Browse some of Kidz Go New Zealand's favourite family walks around Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula.
You can’t visit Dunedin without tackling the world’s steepest street! The gradient is 1:2.86 – that means for every 2.86 metres travelled horizontally you climb (or descend) by 1 metre. There is a shop with memorabilia and information at the bottom and a bench and drinking fountain at the top! If you’re around in February, look out for the annual event “the Gutbuster’. Around 1000 competitors run up the street and down again. Meanwhile in July the annual, zany street entertainment on offer involves the rolling of around 10,000 jaffas (kiwi spherical red sweets – chocolate centre with a hard red coating) down the street. Each jaffa is sponsored by one person, with prizes to the owner of the winning sweets and proceeds to charity.
BETHUNES GULLY AND MOUNT CARGILL
If you’re feeling fit, the views from Mount Cargill (676m) are definitely worth the steep climb. The track starts at the Bethunes Gully carpark and playground. Follow an easy walk alongside Lindsay Creek, cross the bridge and start climbing! The track is okay for buggies if you have energy, but there are steep steps near the summit that would require a bit more negotiating!
Follow the beach region out towards the Dunedin golf course. From here you can walk a gravel track through the golf course and on towards Lawyers Head with its spectacular sea views, or Tomahawk beach – a beautiful, secluded spot. Suitable for buggies, but there are sheer cliffs near Lawyers Head.
DUNEDIN BOTANIC GARDENS
Established in 1863, these are New Zealand’s oldest botanic gardens, located at the corner of Great King Street and Opoho Road. Extensive grounds for exploring, right in the heart of the city. Kids will love the aviaries and duck feeding, and there’s a café and playground on-site. Toilets in both Upper and Lower Garden – those in the Upper Garden have baby changing tables. If you really want to keep the kids occupied, there are a variety of Botanic Gardens Education Kits you can download from www.cityofdunedin.com/city or purchase from the information centre at the gardens. Activity kits take around one hour each. The botanic garden tracks and paths are suitable for buggies.
JUBILEE PARK DUNEDIN
Starts at Jubilee Park, just a few blocks sw of the city centre. This easy, casual track follows the bush on the flanks of the sports ground. Suitable for buggies. Toilets on-site. Parking off Maori Road.
KARETANE - NORTH OF DUNEDIN
About 40 mins drive north of Dunedin, this tiny coastal township offers stunning, deserted beaches, surf, playground and river to explore. The river is ideal for beginner kayakers – watch out for the friendly resident sea lion! Kayaks can be hired from Kayak Karitane, near the river (03 465 7695).
PORT CHALMERS RECREATION RESERVE
Follow the Port Chalmers road alongside the harbour to this tiny seaside township. There are a number of pathways around the cemetery, providing good views of Careys Bay. For a great beach/picnic spot, follow the Blueskin Road by car, to the beach and river at Purakaunui. Fantastic swimming hole, and fun for kayaks.
ROSS CREEK UPPER RESERVOIR
There are lots of tracks around this region just north of the city centre and near Woodhaugh Gardens. The Upper Reservoir circuit is more suitable for buggies and involves a peaceful walk on a gravel path, following the reservoir. There are steep banks beside some of the tracks, so if you explore this area, please keep small children close to you.
SIGNAL HILL RESERVE
A popular recreation reserve for mountain bikers and walkers. Drive past the Botanic Gardens and then on up Signal Hill road. There are well developed mountain bike and walking tracks. The mountain bike tracks range from easy to very technical. These are defined by coloured markers - yellow is easiest, blue is intermediate and red is expert only.
ST CLAIR TO ST KILDA
A visit to the beach is a must in Dunedin, and the most popular beaches are just a few minutes drive from the city centre! Head out to St Clair – it’s a great surf beach and also lots of fun for a splash around – there are surf life savers on guard in the main area. At one end of St Clair are the newly renovated hot salt water pools (open October to March). They’ve a great location, perched on the rocks, overlooking the surf and allow the kids to swim and play away from the surf, but still on the beach. There’s a new paddling pool at one end, for the littlies. St Clair is also the stop for beach dining, snacks or icecreams. Walks Walk along the beach and past the hot pools to follow a cliffside track. You can take a 20 minute stroll around the cliffs to Second beach and follow the same path back again. Toilets at St Clair playground. Otherwise the beach stretches as far as the distant Lawyers Head, so grab the kids and take a stroll either along the water’s edge or following the beach side track in the sand dunes, towards St Kilda’s beach and Marlow Park. Seals can sometimes be spotted basking on the sand. They can get agitated and should not be approached.
A great spot for a picnic or day out, the gardens are north of the city, near the end of George Street. Toilets, toddler pool, BBQ and playground on-site. There are several tracks through the gardens, some suitable for those with buggies. The main track encircles the park and takes around an hour to walk around.