Dunedin was the first place in New Zealand to be permanently settled by Scottish rather than English colonists. Indeed, it was founded by the Scottish Free Church and named by the old Gaelic name for ‘Edinburgh’. This heritage is clear in the European style churches and sturdy stone buildings, and some would argue extends to the weather, as frequently cold southerly winds whip across the Southern Ocean from Antarctica.
It is, however, these cold swells that make this south-eastern corner of the country a treasure trove of wildlife and, stretching eastwards from the city, the rural Otago Peninsula is one of the best places to see it. Both little blue and rare yellow-eye penguins nest here, New Zealand fur seals and Hooker’s sea lions are often spotted on the beaches and in the water, dolphins can often be seen frolicking in the waves, and Taiaroa Head at the tip of the peninsula is home to the only mainland colony of albatross in the Southern Hemisphere. Where to start…..!
Alongside the wildlife, Dunedin boasts many attractions such as New Zealand’s first botanical gardens, an impressive baroque style train station, and statuesque Larnach Castle and its extensive gardens. It is also a big university town and the students keeps this otherwise traditional town on its toes, meaning that there is an excellent selection of eating places, bars and shops.