Firstly may I thank you for reading this article!
I'm a Brit who has lived in Dunedin for just over a year, I work as a consultant to the tourism industry.
We have many British visitors to the city each year, hence why I thought I would write an article specifically for my fellow countrymen (and women!) about this quirky little city
I think for most Brits New Zealand is one of those countries that is automatically on your list of places you know you want to visit. It certainly seems to be amongst my family and friends.
Maybe it's the adventurous thought of travelling to the 'other side of the world' or perhaps the pull of knowing that you can go drive for hours without seeing another person. Whatever your reason for coming to New Zealand, trust me...you'll love it!
So...you're coming to New Zealand on your big adventure that you've been planning for years!?! There are plenty of places you'll want to see - but within this article my ambition is to make sure that Dunedin is not only one of them, but you'll stay for more than one night!
Reason #1 - Dunedin's History
Dunedin has a long and interesting history, for New Zealand that is! The link with Britain stems right back to the time of British explorer James Cook.
He first stood off what is now the coast of Dunedin in 1770 and laid name to many local spots. Perhaps most interesting however is that he reported seeing penguins and seals in the vicinity, still a big attraction point today!
The next interaction between Europe and the area that is now Dunedin, was with the first European settler William Tucker and then by the Weller brothers who founded their whaling station nearby.
The settlement of the named city of Dunedin came about in 1844, when the Deborah, captained by Thomas Wing and carrying, among others his wife Lucy and a representative of the New Zealand Company, Frederick Tuckett, came south to determine the location of a free church settlement.
After inspecting several areas around the eastern coast of the South Island, Tuckett selected the site.
The Lay Association of the Free Church of Scotland founded Dunedin in 1848, with the name Dunedin coming from Dùn Èideann, the Scottish Gaelic name for Edinburgh.
Some of the city's first inhabitants included Captain William Cargill, a veteran of the war against Napoleon and Reverend Thomas Burns, the nephew of the poet Robert Burns -one of Scotland's most celebrated children.
Plus, just to make you feel a little bit more at home...we have NZ's only castle - Larnach Castle!
For those that have a love of history and learning a little bit about the area they are visiting I would recommend;
- City Walks with Athol Parks, a great local tour guide who offers a variety of interesting walks
- Otago Settlers Museum, a fun and informative look into the settling of the city. Particularly good for the Brits as you can see how some of our ancestors travelled here!
Reason #2 - The Wildlife
As much as I do persist to the locals that we do have open areas, national parks and wildlife in the UK I have to admit that for a small city Dunedin does have some awesome wildlife!
The Otago Peninsula is simply breathtaking, with stunning views and wildlife just 30 minutes from the city centre.
Some of the furry residents include Yellow-Eyed Penguins, the worlds rarest penguin, the Little Blue Penguins, New Zealand Sea lions, Fur Seals and a whole array of seabirds - many endemic to this area.
And if penguins and sea lions weren't quite enough the Peninsula also boasts having the worlds only mainland breeding colony of albatross, resident to a notable number of Royal Northern Albatross.
Whether you are a wildlife fanatic or not, you have to visit the Otago Peninsula, a visit to New Zealand just wouldn't be complete if not!
I would recommend:
Monarch Wildlife Cruises and Tours, a friendly family owned business offering a wide range of tours built around a brilliant wildlife boat trip. The best way to see the Albatross in flight and get up close and personal with Penguins at Penguin Place.
Reason #3 - Chocolate and Beer
I'm sure one of these top tourist attractions will tickle your fancy! Dunedin has the great honour of being where the Kiwis make their chocolate, and not just any chocolate...Cadbury's.
So if you're half way through your holiday and perhaps missing a few of those home comforts, there is no better place to go than Cadbury World. They have a pretty cool factory tour, where you are taught how our most favourite of sweet treats are made...and yes you get samples!
Even if you don't opt for the tour, the shop is open where they sell all your favourites at factory shop prices. However chocolate lovers be warned that NZ chocolate does taste different - even Cadbury's! Its taken nearly a year to get used to it!
If you're not a chocolate lover, how about a pint? Again I warn you up front that like most of the rest of the world the Kiwis don't completely understand how to make a truly great beer, by that I mean they don't serve it flat!
After spending most of my growing years in Cornwall, I always long for real ale...however after a year here I'm just about coming round to the idea of the local tipple. And that local tipple is Speights!
Originating here in Dunedin, Speights is known as the pride of the south, with local adverts suggesting that to drink Speights you've got to know how to herd sheep and drive a tractor.
Don't worry though...I'm certainly not an expert in either of those fields but still enjoyed the tour at the Speights Brewery!
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