle companies pick you up from your accommodation and take you to the airport aswell and the same prices apply.
Air New Zealand and Origin Pacific operate into and out of Dunedin airport, which is now an international airport as Freedom Air operates to/from Dunedin and Coolangatta in Australia.
Just be aware that Dunedin Airport can be obstructed by fog, and flights can often be delayed. Mostly all is ok but it's no unusual for the fog to become a nuisance here.