Dunedin is a very picturesque city, nestled amongst the hills and valleys surrounding the head of the Otago Harbour. The harbour and hills are the remnants of an extinct volcano. Dunedin is rich in culture and heritage with a wide variety of attractions to suit all interests. The city is quite compact and easy to walk around inner city sights. Dunedin is renowned for ecotourism. The magnificent Northern Royal Albatross can be seen at the only mainland breeding colony in the Southern Hemisphere at Taiaroa Head on the tip of the Otago Peninsula. You can also view rare Yellow-Eyed penguins in their natural habitats, seals, shags and more. The Orokonui Ecosanctuary is a 307 hectare Nature Reserve enclosed by 9 kilometres of a special pest-exclusion fence, is becoming home to more and more native wildlife.

Features of Dunedin

Dunedin is home to New Zealand’s oldest university – the University of Otago. With one-fifth of the population comprising students, Dunedin is a lively place and has over 400 cafes, restaurants and bars. Dunedin is also home to Baldwin Street, which, according to the Guinness Book of Records, is the steepest street in the world. Its gradient is 1 in 2.9.

The Otago Farmers Market is every Saturday morning 8am-12.30pm where you can purchase a range of fresh produce. It is situated in the north car park ajoining the magnificent Railway Station building, Dunedin’s world famous architectural icon.

Weather in Dunedin

Dunedin’s weather from April to June, late Autumnm, is unpredictable. Come prepared for temperatures in single figures and the low teens. Buildings are adequately heated. For those travelling from north of New South Wales be prepared for a drop in temperature of around 20 degrees. Suitable woollen clothing is essential to cope with the wind chill factor. You will be likely to experience cold southerly winds, frosts and snow over the course period.

Otago Peninsula

The Otago Peninsula, stretching along the southern edge of the Otago harbour, is an easy drive from central Dunedin. A wonderfully scenic drive will see you passing by lush green pastures, small bays and inlets, sandy beaches, rugged hills and volcanic landforms. So near to a major city centre, yet so far removed from the hectic pace of city living.
Otago Peninsula is one of New Zealand’s most renowned eco tourism areas. There are unique opportunities to view a remarkable range of wildlife including Royal Albatross, rare Yellow-Eyed Penguins, Blue Penguins, Seals and Sea Lions, water and wading birds.
To explore this area you can either join a tour, such as Elm Wildlife Tours, or you could hire a car from the likes of Pegasus Rental Cars.

Otago Peninsula

A variety of restaurants and cafes is available in Dunedin to suit most palates. The range of cuisine available in Dunedin is vast from the traditional Scottish foods through to Asia and the more contemporary New Zealand gourmet style. There are several excellent restaurants in central Dunedin such as Two Chefs, Yuki Izakaya, Plato, Vault 21 and Bacchus Wine Bar. By the St. Clair beach there are some other quality restaurants such as Salt, Starfish and Esplanade. Or you could dine at the local craft beer brewery Emersons, near the Stadium. Vogel St in the heritage precinct about a ten minute walk from the Octagon has a number of great cafes and restaurants that are worth a visit. Dining out doesn’t have to break the bank with numerous quality restaurants at very affordable prices such as the asian and thai restaurants, Etrusco in the Savoy and Eureka close to the University. All the usual takeaway outlets are available in Dunedin such as McDonalds, KFC, Burger King, Subway, Velvet Burger, Domino’s Pizza and Hell’s Pizza.

Dunedin Restaurants

Main City of the Otago Province

Dunedin is the main city of the Otago Province – which is one of the most scenic areas of New Zealand. Just over a three hour drive from Dunedin you can visit the adventure capital of New Zealand – Queenstown.
Central Otago is a rapidly developing wine growing region, with over 180 vineyards and an international reputation for Pinot Noir.


Surrounded by majestic mountains and nestled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown is New Zealand’s premier lake and alpine resort. Bungy jumping, high speed jet boating, tramping, paragliding, parasailing, sky diving are just some of the activities you will be able to do. Enjoy skiing during winter in Queenstown and Wanaka or summer time relax by the beautiful lakes or do a winery tour.


Wanaka is situated at the southern end of Lake Wanaka, adjacent to the outflow of the lake to the Clutha River. It is the gateway to Mount Aspiring National Park. Wanaka is primarily a resort town but has both summer and winter seasons and is based around the many outdoor opportunities. The town is part of the Queenstown-Lakes District and was originally settled during the gold rush excitement of the 19th century.

At 45° south this is the world’s southernmost wine making region. The region is mountainous, rising to over 2000m with the vines planted amongst spectacular alpine scenery. The vineyards are also the highest in the country, located between 200 and 450 metres above sea level.

Moeraki Boulders

The famous Moeraki boulders lie scattered along a beach about an hour’s drive north of Dunedin. According to Maori legend, the boulders are gourds washed from the great voyaging canoe Araiteuru when it was wrecked upon landfall in New Zealand some 1000 years ago.

Scientists explain the boulders as septarian concretions formed about 65 million years ago. Crystallization of calcium and carbonates around charged particles in muddy undersea sediments gradually formed the boulders in a process taking as long as four million years. The soft mudstone containing the boulders was raised from the seabed around 15 million years ago and sea erosion is exposing the erosion-resistant boulders.

The viewing platform, just a few minutes walk through regenerating native shrubland, offers good views of the boulders and, if you are lucky, New Zealand (hectors) dolphins playing in the waves. The fishing town of Moeraki, only half an hour’s walk along the beach from the boulders, (or a five minute drive) is a lovely place where holiday homes can be rented and makes a great escape for the weekend. The famous Fleurs Restaurant is open for lunch and evening dining with fresh seafood on the menu.

Catlins Coastal Heritage Trail

Situated off the beaten track on the east coast about 90 minutes drive from Dunedin, the Catlins is a major highlight of the Southern Scenic Route. Winding between Fortrose and Kaka Point, you will travel through farmland, forest and coastal areas. There are many walking tracks and byways – discover the sometimes peaceful, sometimes savage treasures of The Catlins. Allow five hours if you follow the whole trail and include all the walks, better yet stay overnight and really enjoy this amazing place.

Historically, the early Maori travelled extensively between the various coastal settlements and inland to Central Otago in search of food for trade and social interaction. European settlement began with whaling, sawmilling and goldmining. Little evidence of these remain.
For more about sights and accommodation: www.catlins.org.nzwww.catlins-nz.com

Otago Region Links

Lake Wanaka
Naseby (a charming gold rush settlement)
Scenic Highlights
Otago Rail Trail

New Zealand is in the southern hemisphere, near by Oceania, located southeast of Australia. Total land area is 268,021 sq km – about the size of Colorado. There is over 15,000km of coast line and Aoraki-Mount Cook at 3,754 metres is the highest mountain. English is the official language along with Maori. New Zealand’s currency is the New Zealand dollar and the capital city is Wellington, located in the North Island. The total population is just over 4 million.


The overall climate of New Zealand is influenced by two main geographic features: the mountains and the ocean.

New Zealand is located in the Southern Hemisphere, so seasons are opposite the Northern Hemisphere. The warmest months are December, January, February; the coldest are June, July and August.

Temperatures are generally warmer in the north than in the south, however, the climate differences prove to be minuscule (most of the time).

In the summer months (south to north), the average high temps are in the low 70′s F (21º C), while in the winter months the average highs are near 40º F (4º C), and again, running slightly higher in the north.

The fall (autumn) months, March to May, are a bit cooler than summer, but for most of the time, the weather is refreshing, with clear, crisp air.

Moderately high rainfall is common (25 to 59 inches per year), but so are many hours of sunshine throughout the country. In fact, many places in New Zealand receive over 2,000 hours of sunshine annually – and this past summer 08/09, Dunedin recorded its highest number of sunshine hours since records began in 1947 and some Central Otago towns experienced their highest average maximum temperatures on record. Dunedin’s summer mean temperature was 15.4ºC.

Find out what the weather is like right now.

Dunedin Airport

Dunedin International Airport is located 30km south of Dunedin City and takes approximately 25 to 30 minutes by car. Taxis (always available) and shuttles (airport and private registered vehicles) are available, but it is advised that candidates pre-book shuttle services online.

Otago Shuttles