Dunedin is one of those South Island towns that SOUNDS like it should be straight out of Lord of the Rings... Regardless, in New Zealand, Dunedin is known as a Uni Town- a college town. It’s home to Otago University, and this distinction makes it a backpacker’s dream- heaps of kitschy thrift shops, innumerable pubs catering to the student population, and cheap eats all over town. Some great architecture, remarkable wildlife, the madness of the Octagon, and a unique ‘Kiwi Uni Town’ vibe make a few days in Dunedin well worth the visit.
Dunedin is located well south on the South Island, and thus has the reputation of being ‘too far out-of-the way’ to visit. Not true... Domestic airlines fly in and out of Dunedin daily, and it is routinely on most hop-on/hop-off tour options. With it being a university town, there are always students coming and going from all over the country, so finding a ride-share is never a problem.
Things to do in Dunedin
- Explore the town- Dunedin is ‘College Town- New Zealand’, and thus has a feel unique to itself. Get out in the town, wander into some of the shops and cafes, get to know some of the students- you never know what you mind find, or where you might end up...
- Hang out in the Octagon- a unique ‘town square’ of sorts, the Octagon is located in central Dunedin, and is surrounded by shops, restaurants, and pubs. Definitely worth checking out.
- Visit the Otago Peninsula- a wildlife lover’s dream, the Otago Peninsula is located just outside of Dunedin, and is home to seals, penguins, sea birds, and heaps of other coastal wildlife. Take a guided tour, or grab a map and go it on your own.
- Check out the ‘Steepest street in the world’- according to the Guinness Book of World Records, Baldwin Street in Dunedin is the steepest street in the world. Put on your trainers and run some SERIOUS hills...
- Relax in a park- both the Botanical Gardens and the Dunedin Chinese Garden provide a great spot for a relaxing afternoon with a book and a picnic.
- Spend some time around the University- you’re sure to meet some outgoing students, and they’re by far the best resource as to what’s on in Dunedin.
- If you’re headed out to the Otago Peninsula, make sure to be prepared for the elements, as the weather on the peninsula can change in minutes, and is often drastically different than that in the city.
- As always, ask about discounts and deals in town- with Dunedin being a university town, there are sure to be cheap eats and discount drinks every night of the week.