Things to do in Dunedin New Zealand

If you are traveling to Dunedin New Zealand for the first time, the city is home a myriad of Victorian and Edwardian buildings reminiscent of those found in Edinburgh in Scotland.

Things to do in Dunedin New Zealand

Apart from glorious buildings and a wealthy heritage, Dunedin New Zealand offers plenty of outdoor opportunities such as cycling and whale watching.

There are many things to do in Dunedin New Zealand and the city can be a great base for exploring Queenstown and Fiordland.

Things to do in Dunedin New Zealand: Fun Activities

Marine Life Tours

Whale Watching Tour

One of the most popular fun things to do in Dunedin New Zealand is to explore its marine life. The best way to experience the marine life, it’s by arranging a whale watching tour with one of the tour companies there.

A typical whale watching tour takes you out in the Otago Peninsula and allows you to get close to seals as well as swimming with dolphins and whales.

Apart from whale watching, taking a tour at Penguin Place and the Royal Albatross Center are two must-add attractions to your Dunedin New Zealand Itinerary.

Penguin Place Tour

Penguin Place, located on Harington Point Road, is one of the best places to see the yellow-eyed penguins. You can get up-close to the penguins without disturbing them as the center has purposely-built trenches around the site.

Penguin Place tours last 90 minutes and they’re normally conducted in small groups.

Royal Albatross Centre Tour

Royal Albatross Centre, located nearby Penguin Place, also offers a guided tour which lasts around 60 minutes. At the end, visitors are allowed to watch the nesting albatross from the observatory.

Biking & Walking


If you love cycling, Dunedin New Zealand is home to many cycling tracks in the city center and biking tracks around the city's green belt.

If you are traveling with the family, cycling is in fact one of the most popular fun family outdoor activities in the city.

For instance, one of the most popular cycling tracks it’s Jubilee Park (along Serpentine Avenue), which is a safe and easy circuit that also features some challenging sections for experienced bikers.

Another popular place for biking, it’s at the Signal Hill Reserve. The reserve, located in the Octago Peninsula, is home to many single tracks to suit all skill levels.


Woodhaugh Gardens, located nearby Dunedin Botanic Gardens, are an excellent place if you fancy a quite walk. The gardens feature gravel tracks which are also suitable for wheelchair users.

If you love walking or hiking both Jubilee Park and Signal Hill Reserve are also great for walkers or joggers.

Kayak Tour

Another popular activity you can add to your Dunedin itinerary it’s a Kayak tour along Dunedin inner and outer harbor.

A Kayak tour is also a great way to enjoy bird spotting and the lovely scenery, as well as exploring some of the secluded bays.

Fishing Trip

If you are a fishing enthusiast, the south of New Zealand region is known as an angler’s paradise, home to many lakes and rivers with crystal clear waters.

One of the best places nearest to Dunedin New Zealand for fishing of salmon is at the Taieri River, which is located 25 miles southwest of the city center (60 minutes drive from Dunedin)

Brewery Tour

A brewery tour is another activity worth adding to the itinerary. The Speight's Heritage Center offers a 90 minute brewery tour that includes a walk through the historic brewery.

At the end of the Speight’s Brewery tour, you get to sample very fine brews.

List of Dunedin Urban Parks

Center of Dunedin: Robin Hood Park, Unity Park, Mornington Park and Jubilee Park.

North of Dunedin: Ellis Park, Logan Park, Prospect Park and Opoho Park.

South of Dunedin: Bathgate Park, Tonga Park, St. Clair Park, Kettle Park and Hancock Park.

Things to do in Dunedin New Zealand: Places of Interest

Dunedin New Zealand Historic Places

Ferntree House

Ferntree House, located on Taieri Road, is one of the oldest houses in New Zealand and a great example of a period house.

Larnach Castle

Larnach Castle, located near Camp Street in the Otago Peninsula, is the only castle found in New Zealand and features over 40 rooms. The castle is open for public viewing and offers lovely views of the Otago Peninsula and Harbor.

Dunedin Railway Station

The Dunedin Railway Station built in early 1900’s is, architecturally, one of New Zealand jewels, constructed in the Flemish renaissance style with lighter Oamaru stone facings.

Dunedin Botanic Gardens

The Dunedin Botanic Gardens are the oldest in New Zealand and are divided into upper and lower sections.

The lower section of the gardens contains a rose and herb gardens and a Japanese garden, while the upper section features an African garden, a wetlands garden and a small aviary.

Dunedin Northern Cemetery

The Northern Cemetery, adjacent the Botanic Gardens, is a historic cemetery that contains the graves of notables such as the mausoleum of William Larnach.

Dunedin Visitor Center

If you are traveling to Dunedin New Zealand for the first time, the Dunedin Visitor Center is an excellent place to find out further information about events and other activities happening during your vacation.

The visitor center is located at the Octagon near Saint Paul's Cathedral Office and the Otago Theater.

New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame

If you are a sports fan, a visit to the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame would be high in the itinerary.

At the Hall of Fame, you can learn about New Zealand's sporting past such as the kayak in which Ian Ferguson and Paul MacDonald won Olympic gold medals.

Things to do in Dunedin New Zealand: Shopping & Food

The main shopping areas in Dunedin are the Octagon, Murray Place and, along George Street where you can find a variety of local and Asian shops, as well as the Meridian Shopping Mall

Sampling New Zealand local produce is also a popular thing to do in Dunedin New Zealand. The Otago Farmers Market is a great place where you can find all kinds of New Zealand fresh produce such as lamb, fresh fish and organic fruit and vegetables, and more.

Things to do in Dunedin New Zealand: Nightlife & Entertainment

Dunedin New Zealand is a University town and features a variety of clubs, bars and pubs offering live music and entertainment such as karaoke nights.

The area around the Octagon, the Main Street (George Street), south Dunedin and Mornington are home to plenty of bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants.

For instance, along Princess Street you can find the Orbit 107 and Millennium nightclubs, while the popular Terrace pub is located on the Octagon.

Things to do in Dunedin New Zealand: Events & Festivals

Dunedin Rhododendron Festival

The Rhododendron Festival, held in October at the Dunedin Botanical Gardens, features talks and horticultural workshops. If you love plants and want to learn some techniques this is an event you may not want to miss.

Dunedin Cadbury Chocolate Carnival

The Dunedin Cadbury Chocolate Carnival, held in July, is a popular family event where you can enjoy chocolate related activities such as a chocolate cooking class, chocolate painting and more.

Rally of Otago

If you are a rally car enthusiast, you may not want to miss the Rally of Otago. The Otago Rally is held in April and features the second leg of the New Zealand Rally Championship.

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