Dunedin, a city rich in history – from the early wealth of the gold mining era of the 1860s – is arguably New Zealand’s most characterful city. Today, a city of some 140,000 people, it is rich in culture, the arts, natural beauty and preserved and modern architecture and has become a thriving education centre, with one of the country’s most prestigious universities, the University of Otago.
Located on the south-east coast of the South Island, Dunedin is nestled in tree-clad hills at the head of a spectacular harbour. Its natural attractions include the wildlife of the Otago Peninsula, home to penguin colonies, sea lions and, at Taiaroa Head, a Royal albatross colony, while one of its newest jewels is a covered sports stadium on the edge of the student precinct and the Otago Harbour.
Established in the 1840s and with a city plan formulated in Scotland by its Presbyterian forefathers, Dunedin, known as the Edinburgh of the South, boasts many streets with names borrowed from Edinburgh, now a sister city. At the physical heart of Dunedin is the Octagon, home to a plethora of bars, cafes and restaurants, the town hall, visitor centre and the city art gallery.
Dunedin is the main centre of the Otago region and serves as a gateway to Central Otago tourist centres such as Queenstown and Wanaka. Its small but serviceable international airport acts as a hub to other national centres and to Australia and beyond.