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Overview

The laid-back university town of Dunedin is a great place for chilling out if you’ve been touring New Zealand’s busier destinations, such as nearby Queenstown. It has all the trappings of a cosmopolitan center, including lively entertainment and arts scenes, but without the crowds or the hustle. Best of all, a short drive away is a superb wildlife-viewing area, the serene Otago Peninsula. Dunedin’s Otago Museum provides a great introduction to Maori culture – particularly impressive are the war canoe and the whare runanga (meeting house) carvings. Nearby is the outstanding Public Art Gallery, an airy space shared by Monets, ...

The laid-back university town of Dunedin is a great place for chilling out if you’ve been touring New Zealand’s busier destinations, such as nearby Queenstown. It has all the trappings of a cosmopolitan center, including lively entertainment and arts scenes, but without the crowds or the hustle. Best of all, a short drive away is a superb wildlife-viewing area, the serene Otago Peninsula. Dunedin’s Otago Museum provides a great introduction to Maori culture – particularly impressive are the war canoe and the whare runanga (meeting house) carvings. Nearby is the outstanding Public Art Gallery, an airy space shared by Monets, Gainsboroughs and the works of local artists like Frances Hodgkins. For a marvelous inland excursion, take a 75-mile round trip under rocky cliffs and over soaring viaducts on the Taieri Gorge Railway. On the Otago Peninsula, visit the Royal Albatross Centre for close-up views of these enormous birds. Tour operators can take you by boat, vehicle and on foot to witness sea lion and fur seal colonies, and to admire the rare hoiho (yellow-eyed penguin).

Paul Smitz
About the Expert

Paul Smitz has coauthored a dozen guidebooks for Lonely Planet on places such as Australia, New Zealand, Malaysian Borneo, Brunei, various Pacific Islands, Prague, and Brussels.

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Paul Smitz for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Located on the South Island of New Zealand; approximately 300 miles from Christchurch
  • Language: English and Maori
  • Currency: New Zealand Dollar
  • Research: Dunedin | Otago Peninsula
  • Weather: Rainfall

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    November to April, when the weather is warmer.