Dunedin our Edinburgh of the south
Dunedin: the Celtic name for Edinburgh. This southern city is known as the “Edinburgh of the South”. So named by the settlers from Scotland who planned the street layout and names, based on the Edinburgh they left behind. There is still a lot of evidence of the influence of the early settlers in the architecture and the monuments, including the statue of Robbie Burns in the Octagon, the centre of the city.
The locals are well known for their hospitality. Ask any of the students at the Otago University who go there from far afield, because their father or mother did. This is a large University City but, it also has great natural attractions that require more than a day to take in. The scenic coast line and harbour peninsula are truly amazing with castles to rival Scotland. The wildlife on the Otago peninsula is world renown with an Albatross colony, rare penguin colonies and other migrating bird life.
The city itself is easy to walk around but, there is always the local bus service for those that do not want to tackle the hills that put a stop to the planned octagonal street pattern planned back in Scotland!
Not that far up the hill from The Octagon is the stately home Olveston. This home was gifted to the city and is a must see when visiting Dunedin as it is full of priceless items and is one of New Zealand’s best kept secrets.
St Clair and St Kilda beaches are just minutes for the city centre. They are famous for the great surf that rolls in from the Pacific Ocean and are used by surfers from all over the country and overseas.
The hinterland is not that far from the city and is easily accessible by car. The Taieri Plains and the Strath Taieri are well worth a visit. You will find that the countryside is very similar to the border area of Scotland and must have made the early settlers a wee bit homesick!
The coastal waters are a fisherman’s paradise with the famous New Zealand Blue Cod and Crayfish a local delicacy. The rivers inland from Dunedin are a fly fishing mecca.
Dunedin – home to the steepest street in the world; the ID Fashion Week; Cadbury Chocolate Carnival; boutique breweries, Port Chambers Seafood Festival; the Nude Rugby International; and is one of the venues of the Winter Games NZ 2011.
Do not forget to visit some of the stunning Central Otago vineyards scattered throughout the region from Alexandra to Lake Hayes (2 ½ - 4 hours drive time). Although one of New Zealand’s newer wine regions, Central Otago vineyards are producing gorgeous pinot noirs and other varietals.
Spend some quality time and relax in this city that used to be the largest in New Zealand after the gold rush of the 1860’s. It has been said that Dunedin built the other now much larger cities in the North Island with the gold rush money and the savings of the frugal Scots settlers.