Go-To Guides

Dunedin & Waitaki

While often recognised for its scarfie culture, there's plenty more to the South Island's second-largest city. Dunedin (Ōtepoti) serves as a blossoming cultural hub, where colourful street murals can be admired on self-guided art trails and the local music scene has its own genre.

The city, also referred to as the Edinburgh of the south, has both rich Scottish and Māori connections. Walk around a castle halfway down the Otago Peninsula or visit one of the museums for stories of natural mystery and a Māori perspective on history. Beyond the city limits in Ōamaru, visitors will find a quirky steampunk museum, well-preserved Victorian precinct and otherworldly rock formations. Elsewhere around the wider Waitaki region, straddling the border between Canterbury and Otago, you'll find a little blue penguin colony, stunning alpine lakes and destination restaurants worth a visit.


See & Do

Splash around in an outdoor salt water pool, get up close to the world's largest seabirds and soak in amazing Victorian architecture.

Visit a post-apocalyptic wonderland

Ōamaru embraces its alternative side of Victorian history as a steampunk wonderland. Steampunk is a culture based on 19th-century inventions for the modern world, with an almost post-apocalyptic twist. The town has an iconic Steampunk Festival that takes place once a year, and is home to the iconic Steampunk HQ, which is like Weta Workshop meets Te Papa. Inside you'll find a mind-bending light show, skeletons riding Mad Max-style vehicles, and even an enormous airship with a shark's mouth on it. Read more

The Portal Room is a popular attraction at Steampunk HQ. BROOK SABIN

The Portal Room is a popular attraction at Steampunk HQ. BROOK SABIN

Hike up the world's steepest street

For a cheap thrill and obligatory photo, Baldwin Street is the official steepest street in the world (except for the time when it briefly lost its title to Ffordd Pen Llech in Wales). Challenge yourself to make it to the top – it’s the best free workout your calves could have. Read more

See the smallest penguins in the world

Ōamaru is also home to a considerable population of little blue penguins/kororā. Each night, 50 to 250 birds come home from a day of fishing and clamber up the rocks, then waddle to their nests. You can watch the penguins surf ashore and find their home. You’ll get within a few metres of them making their evening commute. It's by far your best chance to see large groups of little blue penguins anywhere in New Zealand. Read more

There are two stands for tourists to sit and watch the penguins. BROOK SABIN

There are two stands for tourists to sit and watch the penguins. BROOK SABIN

Ōamaru’s Harbour Street is a fine example of Victorian architecture. BROOK SABIN

Ōamaru’s Harbour Street is a fine example of Victorian architecture. BROOK SABIN

The most beautiful little town in NZ

Ōamaru's Harbour Street is the epicentre of amazing Victorian architecture, which will take you straight back to Europe. The Victorian centre of town is sprinkled with galleries, cafés, restaurants and museums making it arguably the most beautiful little town in all of Aotearoa. Read more

A little slice of Mars in Waitaki

This unworldly landscape of deep ravines and towering pinnacles has to be one of the most underrated attractions in Aotearoa. If it were overseas, there'd be queues, cafés and novelty shops; here, there's a hand-painted sign pointing towards the entrance and an honesty box. The Clay Cliffs are dramatic; it feels like Peter Jackson was behind its creation as part of an elaborate movie set. But this remarkable landscape was sculpted by Mother Nature over millions of years. Read more

Larnach Castle is one of Dunedin's most distinctive landmarks. BROOK SABIN

Larnach Castle is one of Dunedin's most distinctive landmarks. BROOK SABIN

Visit a grand Victorian castle

Larnach Castle would look at home in any European country. Two hundred men took three years to build the shell of the castle, and a European artisan spent a further 12 years agonising over every detail on the inside. And it shows — the castle is full of period drama, you can even walk right up to the turret. Today, you can go for a day visit, a three-course dinner, or even stay the night in a nearby lodge, stable or luxury stone manor – all on the castle grounds. Read more

New Zealand's most scenic bike ride

The Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail, which stretches for more than 300 kilometres between the Southern Alps and Ōamaru, is often touted as one of the most scenic multi-day bike rides in the country. In addition to New Zealand’s highest mountain, riders are treated to glass-clear glacial lakes, braided rivers, basins of golden tussock, bizarre fossilised rock formations, cute country towns and the boutique vineyards of one of New Zealand’s newest wine regions. Read more

Insider tip: Ostler Wines has a tasting room on the Kurow-Duntroon leg of the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail. Be sure to make a booking as numbers are limited.
Stephen Heard, travel publishing coordinator

The wildlife capital of New Zealand

More than 10,000 seabirds live at Taiaroa Head, at the very tip of the Otago Peninsula. The most famous resident is the northern royal albatross, and it's here you'll find the only mainland breeding colony in the world. Depending on the time of the year, you'll see parents feeding chicks or sitting on eggs - and learn more about these magnificent creatures. As well as these giant birds, the Royal Albatross Centre also does penguin tours. Pilots Beach is a breeding ground for fur seals and where sea lions rest. Read more

Take a self-guided street art tour

Following this street art trail connecting 30-odd murals is a great way to spend a couple of hours. The subjects and styles of the murals are as diverse as their international artists. You’ll see a tail-nibbling tuatara, a scribbly Haast eagle, sweet children, portraits, abstract, nature, history, fantasy and more, in vibrant colour and monochrome, all of them strikingly big. Many of them are tucked away down side streets and high up on buildings so grab a free map. Read more

Chinese artist DALeast represents the extinct Haast Eagle. LIZ CARLSON

Chinese artist DALeast represents the extinct Haast Eagle. LIZ CARLSON

Traditionally more than 12,000 people pack the Dunedin Craft Beer and Food Festival. DUNEDINNZ

Traditionally more than 12,000 people pack the Dunedin Craft Beer and Food Festival. DUNEDINNZ

The best times to be in and around Dunedin & Waitaki

There isn’t a really bad time to visit this part of New Zealand. Sure it gets a little nippy during the winter months but the city and surrounding areas have plenty to keep you occupied throughout the year. A craft beer festival attracts more than 12,000 people, while the largest multi-sport event in Aotearoa draws 5000 athletes. Also on the cards are celebrations dedicated to fashion, heritage, literature and sci-fi. Read more

Insider tip: If it's cold and you have kids, head straight to the Butterfly House at Otago Museum - they heat it to subtropical temperatures.
Hamish McNeilly, senior Dunedin reporter

THE BEST MUSEUMS IN DUNEDIN AND ŌAMARU

Museum of Natural Mystery

Artist Bruce Mahalksi has turned three rooms of his central city villa into a museum to display his work and lifetime collections. This private museum is filled with weird and wonderful items collected on the adventure that has clearly been his lifetime, including skulls, bones, fossils, biological curiosities, ethnological art, and bone sculptures and animal canvases made by Mahalski himself. There’s even a Gloriavale uniform and piece of wood from what is said to be the most haunted house in England.

Otago Museum

Moa bones, an ancient Egyptian mummy and a living tropical forest replete with a waterfall, exotic butterflies, giant stick insects, tarantulas, terrapins, and a “sky bridge” are among the some 1.5 million delights to discover here. The Tūhura Science Centre is the only bicultural science centre in the world, combining science, art and the Kāi Tahu creation story. If that’s not enough to convince you this is no ordinary museum, perhaps the three-storey indoor slide and bike-riding skeleton will.

Tūhura Planetarium, Otago Museum. DUNEDINNZ

Tūhura Planetarium, Otago Museum. DUNEDINNZ

Smith Gallery, Toitū Otago Settlers Museum. DUNEDINNZ

Smith Gallery, Toitū Otago Settlers Museum. DUNEDINNZ

Toitū Otago Settlers Museum

This more than 120-year-old museum tells the stories of the people who have helped make Otago – and New Zealand – what it is today. More than 100,000 objects shine a light on the culture, fashion, art, and transport of the region from Māori settlement to the present. The Smith Gallery is a powerful visual tribute to the region’s pioneers, and interactive exhibits such as a recreated settlers’ house, ship cabin and the Chinese-style garden help bring all this fascinating history to life.

Whitestone City

This 1882 grain store in the heart of Ōamaru’s Victorian precinct will take you back to its heyday. Stroll through a replica streetscape, get your photo taken clinking glasses at a Victorian-style table, learn a thing or two about the education system in the school house, and ride the penny-farthing carousel. Costumed guides are informative and many guests enjoy raiding the dressing up gear themselves. Old-fashioned games such as skittles and croquet will also keep you amused – as will the tales of Ōamaru’s sometimes sketchy past.

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Hidden Gems

Visit sacred Māori sites between Dunedin and Ōamaru, access a hidden beach via a hand-dug tunnel and hop around the lakes district.

Soak beneath the stars in Ōmārama

Once you've explored the Clay Cliffs, another local institution is the open-air Ōmārama Hot Tubs. Here you'll find ten private tubs scattered around a lake, all with views of the distant mountains. When checking in, you’re given a treasure-like map with your hot tub marked on it. We highly recommend booking for sunset; then you get to watch the mountains be painted a kaleidoscope of colours as night falls. Read more

Take your pick from ten private hot tubs. BROOK SABIN

Take your pick from ten private hot tubs. BROOK SABIN

Take a history lesson through fossils

The Waitaki region is home to an enormous collection of fossils which are best appreciated at the Vanished World Centre in Duntroon. It's a little terrifying to see what's been found on farms throughout Waitaki, like shark-toothed dolphins and four-legged whales that looked more like giant crocodiles. The centre has created a self-guided drive to a series of historical places around the region, including Māori rock art and the Valley of Whales. Read more

A world-class cycleway

One of the best ways to experience the sights of the region is on a network of cycleways around the Otago Harbour. Start with the spectacularly scenic coastal road winding along the Otago Peninsula, which has a dedicated cycleway to the cute little seaside town of Portobello. From there, pre-book a ferry to Port Chalmers, and cross over to the other side of the harbour where you can return to Dunedin. It was once named one of the world's best cycle routes. Read more

New Zealand's best hidden beach

Tunnel Beach has it all: history, mystery and beauty. Over thousands of years, the sea has sculpted a dramatic scene into the sandstone cliffs near Dunedin, creating an idyllic little beach in the cliffs. The founder of Otago settlement was William Cargill. His son, John, ordered a tunnel dug down to the beach in the 1870s - supposedly so that his family could have a private place to bathe. Today, you still access the seemingly unreachable beach through the hand-dug tunnel. Read more

All the gems between Dunedin and Ōamaru

The drive from Dunedin to Ōamaru only takes an hour and a half, but there's so much to see and do along the way that it’s worth taking your time. Spectacular coastal scenery, important historic sites, quirky shops, tasty pies and the freshest fish ‘n’ chips are among the hidden gems waiting to be discovered. Arc Brewing Co is a neat little brewery where you can sit down and enjoy a pint; Karitāne is a laidback community with a popular surf beach, coastal track and sacred Māori site; and Shag Point/Matakaea is a prime location for seal spotting and visiting historic burial grounds. Read more

The great pyramids of Aotearoa

The Otago region was once home to enormous volcanic activity, which helped form two mysterious pyramids. The smallest is called Little Pyramid - Te Matai O Kia - and is of importance to Māori. Settlements have been discovered nearby, with human and moa bones that date back around 500 years. The little pyramid has a walking track to the top, with extensive views of Okia Reserve — home to sea lions and yellow-eyed penguins. Read more

Bathing with beanies

One of the most photographed pools in the world is the Bondi Baths – the ocean pool which sits at the southern end of Australia’s most iconic beach. Dunedin has one of those too. The St Clair Hot Salt Water Pool opened in 1884, and by the 1960s it took a giant leap for mankind and was heated. Dunedin's version of heaven is sitting in the 28-degree pool watching the wild sea on a blustery cold day. Read more

Vanished World Centre. BROOK SABIN

Vanished World Centre. BROOK SABIN

Baldwin Street. BROOK SABIN

Baldwin Street. BROOK SABIN

St Clair Beach. BROOK SABIN

St Clair Beach. BROOK SABIN

Dunedin Railway Station. BROOK SABIN

Dunedin Railway Station. BROOK SABIN

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Vanished World Centre. BROOK SABIN

Vanished World Centre. BROOK SABIN

Baldwin Street. BROOK SABIN

Baldwin Street. BROOK SABIN

St Clair Beach. BROOK SABIN

St Clair Beach. BROOK SABIN

Dunedin Railway Station. BROOK SABIN

Dunedin Railway Station. BROOK SABIN

NEW ZEALAND'S HIDDEN LAKE DISTRICT

Lake Waitaki

Surrounded by sunbaked countryside running away to bare brown hills and distant mountain ranges, Lake Waitaki looks like it hasn’t changed much since the dam that created it was built in the 1930s. The oldest and smallest of the region’s human-made lakes, the blue-green lake is a popular spot for fishing, boating, swimming, watersports, and picnicking amid the willow trees.

Lake Ōhau

Looking out to the Ben Ōhau mountain range and Main Divide, Lake Ōhau is New Zealand at its ruggedly good-looking best. Its shores are a perfect place for a stroll or bike ride – on a clear day you can see all the way to Aoraki/Mt Cook. With its old-school hunting lodge vibe complete with leather couches and open fire, Lake Ōhau Lodge is an excellent choice for breakfast, lunch, dinner or pre-dinner drinks.

Lake Ōhau. LORNA THORNBER

Lake Ōhau. LORNA THORNBER

Lake Benmore. LORNA THORNBER

Lake Benmore. LORNA THORNBER

Lake Benmore

Lake Benmore is big enough to ensure you can always find an uncrowded bay or stretch – even in the height of summer. The 16km section of the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail that passes from Sailors Cutting to Benmore Dam is among the loveliest on the journey. Bike or walk past established trees admiring their reflections in the water and fields full of lupins before tackling the tougher part of the trail alongside hidden bays and islands.

Lake Aviemore

The second largest of the lakes along the Waitaki River, Lake Aviemore offers willow-lined, clear-watered loveliness on a grander scale. Walkers shouldn’t miss the Deep Stream Track – a narrow trail following a flooded canyon to a picnic spot that feels like something out of The Wind in the Willows. The network of tracks through the Otematata Wetlands are also well worth a wander and the Aviemore Hydro Dam is something of an attraction in itself.

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Eat & Drink

Wrap your mitts around an oozing cheese roll, sample fresh kai moana by the water and eat your way around a New York-style foodie district.

Destination restaurants worthy of a road trip

Some of the country's best produce comes from the wild landscape of Waitaki. Between the rugged coastline and wide-open plains are several award-winning restaurants, hauling ingredients straight from the garden and sea. A seasonal bistro next to a medieval-style castle and a shipping container serving crayfish right beside the ocean are just two of the destination restaurants worth popping into. Read more

Fleurs Place dishes up fresh fish from the surrounding waters in Moeraki Bay. BROOK SABIN

Fleurs Place dishes up fresh fish from the surrounding waters in Moeraki Bay. BROOK SABIN

Sample bean-to-bar chocolate at OCHO. DUNEDINNZ

Sample bean-to-bar chocolate at OCHO. DUNEDINNZ

Walk around a bean-to-bar chocolate factory

Filling the void left by the closure of the Dunedin Cadbury Factory, OCHO Chocolate is now one of the country’s largest craft chocolate makers, producing up to 10,000 bars a week. For $10, you can enjoy a 25-minute tour and tasting session and learn more about how the factory operates. Or for around the same price, pick up a block from the factory shop to take home. Read more

The best cheese roll in Dunedin

Since opening in 2018, Dunedin's Hungry Hobos has picked up a swag of national awards for its toasted sandwiches and cheese rolls. The menu consists of classic toasties and “flash fella” toasties. The signature cheese rolls are presented on a piece of cardboard, in place of a plate, in keeping with the hobo theme. The jumbo-size roll has a golden brown grilled top, and a pleasing amount of cheese ooze. Read more

A FOODIE'S GUIDE TO THE WAREHOUSE PRECINCT

Vanguard

Those serious about their coffee should head to this specialty coffee roastery and brew bar. Owner Jason Moore set up the satellite café with a sole focus on a great cup of joe. Vanguard only uses coffee that can be fully traced back to the source, whether that’s a cooperative in Kenya or a tiny coffee farm in Colombia.

Precinct

Precinct is the sort of café you would expect to find in a trendy Melbourne suburb, with its polished concrete floors, minimalist lighting, and glass doors separating the coffee counter and kitchen from the dining area. Diners have the choice of sitting down for a leisurely lunch and a glass of wine, or grabbing a coffee and a treat from the cabinet to go. The menu features a mix of trusty favourites and more interesting dishes, with flatbreads sitting alongside fries.

Moiety. SUPPLIED

Moiety. SUPPLIED

Moiety

Moiety is a 27-seat restaurant on the ground floor of the Terminus building, a former hotel built in 1880. It offers a five-course tasting menu showcasing ingredients from small local producers, with a wine list featuring drops you’d struggle to find elsewhere in Dunedin. The casual yet considered approach is why on any given evening you’ll see everyone from university students on dates to city slickers visiting from Auckland sitting side by side in the cosy space.

Good Good. SIOBHAN DOWNES

Good Good. SIOBHAN DOWNES

Good Good

Step through a nondescript entrance on Vogel Street, and you’ll be dazzled by neon lights, bold murals, and greenery and graffiti-covered walls. But it’s not just your eyes that are in for a feast. In the middle of it all is a retro caravan which produces some of the best burgers you’ll find anywhere. Good Good keeps things simple with just a handful of options accompanied by sides like fries and chicken bites.

The Tart Tin

The Tart Tin is a gem of a bakery founded by Matt Cross in 2007. In 2018, he swapped his farmers' market caravan for a little bricks and mortar shop in the Terminus building, where customers can go to pick up their online orders throughout the week, or pop in for spontaneous indulgences. Cross is all about the traditional treats, keeping his cabinet stocked with eclairs, cakes, scones, custard squares, and lamingtons instead of focusing on a signature item.

The Tart Tin. SIOBHAN DOWNES

The Tart Tin. SIOBHAN DOWNES

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Dunedin cafés that are loved by locals

Dunedin boasts a buzzing café scene, with coffee shops and brunch spots around every corner. Whether you’re after a flat white and a cheese roll, or a chai tea and a buddha bowl, there’s a café for every taste. In fact, there are so many to choose from it can be overwhelming. Tried and tested cafés loved by locals include a stylish spot with injectable doughnuts, an inviting wee coffeehouse near the Octagon, and an all-day eatery by the sea. Read more

The ice creams Dunedinites enjoy whatever the weather

Dunedin isn’t known for its tropical climate, but head to St Clair Beach on a weekend and no matter the temperature, you’ll find locals queuing for ice creams at the Patti’s & Cream truck. The little white truck doesn't scoop up your standard flavours. Pumpkin dulce de leche, honey & lavender, and lemon curd & marshmallow, are just a few seasonal offerings. For the not-so-sweet-toothed, the American-style burgers are reason enough to pay the truck a visit. Read more

The Patti's & Cream truck can be found parked at the Esplanade at St Clair Beach. DUNEDINNZ

The Patti's & Cream truck can be found parked at the Esplanade at St Clair Beach. DUNEDINNZ

Steamer Basin is a new brewery found in the Warehouse Precinct. SUPPLIED

Steamer Basin is a new brewery found in the Warehouse Precinct. SUPPLIED

A guide to Dunedin breweries

Wellington might be known as the craft beer capital, but Dunedin was brewing before it was cool. The city is home to the oldest working brewery in New Zealand, as well as one of the forerunners of the craft beer scene. Several more have since joined them. New New New draws crowds of adventurous beer drinkers for its lip-smacking sours and stouts, Steamer Basin is a brand new brewery and taproom tucked down a laneway, and Noisy Brewing Co is a bit of a hidden gem for those after flavour-forward, yet drinkable drops. Read more

A cronut worth travelling for

If you imagine a croissant and a doughnut had a baby, you'd be looking at a cronut. It has the fluffy, crunchy texture of a French pastry, combined with the gooey centre of a doughnut. In the charming town of Ōamaru you'll find a little European-style bakery serving exceptional cronuts. The sweet, flaky pastry gives way to a soft chewy centre filled with passionfruit coulis and thick vanilla custard. If you have a soft spot for pastries, Harbour Street Bakery is a compulsory pit stop. Read more

Insider tip: If you’re in town on a Saturday, don’t miss the Otago Farmers Market at Dunedin Railway Station. It’s one of the best markets in the country, thanks to its striking location and huge range of vendors from all around the region.
Siobhan Downes, senior travel reporter

Stay

Book into a grand manor beside a castle, or secure your own slice of windswept paradise for just $20 a night.

Classic luxury in the heart of the city

Make sure you cross the road and look at the facade of Dunedin’s Fable Hotel before heading inside – its elaborate Victorian Italianate frontage looks like something straight from the history books. Inside the city’s newest luxe hotspot, which tips its hat to the region's Scottish heritage, are 50 guest rooms and suites. The infamous Press Club bar and restaurant promises Southern flavours and an extensive whisky menu. Read more

The building housing Fable Dunedin was originally built in 1862. FABLE HOTELS/SUPPLIED

The building housing Fable Dunedin was originally built in 1862. FABLE HOTELS/SUPPLIED

The escape where you'll be treated like royalty

From the outside, Camp Estate looks like it could be a weekend retreat for the royal family. It’s just 500 metres down the road from Larnach Castle and pulling up to the grand manor you'll be greeted in royal fashion. If you stay the night, you get free access to the castle and the expansive grounds, which feels like you're walking through the set of Bridgerton. Inside, it's all chandeliers and plush furniture, with splendid views of Otago Harbour. Read more

Modern luxury and plenty of art

You’re unlikely to miss this architecturally designed steel and glass boutique hotel — it's a literal work of art. The entire facade of EBB-Dunedin is wrapped in a large-scale artwork by Simon Kaan depicting Polynesian waka arriving through the heads of the Otago Harbour. Elsewhere, corridors to the 27 rooms feature renowned New Zealand art and the bathrooms are decked out in striking marble. Read more

EBB-Dunedin is cool, comfortable and decadent. SAM HARTNETT/SUPPLIED

EBB-Dunedin is cool, comfortable and decadent. SAM HARTNETT/SUPPLIED

Insider tip: Jump on the #8 bus on George Street and for a couple of dollars you can ride all the way to St Clair Beach.
Josie Steenhart, travel writer

The best luxury hotels in Dunedin and Ōamaru

If you’re looking to spend some extra dollars on an unforgettable Kiwi adventure, there are plenty of accommodation choices in and around Dunedin that are worth splashing the cash for. The city is home to New Zealand's first "modernist boutique", as well as contemporary property The Chamberson slap bang in the middle of the city. If you want a good dose of history with your luxury accommodation then you could do a lot worse than Ōamaru's Pen-y-Bryn, one of the largest single-story timber dwellings in Australasia. Read more

A night on your own private island for $20

Tucked away in the Otago Harbour is a little slice of windswept paradise you can book for $20 a night. Quarantine Island/Kamau Taurua has a fascinating history. It's believed Māori arrived on the island as early as 1300 and by 1863, early settlers had built a quarantine station. The accommodation is a little like a DOC hut, with sleeping space for 30, a communal kitchen and composting toilet. When on the island, you have free rein to explore three walking trails, take out kayaks, or jump off the jetty. Read more

Valley Views was launched by Otiake couple Patrick and Amber Tyrrell. SUPPLIED

Valley Views was launched by Otiake couple Patrick and Amber Tyrrell. SUPPLIED

Off-the-grid glamping with a view

Valley Views Glamping is an eco-friendly escape in the Waitaki Valley. The six geodesic domes allow guests to experience the beauty of the landscape in the foothills below Mt Domett. While the structures come with all the mod-cons and luxuries for a comfortable stay, wi-fi has been purposely cut off to encourage guests to immerse themselves in nature. And to really unplug, guests can soak in an outdoor bath in the forest. Read more

An adults-only luxury tree house

Less than an hour away from Ōamaru, near the tiny town of Kurow, is adults-only escape, Nest Tree Houses. The tree house is designed to reveal little bits as you walk in, like unwrapping a gift. You first wander through a forest before ascending a swing bridge. There, you're greeted with magnificent views of mountains and expansive high country. Then, a deep outdoor cedar bath comes into view. The best surprise is another tree house a short walk away. What looks like a wooden submarine suspended in the forest is the most spectacular sauna giving 180-degree views of the forest. Read more

Quarantine Island. BROOK SABIN

Quarantine Island. BROOK SABIN

Valley Views. SUPPLIED

Valley Views. SUPPLIED

Nest Tree Houses. BROOK SABIN

Nest Tree Houses. BROOK SABIN

Nest Tree Houses. BROOK SABIN

Nest Tree Houses. BROOK SABIN

Camp Estate. BROOK SABIN

Camp Estate. BROOK SABIN

EBB-Dunedin. JEREMY HOOPER/SUPPLIED

EBB-Dunedin. JEREMY HOOPER/SUPPLIED

Item 1 of 6

Quarantine Island. BROOK SABIN

Quarantine Island. BROOK SABIN

Valley Views. SUPPLIED

Valley Views. SUPPLIED

Nest Tree Houses. BROOK SABIN

Nest Tree Houses. BROOK SABIN

Nest Tree Houses. BROOK SABIN

Nest Tree Houses. BROOK SABIN

Camp Estate. BROOK SABIN

Camp Estate. BROOK SABIN

EBB-Dunedin. JEREMY HOOPER/SUPPLIED

EBB-Dunedin. JEREMY HOOPER/SUPPLIED

Sponsored Picks 

Marvel at the South’s heritage and geology

The Dunedin Railway Station has been called the world’s biggest gingerbread house and is famous for its grand Flemish Renaissance-style architecture.

The journey along the coastline from Dunedin up to Waitaki exceeds expectations in every way. You’ll start in Ōtepoti Dunedin, a historic city that was once the nation’s largest and most prosperous. Here you’ll find centuries-old heritage, a thriving local dining scene, a fair few breweries and you might even run into a grumpy sea lion. 

Heading north, following a coastline dotted with pristine golden beaches and jade harbours. On the way to Waitaki you may spot a penguin or explore bizarre geologic formations. And whatever you do, keep your eyes and your mind open - you’re not going to want to miss the incredible views, family fun and wild adventures in this special part of New Zealand.

Visit NZ’s steampunk capital Ōamaru where you can view New Zealand’s largest collection of commercial Victorian buildings.

The Dunedin Railway Station has been called the world’s biggest gingerbread house and is famous for its grand Flemish Renaissance-style architecture.

The Dunedin Railway Station has been called the world’s biggest gingerbread house and is famous for its grand Flemish Renaissance-style architecture.

Visit NZ’s steampunk capital Ōamaru where you can view New Zealand’s largest collection of commercial Victorian buildings.

Visit NZ’s steampunk capital Ōamaru where you can view New Zealand’s largest collection of commercial Victorian buildings.

Visuals: Brook Sabin

Words: Brook Sabin, Stephen Heard, Siobhan Downes, Lorna Thornber, Alan Granville, Juliette Sivertsen, Trupti Biradar, Pamela Wade, Josie Steenhart

Editors: Trupti Biradar, Stephen Heard


Stuff Travel's Go To Guides are created in partnership with Tourism New Zealand