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Keep your camera handy because Dunedin offers plenty of photo opportunities and reasons to stop on the road ahead.
- Dunedin - Coastal Otago attractions
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Leave Dunedin via Port Chalmers. The road passes Orokonui Eco-Sanctuary - a 300 hectare, wildlife sanctuary. Orokonui is home to many of New Zealand's native birds and reptiles, including the kiwi. Stop for a walk, or a quick coffee in their visitor centre.
The route continues along the coast. The singular beauty of Karitane, Waikouati and Kakanui will leave you speechless – again and again – as you pass these breath-taking white sand beaches.
Hidden Gem: Moeraki Boulders
Make sure you see one New Zealand’s great natural wonders. The Moeraki Boulders have been perfectly rounded over millions of years old and strewn across the beach, just waiting for your own photo call.
Just around the corner, at Katiki Point, you’ll find fur seals and yellow-eyed penguin colonies resting on the rocks alongside the Moeraki Lighthouse.
Oamaru was recently described by author and ex Australian rugby international Peter FitzSimons “as New Zealand’s best kept secret, which is itself the world’s best kept secret”.
Oamaru boasts some of New Zealand's best 19th century architecture including the Opera House, Forrester Gallery and Victorian Precinct. A highlight on Oamaru's event calendar is the Oamaru Victorian Heritage Celebrations in November which include the Grand Street Parade, concerts and penny farthing racing.
Take advantage of Oamaru’s wonderful restaurant scene which includes Riverstone Kitchen – Cuisine New Zealand's Best Casual Dining Restaurant of the year 2010/2011. And for some award winning cheeses, head to the Whitestone Cheese Factory.
Our tip: Don't miss the penguins!
Around the pretty harbour is the world famous Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony – a must see attraction with day tours and nightly viewing of the birds coming ashore.
Carry on north and you’ll detect the aroma of stunning fare and delectable produce. From olive groves to free range pork, you can indulge in local flavours on two of the Canterbury Food & Wine Trails that capture the best tastes of the regions.
Hidden gem: Te Ana Rock Art
Having satisfied your appetite, you may be tempted to discover South Canterbury’s best kept secret – a selection of Maori rock art sites. The superb Te Ana Rock Art Centre in Timaru offers a window into the rich culture of the South Island Maori tribe Ngai Tahu via an interactive voyage.
With Christchurch less than two hours away, you’ll have time to stroll around Ashburton and chat to the charming locals at the aviation museum where you’ll uncover fascinating relics of aviation and transport history – a surprising and unique experience.
At the end of this drive Christchurch will welcome you with open arms. There is lots to do in this funky ever-changing city, so come and stay a few days.
- Christchurch and Canterbury attractions
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Where to next?
From Christchurch you could go north to Marlborough and Nelson, south towards Queenstown or straight across to the West Coast.