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Dunedin is perhaps New Zealand’s best-kept secret. The city is located in the South Island and is full of authentic welcoming characters. With abundant wildlife on its doorstep and heritage buildings home to great cafes and nightlife, why wouldn’t you visit? While you’re visiting, consider my seven top Dunedin tourist activities.
Toitu Otago Settlers Museum
Toitū Otago Settlers Museum is dedicated to the social history of Dunedin, telling the story of the people of Dunedin and surrounding areas. The character, culture, art and transport that helped shape New Zealand’s first great city are all showcased in the museum. A well-equipped research centre and archive is available for those interested in genealogy and other aspects of local history. The museum holds regular exhibitions and also has an on-site café and shop.
Olveston Historic Home
A ‘must visit’ for lovers of art, heritage and history, Olveston is lavishly furnished with exotic artefacts, prized artworks, antique furniture, ceramics and statues from around the world.
Originally, designed for prominent businessmen and philanthropists during the early 1900’s, the 35-room Edwardian mansion was gifted to the people of Dunedin in 1966. A time capsule, Olyeston a had very little change since it was first occupied as a family home.
Tours commence daily at: 9.30am, 10.45am, 12 noon, 1.30pm, 2.45pm and 4pm. Group bookings available at a time to suit the group – available on request.
The Orokonui Ecosanctuary is home to some of New Zealand’s most fascinating and rare forest wildlife. It is also the only area of native forest in mainland South Island where indigenous plants and animals can live in the wild without threat from most introduced pests.
Dunedin Botanic Garden
New Zealand’s first botanic garden, the Dunedin Botanic Garden holds the status of six-star Garden of International Significance. The gardens occupy 30.4 hectares in North Dunedin and has more than 6,800 plant species. The songs of wild native bellbirds, wood pigeons and tui can all be heard in the gardens as well.
The Speight’s Brewery tour gives visitors insights on the antiquity of beer in Babylonian times, as well as the history of beer in New Zealand. With a focus on the Speight’s Brewery itself, visitors learn about the breweries unique brewing process and how Speight’s became a legend in the South. And no tour would be complete without sampling. The tour takes about 90 minutes, including taste testing.
Penguin Place is a private conservation effort to help save the world’s most endangered penguin, the Yellow-Eyed Penguin. Visitors are taken on guided walking tours through a unique system of trenches and hides to view the penguins undisturbed at close range. Penguin Place is funded 100% by the support of visitors, this funding enables habitat restoration, predator control, a research programme and on-site rehabilitation for sick, starving and wounded penguins.
Dunedin Public Art Gallery
Located right in the heart of Dunedin, the Dunedin Public Art Gallery is within an easy walking distance from a large number of hotels and on all major public transport routes. Established in 1884, the Gallery was New Zealand’s first Art Gallery. The Gallery presents a wide-ranging events programme of interesting lectures, floor talks, film and video screenings, performances and workshops. It is regarded as one of New Zealand’s four major metropolitan art galleries.
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