1. Otago Museum
Our number one rainy day activity for Dunedin is the number one rainy day activity for most cities: go to the museum. The Otago Museum is the Otago region’s hub for history, culture and so much more. Most of the museum is free, with highlights including a real Egyptian mummy, Maori artefacts and New Zealand’s largest fossil! Some paid exhibitions are definitely worth a look, such as a butterfly garden and planetarium. Alternatively, get more out of your experience on one of the guided tours: Treasures of the Otago Museum and Stories of the South.
Location: 419 Great King Street.
2. The Royal Albatross Centre
Dunedin, or more specifically the Otago Peninsula, is a hotspot for wildlife! While there are many options to see sea lions, penguins, seals and more, The Royal Albatross Centre is a way to have close encounters with wildlife while being indoors. Take a tour to see the royal albatross colony and you will be guided through the Taiaroa Head military battery, which is almost all undercover, to a couple of different undercover viewing hides.
Location: Taiaroa Head, Otago Peninsula
3. Travel on the Taieri Gorge Railway
Just because it’s raining doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the amazing New Zealand landscapes. Departing from the Dunedin Railway Station in the city centre, the Taieri Gorge Railway takes passengers on a journey along the isolated landscapes along the Taieri River. There are lots of tunnels and viaducts to enjoy along the way, as well as commentary throughout the vintage-style carriages. Book your journey on the Taieri Gorge Railway here or find out more in The Two Dunedin Railways.
Location: Dunedin Railway Station
4. Visit the Toitu Otago Settlers Museum
Another fantastic museum in Dunedin is the Toitu Settlers Museum. What’s more, it’s free! Journey through the social history of Dunedin and the Otago region with artefacts and displays of the early Maori settlers to the European, Chinese and beyond! You’ll also see the technologies and everyday items each group of settlers brought with them. The Toitu Museum is much bigger than it appears, so plan at least one hour to explore!
Location: 31 Queens Gardens
5. Tour Larnach Castle
Larnach Castle is New Zealand’s one and only castle! (It’s also one of the most haunted places in New Zealand). There are many ways to enjoy Larnach Castle from walking among the finely-kept gardens to actually staying in the castle’s accommodation! To keep out of the rain, however, you’re options are a guided tour of the castle or high tea in the Ballroom Cafe. Get your castle and gardens admission ticket here.
Location: 145 Camp Road, Otago Peninsula
6. Check out some Dunedin Architecture
Similarly to Larnach Castle, there’s a lot more architecture to check out in Dunedin City. Dunedin is one of the only places in New Zealand where you’ll find grand Gothic architecture. However, because this is a rainy day activity list for Dunedin, we’ll stick to some grand buildings you can check out on the inside: The First Church of Otago is well worth checking as it’s doors are open most of the time. Additionally, see the interior of the Dunedin Railway Station.
Location: The First Church of Otago is located at 415 Moray Place and Dunedin Railway Station is located in the city centre.
7. Take a tour of Cadbury World
Everybody loves chocolate, right? In Dunedin, you can even take a chocolate tour of one of New Zealand’s favourite chocolate brands, Cadbury. Visit different sensory rooms and learn how chocolate in made on the Cadbury World Tour. All the while, you’ll be filling up a bag of chocolate to take home after the tour.
Location: 280 Cumberland Street
8. Go on a Brewery Tour
You have two great major New Zealand breweries to choose from in Dunedin: the Speight’s Brewery or Emerson’s Brewery. Speight’s is one of the mass-produced beers of New Zealand, found in every supermarket and bottle store across the country. Emerson’s is more on the craft beer scene. Either way, drinking beer and touring a brewery sounds like a good way to stay out of the rain.
Location: Emerson’s Brewery is at 70 Anzac Avenue. Speight’s Brewery is at 200 Rattray Street.
9. Check out the Dunedin Public Art Gallery
Out of the rain? Check! Easy to access from the city centre? Check! The Dunedin Public Art Gallery is situated right in The Octagon. Of course, the art exhibitions are ever-changing, but it’s a good way to stay out of the rain for half an hour or so.
Location: 30 The Octagon
10. Experience the culinary delights of Dunedin
Being a city, there are many different places to grab a coffee or a bite to eat! It’s also a great way to stay out of the rain and people watch. A good place to start with bars and cafes is around the Octagon.
Location: Octagon, Dunedin city centre.
11. Binge-watch New Zealand’s Biggest Gap year!
Ok, so this is a bit of shameless self-promotion here, but did you know that the team from BackpackerGuide.NZ did 365 Days: 365 Activities in New Zealand? Get some New Zealand bucket list inspiration for the next leg of your trip by watching some of our awesome episodes on YouTube!