Dunedin has four distinct seasons and the occasional rainy day, but there are plenty of fascinating indoor activities year-round to keep everyone busy.
Spectacular Larnach Castle sits atop the Otago Peninsula with panoramic views of the harbour and beyond. The former home of Scottish banker William Larnach, the castle has a rich – and somewhat scandalous - family history and is home to beautiful gardens and a decadent interior. Enjoy a tour, followed by a delicious high tea served in the ballroom.
Explore the rich history of Southern New Zealand through collections covering culture, nature and science. The recently opened Tūhura Otago Community Trust Science Centre has over 45 hands-on interactives, including a giant DNA-inspired helical slide, a three-tier tropical butterfly enclosure 360 Planetarium and Beautiful Science Gallery. An excellent way for families to spend a few very entertaining and educational hours.
Dunedin is known for its fantastic local fashion scene and is one of the few remaining cities that still boasts a large number of independent boutiques. Unearth fascinating finds in upper Moray Place or Lower Stuart Street, where artisan homewares, gifts and vintage emporiums reign supreme. George Street is the domain of the local designer labels and shopping centres, where you can while away an afternoon indulging in undercover retail therapy.
Enjoy a train trip that departs from the historic Dunedin Train Station and into the spectacular Taieri River Gorge. Enjoy the variety of landscapes as the train negotiates this narrow river gorge and learn about how the line was constructed with accompanying full commentary. This all-weather experience includes sightseeing stops, so make the most of some great photo opportunities.
Dunedin has an abundance of art galleries that showcase the works of local and international artists, the largest and most notable of which is the Dunedin Public Art Gallery in the Octagon is free to visit and houses an impressive collection of works spanning many decades and regularly hosts touring exhibitions. The many smaller galleries dotted in and around the city provide opportunities to view and purchase the works of New Zealand artists and are an excellent way to spend a few hours in between café hopping.
A museum, but not as you know it. Toitu expertly mingles the early history of Dunedin’s settler population with installations from more recent times, complete with trolleybuses and vintage caravans. The interactive exhibits include a recreated settler’s house and ships cabin, which offer a fascinating insight into the conditions faced by many in the early years of the Dunedin settlement.