Things to Do in Dunedin

Activities in Dunedin

Tour the Larnach Castle, Take a trip to the Olveston Historic Home, Visit the Dunedin Chinese Garden, Trek at the Hare Hill Horse, OCHO Chocolate Tasting and many more.

Whether you’re a lover of adventure or simply interested in exploring the rich history and heritage of the city, the things to do in Dunedin can never disappoint you. From its fantastic botanical gardens to scenic hills, the attractions and activities in the city promise to keep you on your feet throughout your stay.

Among the most sought after Dunedin things to do are the adventure activities offered here. Whether it is trekking across the Hare Hill on a horse or taking a walking tour of one of the city’s most haunted cemeteries, or evening biking across the mountains here, these extreme adventures promise to get your adrenaline rushing. However, if you’re looking for a quiet day out, you could spend your time touring the scenic Botanic Gardens in the city, and end your day with stargazing the southern skies at the Octagon.

For those looking to refine their experience in the city, Dunedin offers a number of offbeat experiences as well. This includes overnight staying at the historic Larnach castle, which is the country’s only standing castle, and chocolate tasting at the OCHO Chocolate Factory. If you’re interested in local street art, you could also spend your late evening hours touring the street art exhibitions held in the city at night.
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Larnach Castle
Larnach Castle is one of New Zealand's premier attractions which is located on the picturesque Otago Peninsula. Built in the year 1871 by William Larnach for his beloved wife Eliza, the castle is one of the highlighted places to visit in Dunedin.

The property offers boutique lodge accommodation in its well-manicured garden and hosts events such as weddings, conferences, balls and other events in its 3000 sq. ft ballroom. Larnach Castle is still privately owned and maintained by the Barker family who purchased the property in 1967.

Location:145 Camp Road, Larnach Castle, Dunedin 9077, New Zealand

Timings: Everyday 8am- 9.30 pm

Entry fee: 25$ for adults, children of age group (5-14) years 9$, children up to 4 years are free and family pass 60$ (2 adults and up to 4 children)
Otago Peninsula
With sandy beaches, exotic wildlife, tumbling hills and sheltered bays Otago Peninsula is among the most popular places to visit in Dunedin. Drive for about one and half hours from downtown Dunedin and a world of unspoiled scenic landscapes, virgin walking trails, historic sites and magnificent ocean view is ready to keep you spellbound for the rest of your daytrip. 

Some of the places you can visit are the Taiaroa Head, Otago Marae and Otago Museum.

Location: Otago, New Zealand
Dunedin Railways
While making a list of the best places in Dunedin, you must include one of New Zealand’s greatest train journeys on the Taieri Gorge Railway in your itinerary. The train departs from the city centre of Dunedin into the spectacular Central Otago Hinterland and up the rugged Otago Coast which lies to the north of Dunedin.

It is a great excursion which will provide you with full commentary, friendly staff, sightseeing and a licenced snacks bar. As the train negotiates through the narrow and stunning river gorge you can marvel at the fleeting vistas.

Location: Dunedin Railway Station, Anzac Square, Dunedin Central, New Zealand

Timings: Every day between 8am- 8pm
Royal Albatross Centre
The Royal Albatross Centre fairly boasts of being one of the best places in Dunedin to visit as it is an exclusive observatory where you get to see the entire breeding cycle of the giant albatross from courting to raising huge flabby chicks.

The centre is the only mainland breeding colony of the royal albatross in the world. Taking a guided tour inside the observatory you can get to learn into the private lives of these beautiful birds on the nature reserve.

Location: 1260, Harrington Point Road, Dunedin 9077, New Zealand

Timings: Everyday 10.15am- 9.15pm

Entry fee: (117-142) $ for family (2 adults and up to 3 children of school age), (52- 62) $ for adults and (15-20) $ for children (under 16 years). Free for children up to 5 years.
Baldwin Street
Known to be the steepest street in the world, Baldwin Street has proclaimed a Guinness World Record. The street is home to many up market houses and homes and is considered to be the poshest colony of the area.

The way towards the road will need you to climb uphill using your vehicles or on foot, however, once you reach the top of the street, you can enjoy the panoramic views of the whole city.

Location: North Road to Buchanan Street 
Tunnel Beach
One of the most popular places in Dunedin which calls for a complete sea vacation with stunning coastal views, rugged cliffs, crashing waves and vibrant landscape. To get the most of the pristine beach, you must visit the place during low tide.

The rugged cliffs formed by layers of rock and fossils embedded on the rock walls create a natural graffiti like façade wherever you set your eyes on.

Location: Otago 9012, New Zealand
Otago Museum
The museum fairly boasts of being the only biocultural science centre of the world which makes it one of the best places in Dunedin to visit. The Otago Museum has a rich display of 1.5 million objects across its seven galleries related to nature, culture and science.

As you go through the galleries you will get to see suits of a Kiribati armour, gold currencies of different countries, a sky bridge and many other things that take you back to the bygone eras. 

Location: 419 Great King Street North, North Dunedin, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand

Timings: Sunday- Saturday from 10am -5pm

Entry fee: adults 15$, children (3-18) years 10$, concession (student/seniors/ friends of Otago Museum/Tumhara annual pass holders) 12$, family ( 2adults and up to 4 children) 40$
Toitu Otago Settlers Museum
It is probably the only place in Dunedin which gives you comprehensive insight about the local history of Dunedin from the earliest settlers to those who have arrived recently. The galleries of the museum feature interactive displays with state-of-art visuals and coherent narratives. No food or drink are allowed inside the museum.

Location: 31 Queens Garden, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand

Timings: Open all round the year from 10am- 5pm except on 25th December.
Dunedin Botanic Garden
This is New Zealand's first botanic garden which holds a 6-star Garden of International Excellence status. Spreading over 30.4 hectares, the botanic garden is a must visit place in Dunedin for its spectacular hill view and conservation of 6,800 flora and a number of rare species of birds.

An important aspect of this Botanic Garden is its conservation of rare and endangered species of plants that have been collected from North Asia, Southern Africa, the Himalayas and the Mediterranean.

Location: Cnr &, Great King Street North, North Dunedin, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand

Timings: Everyday between 6am- 7pm. Information Centre and shop timings are between 10am- 4pm, winter garden glass house timings are between 10am- 4pm, Alpine house timings are between 9am- 4pm and Croque-O- Dile cafe timings are between 9.30am- 4.30pm
The Octagon
Octagon, the city centre of Dunedin is an eight-sided plaza with a one-way carriage path which is bisected by George Street. Being located centrally at downtown Dunedin, the Octagon is the focal point of a few attractions of the city namely- Dunedin Public Library, Anglican Cathedral, Dunedin Town Hall, multiplexes, cafes and bars.

In a nutshell Octagon is the best place to visit in Dunedin and have to touch down a number of places within a short time.

Location: Dunedin Central, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand
Taiaroa Head
Taiaroa Head offers a stunning landscape view overlooking the Otago harbour. It denotes the end of the Otago Peninsula which is 1 hours’ drive from Dunedin. For the adventure buffs it is one of the best places to visit in Dunedin as it offers numerous adventure activities and sightseeing.

You will get to see the Pilot’s Beach which lies to the south of the head. It is the largest habitat of New Zealand’s marine life. If you are lucky enough you may come across Hector’s Dolphins, Dusky Dolphins, Sea Lions and migratory large whales.
Olveston Historic Home
It is a prime destination for lovers of art, history and heritage. All Western historic homes were gifted to the Dundenites in 1966. It is a 35 room Edwardian mansion with a “Garden of National Significance” within the city's Green Belt.

Time has little changed the original contents of the mansion as it was occupied as a family residence. You can enter into the premises of the house only by 1 hour guided tour which allows 15 people in a group. 

Location: 42 Royal Terrace, North Dunedin, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand

Timings: Sunday- Saturday from 9.30am- 5pm

Entry fee: Adults 24$, concessions 22$ (NZ seniors, YZA, Backpackers or Tertiary students), Dunedin Residents 19$, children 13$ (above 5 years), children below 5 have free entry. Entry to the gardens and gift shop is free.
Otago Harbour
Settled quaintly between the Hayward Point and Taiaroa Head, Otago Harbour stretches for 5 nautical miles up to Port Chalmers. It further extends for 7 nautical miles till it touches the city of Dunedin. In a minutes' tour you can cross from one side of the harbour to the other and enjoy the stunning seascape on your way.

Your guide will give you detailed commentary about the history and volcanic nature of the region as well as other important facts. End your day trip by refreshing yourself at a local cafe or restaurant on the opposite side of the harbour.

Location: 837 Portobello Road, Portbello, Dunedin 9014, New Zealand
Dunedin Public Art Gallery
Saint Clair Beach
Located at the proximity to downtown Dunedin, Saint Clair Beach is a perfect hidey-hole for beach lovers. You can enjoy a beach walk along the well paved promenade and watch a stunning sunset or let the cool sea breeze caress on your face.

The beach is one of the best places in Dunedin for surfers who want to propel against the aggressive sea waves in a surfing board.

Location- Dunedin 9012 New Zealand

Timings- Monday to Friday 6am -7pm and Saturday and Sunday 7am -7pm
Orokonui Ecosanctuary
Orokonui Sanctuary offers both guided and self-guided walking tours amidst New Zealand’s native cloud forest. In a one-hour Orokonui highlights tour you will come across grasslands and regenerating forests that are inhabited by Otago Skinks, Korimako and other fauna.

If you are a hardcore wildlife buff, take a 2 hours’ Forest explorer Tour and tread into the core forest area. You will get to see rare species of birds and plants in this trip to one of the best places in Dunedin.

Location: 600 Blueskin Road, Dunedin 9081, New Zealand

Timings: Sunday-Saturday from 9:30am- 4:30pm Tuesday and Wednesday are closed

Entry fee: Starts from 20$ for adults, 10$ for children (below 18 years) and for family (2 adults and 3 children) 48$.
Lan Yuan, Dunedin Chinese Garden
Located in the heart of Dunedin with mountains and forest as a backdrop the Lan Yuan garden gives you an insight of Dunedin’s culture, heritage, art and history. One visit is never sufficient to explore the facades of the garden which was built with an objective to celebrate Chinese heritage.

In every season the Chinese Garden changes its vistas and hidden corners to surprise you with a different look every time you visit. You can enjoy a picnic, relax or simply soak up the undisturbed ambiance of the place. In every way it is one of the rewarding places to visit in Dunedin.

Location: 39 Queens Gardens, Dunedin Central, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand

Timings: 10am – 4pm

Entry fee: adults 10$, children (under 13 years with an adult) free entry, student/beneficiary 7$, adult annual pass 22$, adult annual pass renewal 20$
Penguin Place
It is a private conservation project which aims at conserving the world's most endangered Yellow Eyed Penguin and a noteworthy place to visit in Dunedin. On a guided tour through a network of trenches and hides you can watch penguins from a close proximity.

It is the only wildlife refuge in the world which is funded by the visitors. Here not only endangered penguins are restored but injured, starving and sick ones are also rehabilitated.

Location: 45 Pakihau Road, Portobello, Harington Point 9077, New Zealand

Timings: Summer tour from October-March and winter tour from April-September from 10:15am- 6:15pm. Duration of each tour is approximately 90 mins.

Entry fee: for adults 55$, children (5-17) years 16$ and family pass (2 adults and max 3 children) 120$. Children under 5 years have free entry.
Natures Wonders
True to its name you will have a pleasant rendezvous with an array of wild animals in their natural habitat at Nature’s Wonders. It is one of the best places in Dunedin which is home to New Zealand Fur Seals, Blue Penguins, Albatross, Yellow Eyed Penguins and various birds with their offspring round the year.

If you are looking for a rustic wildlife experience go for an 8 wheelers’ agro-tour or by a coach to the wildlife capital of New Zealand.

Location: 1265 Harington Point Road, Taiaroa Head, Dunedin 9077, New Zealand

Timings: Everyday between 10am- 6pm
Sandfly Bay
Gigantic sand dunes descending onto a beach, surging waves lashing against the rocky shore and a virgin, windswept beach, all these make Sandfly Bay one of the best places in Dunedin to go for a daytrip.

The sight of sea lions and yellow eyed penguins basking in the sun is no less than a visual treat for the first-time visitors.

Location: Seal Point Road, Sandymount 9077, New Zealand

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