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With some of the cooler winter temperatures in New Zealand (an average day time high of around 8°C in winter) it is a little surprising that Dunedin has taken to a high exposure sport – nude rugby!
The hardy southern souls got into the goose bump inducing past time in 2002 when local and ex All Black Marc Ellis decided to combine the occasion of a test rugby match with the university student population (Dunedin has about 20,000 of them) and New Zealand National Nude Day.
The result was a hilarious display of flesh and the birth of a tradition.
Today The Nude Rugby International between the Nude Blacks (university students) and a guest international team is the unofficial curtain raiser to All Black rugby test matches in the city.
Games have generally been played on a beach but in 2010 the event was moved to a public city park where it drew a crowd of thousands.
While Dunedin is not a city usually known for nudity, the game is an excellent example of the locals’ good sense of fun.
Enjoy their good nature in our top 10 picks of things to do in Dunedin:
Royal Albatross Colony – see the magnificent Southern Royal Albatross in the world’s only mainland colony at Taiaroa Head on the Otago Peninsula. These majestic birds have a wing span of over three metres and fly up to 190,000 km a year from their breeding grounds here to feed in the Antarctic waters.
Yellow Eyed Penguin – Dunedin is also home to the world’s rarest penguin, the yellow eyed penguin , see them in their natural habitat at the Yellow Eyed Penguin Conservation Reserve on the Otago Peninsula.
Chocolate Heaven – Dunedin is home to Cadbury World, an experience taking in all the sights, smells and tastes of the chocolate factory. It also hosts an annual celebration of the sweet treat, the Dunedin Cadbury Chocolate Carnival in July
Baldwin Street – take the challenge and haul yourself up Baldwin Street, officially recognised in the Guiness Book of Records as the world’s steepest street. The street hosts the Chocolate Carnival’s ‘giant jaffa race’ during which 40,000 of the candy coated chocolate treat are rolled down the slope to raise money for charity
Larnach Castle – visit New Zealand’s only castle and learn about its exciting and sometimes tragic history
Otago Farmers Market – taste the best of local food at this market held every Saturday at the Dunedin Railway Station
Surfing – the beaches around Dunedin are popular with surfers providing everything from good learner territory to some really challenging breaks
Speights Brewery – find out what the fuss is all about in a heritage tour of the brewery which has been brewing the famous drop since 1876
Fashion – the city is something of a hot house for New Zealand fashion having produced some very well-known labels including Carlson and Nom*D. Shop for these and interesting emerging labels in the city’s retail centre
University of Otago – built in 1869 this is New Zealand’s oldest university and a fine example of the Victorian architecture of the time. It is also the hub for the city’s 20,000 students or ‘scarfies’ as they are fondly referred, an integral part of the city’s life
Air New Zealand flies between Dunedin and Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch linking it with 23 other destinations on its domestic network. For information and to book flights to Dunedin visit www.airnewzealand.com
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