Honeymoons & Romantic Getaways in Dunedin
With gorgeous heritage buildings and a breeding ground for South Seas wildlife, no wonder many associate romance with Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula. The city evokes charm around every corner, from its thought-provoking art galleries to its gorgeous gardens. Couples can spend days here walking to aptly-named attractions like “Lovers Leap” or perhaps avoiding the weather in intriguing museums. We’ll go through all the top experiences, romantic retreats and places to dine in this complete honeymoon guide to Dunedin.
8 Romantic Activities in Dunedin for Couples
- Soften your heart with wildlife viewings on the Otago Peninsula
- Feel like you’re travelling back in time together on the Taieri Gorge Railway
- Walk hand-in-hand through the Botanic Garden
- 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
- Loosen up on the Speight’s Brewery Tour
- Enjoy elegant high tea at Larnach Castle
For more information on each experience, see the 8 Romantic Activities in Dunedin for Couples.
Outdoor Activities in Dunedin for Couples
Although Dunedin is a city, many of its top activities are in the great outdoors! Here are a few ways you can experience Dunedin’s outdoor attractions together.
Romantic Things to Do in the City
Jump on board the Taieri Gorge Railway and pretend you’re lovers from the colonial times! This historic railway experience takes you on a scenic journey through dramatic river gorge scenery, stopping by historical village remnants, travelling over numerous viaducts and through tunnels. There’s plenty of photo opportunities along the way to enjoy from the open-air carriages, as well as food and beverages to have together from the on-board cafe. What’s more, the train departs and returns from the picturesque Dunedin Railway Station, which is worth getting there early to admire. [Update: the Taieri Gorge Railway is no longer operating – see 8 Romantic Activities in Dunedin for Couples for alternative things to do].
For a fun free thing to do in Dunedin, explore the beautiful Botanic Garden. Walk hand-in-hand on the numerous walkways, stopping by the bird aviary or the winter gardens glasshouse. If you’re feeling adventurous, there’s a one-hour walk to the top of an ancient volcano or simply enjoy a romantic picnic by one of the sculptures or flower gardens. See more 17 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Dunedin.
Romantic Things to Do on the Otago Peninsula
Of course, a trip to Dunedin is not complete until you discover some of the amazing wildlife on the Otago Peninsula. See cute penguins ruffling each others’ feathers at Penguin Place, available to visit on tours like Iconic Tours, Back to Nature Tours and Tourworks NZ. Alternatively, see some of the most romantic birds of the South Pacific at the Royal Albatross Centre, where royal albatross return to each year to reunite with their mate. The Royal Albatross Centre offers tours to observe the world’s largest seabirds, as well as watch little blue penguins return to their nest each evening.
Finally, there are many gorgeous walks to enjoy together around Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula. An obvious and almost obligatory choice for couples is the Sandymount Track to the Lovers Leap Natural Bridge. Starting from the end of Sandymount Road on the Otago Peninsula, the Sandymount Track is a 2.5km walk (1-hour loop) with views of surrounding beaches, mountains and coastal cliffs. There’s a short side track to “The Chasm” and a 45-minute one-way track to Sandfly Bay.
Need more inspiration? Check out the 10 Dunedin Must-Dos.
Indoor Activities in Dunedin for Couples
And if you need a Plan B, here are a few amazing options for all-weather attractions.
Ever wondered how you would fare as a migrant coming to a new land? Get the imagination going as you explore the Toitu Otago Settlers Museum. This free museum walks through the history of the Maori and European settlers of the region, with creative exhibitions like a mock-up of a migration ship and traditional Maori huts. See how technology has developed of the years through the interesting everyday objects on display.
A little bit of liquid confidence always helps with the romance, right? Enjoy a drink together in a unique way at the Speight’s Brewery. Join the Brewery & Ale House Lunch Tour to explore the oldest operational brewery in New Zealand, discovering how one of New Zealand’s most popular beer brands makes the good stuff. On the one-hour experience, learn about the history of the brewery, touch, taste and smell the ingredients used, and learn how to pour the perfect pint in The Tasting Room. The tour concludes with a two-course meal at the on-site ale house accompanied by a glass of your choice of newly-discovered beer.
For more ideas, see 11 Things to Do in Dunedin on a Rainy Day.
Romantic Restaurants in Dunedin
Dunedin has a vibrant foodie scene, so picking a restaurant can be an overwhelming process. However, if you want to celebrate a special occasion or simply go somewhere special for “date night”, then check out some of the fine dining options. While Moiety at 42 Queens Gardens humblingly advertises themselves as “definitely not fine dining”, their impeccably-presented plates of Kiwi-style cuisine certainly beg to differ. Alternatively, Bracken on Filleul Street evokes a Scottish heritage theme in its decor and farm-to-table cuisine. Finally, Bacchus Wine Bar at The Octagon is an award-winning restaurant using locally-sourced ingredients paired with New Zealand wines and an impressive selection of whiskey.
For a romantic and elegant dining experience, turn to New Zealand’s one and only castle. Larnach Castle, perched on a hill of the Otago Peninsula, serves homemade sandwiches, slices, cream cakes, and a pot of tea in the garden or by the fire in the castle’s historic ballroom. Combine the experience with exploring the beautifully manicured gardens together or perhaps a guided tour of the castle’s lavish interior?