The Complete Guide to Dunedin
The Complete Guide to Dunedin

The Complete Travel Guide to Dunedin


A Travel Guide to Dunedin, New Zealand

A South Island city with a lot of historical charm and wildlife attractions, Dunedin is definitely worth adding to your New Zealand itinerary. While a little out of the way in the south of the Otago region, Dunedin allures travellers with its architecture unlike anywhere else in the country, its wealth of museums, art galleries and breweries, and its unique wildlife habitat of the Otago Peninsula. The city also seems to strike the right balance of outdoor adventures and all-weather attractions, making it almost impossible to get bored. So, discover why Dunedin should be on your must-visit list, no matter who you are, in this complete travel guide to Dunedin.

Fast Facts About Dunedin

Location: East coast of the South Island in the Otago region

Population: 128,800

Climate: Daily average temperature – 10.8°C/51.44°F, yearly average rainfall – 775mm/30.5″
Find out more in What is the Weather Like in New Zealand?

Time Zone: NZST / GMT+12/+13

How to get to Dunedin: Dunedin has its own international airport. Find out more about flights to New Zealand and Dunedin in A Beginner’s Guide to Getting to New Zealand. Dunedin is also accessible by road from the more popular Christchurch or Queenstown international airports, where it’s possible to rent a car from Christchurch or Queenstown. Dunedin also has its own public transport system, which you can learn more about in Public Transport in Dunedin.

The Complete Travel Guide to Dunedin© DunedinNZ

What to Do in Dunedin

There are two main areas that you’ll want to explore in Dunedin: the city centre and the Otago Peninsula. In the city, you have fabulous free museums, brewery tours, chocolate factory tours and gothic architecture to admire. Guided tours or a road trip to the Otago Peninsula will bring you to amazing wildlife attractions where you’ll have the opportunity to spot penguins, seals, sea lions and royal albatross.

The Top Experiences in Dunedin

What are the must-dos? Here are some of the Dunedin highlights:

  • Check out the coastal arches and tunnel of Tunnel Beach
  • See amazing wildlife on the Otago Peninsula either independently or with a tour such as Elm Wildlife Tours (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)
  • See fascinating pieces of South Pacific history at the Otago Museum
  • Learn about the early settlers of Dunedin at the Toitu Otago Settlers Museum
  • Take a tour of Larnach Castle on the Otago Peninsula (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)
  • Cruise the Dunedin Harbour and spot wildlife with Monarch Wildlife Tours (on Viator and Tripadvisor)…

… And the list continues over in our 13 Best Things to Do in Dunedin.

Rainy Day Activities

We wouldn’t let you wander the streets of Dunedin without a rainy day backup. Some of the all-weather attractions include:

  • Watch royal albatross nesting at the Royal Albatross Centre
  • Taste some damn good chocolate at OCHO Chocolate (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)
  • Tour the Speight’s Brewery (on Viator and Tripadvisor)

… and much more which we go into detail in the 11 Things to Do in Dunedin on a Rainy Day.

The Complete Travel Guide to Dunedin© DunedinNZ

Where to Stay in Dunedin

Aside from our top recommendations listed beside this complete travel guide to Dunedin, we’ve compiled the best accommodations based on price, suitability for families or couples, as well as more premium offerings. What’s more, each article is written by real people; not robots! Check them out:

The Complete Travel Guide to Dunedin© DunedinNZ

Dunedin for Budget Travellers

Dunedin is a budget traveller’s dream city. Not only does the city have an excellent selection of free art galleries and museums, but some of the attractions are pretty affordable too. Backpackers can also enjoy a number of walks in the area, especially on the Otago Peninsula where wildlife sightings are likely. Get more advice in Dunedin – Guide For Backpackers and The Guide to Dunedin on a Budget.

Things to Do in Dunedin on a Budget

  • Get amazing views from Signal Hill
  • Explore the Botanic Garden
  • Visit the Otago Museum
  • Walk up the world’s steepest street
  • See magnificent arches at Tunnel Beach

For information on each activity and much more ideas, see our 17 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Dunedin.

Where to Stay in Dunedin on a Budget

Motels, lodges, backpacker hostels… Dunedin has it all! Check out our top recommendations for cheap accommodation in the 10 Best Budget Accommodations in Dunedin.

Pixabay© Pixabay

Dunedin for Luxury Travellers

Amplify your visit to Dunedin by taking part in premium activities, dining at the finest restaurants, and staying in the city’s most lavish apartments. We guide you through all of that and more in The Luxury Guide to Dunedin, where you’ll discover Dunedin’s selection of private tours and ways to make your visit to the city’s most popular attractions extra special.

Luxury Activities in Dunedin

  • See wildlife close-up on a private conservation area with Elm Wildlife Tours (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)
  • Tour a 35-room mansion with 250 works of art
  • Learn about the southern night’s sky in a Maori stargazing experience
  • Discover the art scene on an art tour of Dunedin
  • Play golf with a view at one of the Dunedin golf courses

For more details on each experience and more, see the 10 Luxury Activities in Dunedin.

Where to Stay in Dunedin

From international hotels to luxury city centre apartments, Dunedin hosts a range of accommodation types for luxury travellers. Check out our top picks in the 10 Best Luxury Accommodations in Dunedin.©

Dunedin for Families

When you hit Dunedin, you’ve arrived at one of South Island’s most family-friendly cities. Dunedin provides the perfect balance of outdoor activities, educational experiences and things to do in all weathers. All in all, it’s impossible to not be entertained. Get inspiration for your family trip with The Guide to Dunedin for Families.

Activities in Dunedin for Families

  • See penguins on the Otago Peninsula
  • Travel through stunning landscapes on The Inlander train journey (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)
  • Pretend you’re on a migration ship at the Toitu Otago Settlers Museum
  • Look out for seals, sea lions, albatross and more on a wildlife cruise or kayak tour
  • Challenge each other to laser tag, mini-golf, board games and much more at Megazone

Find out more about each experience in the 10 Things to Do in Dunedin with Kids.

Where to Stay in Dunedin

Whether you’re a family on a budget or want to treat yourselves, you’ll find accommodation to suit in the 10 Best Family Accommodations in Dunedin.©

Dunedin for Couples

Heritage, culture and nature unite in Dunedin to complete a romantic getaway to the city. Whether you’re on your honeymoon touring around New Zealand or looking for a quick couples’ getaway, Dunedin has some amazing experiences for couples to share. Check out some of our advice and recommendations in The Honeymoon Guide to Dunedin.

Activities in Dunedin for Couples

  • Soften your heart with wildlife viewings on the Otago Peninsula
  • Treat her to dinner at one of the fine dining restaurants
  • Walk to the “Lovers Leap” on the Otago Peninsula
  • Learn something new together at the Toitu Otago Settlers Museum
  • Enjoy elegant high tea at Larnach Castle

Learn about each experience, as well as inspiration for a few more activities, in the 8 Romantic Activities in Dunedin for Couples.

Where to Stay in Dunedin

Couples can find a wealth of accommodation, from budget stays to cosy B&Bs with indulgent food experiences. Find out more in the 10 Best Romantic Accommodations in Dunedin.

Unsplash© Unsplash

Dunedin for Foodies

Finally, for the foodie travelling to Dunedin, be prepared for some top artisan tours, lively markets and classically-Kiwi tasting experiences. Dunedin is home to some of New Zealand’s top breweries, as well as creative chefs and artisans complementing the foodie scene. Find out more about the experiences and accommodation for food-lovers in The Foodie Guide to Dunedin.

Activities in Dunedin for Foodies

  • Tour the Speight’s Brewery with beer tastings and a two-course meal
  • Check out the Emerson’s Brewery
  • Browse the Otago Farmers’ Market
  • Join a chocolate factory tour
  • Grab some cheap eats around the city

Learn these foodie experiences in the 8 Things to Do in Dunedin for Foodies.

Where to Eat in Dunedin

  • Moiety (42 Queens Gardens)
  • Bracken (Filleul Street)
  • Bacchus Wine Bar (The Octagon)
  • The Dumpling Lady (University of Otago)
  • The Fish Hook (George Street)

Where to Stay in Dunedin

Whether you’re looking for hotels with excellent restaurants or somewhere to cook your own meals, we have listed a few ideas in the 10 Best Accommodations in Dunedin for Foodies.


Laura S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor in chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in New Zealand over 10 years ago and with a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to travel New Zealand. She knows Aotearoa inside-out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience New Zealand’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also editor of several other South Pacific travel guides and is the co-host of NZ Pocket Guide’s live New Zealand travel Q&As on YouTube.

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