|Dunedin is New Zealand’s oldest city; it is also the most eclectic one
New Zealand, to me, will always seem other worldly with its breathtaking landscapes, sparse population (after all, I come from a land of a billion people) and extraordinarily low crime rate.
Dunedin is New Zealand’s oldest city; it is also the most eclectic one. A southern treasure trove of indie nightlife, indigenous wildlife, cutting edge fashion and historic architecture.
The Scottish settlement of Dunedin, Otago, dates back to the 1840s. Its grand, ruler-straight Edwardian and Victorian street-scapes are a legacy of the Central Otago gold boom, but with a modern day population of 100,000 the vibe is that of an easy-going provincial hub. Inland from the coastal centre is the ruggedly beautiful, sparsely populated Central Otago region, a favourite of artists, orchardists and red grape winemakers. Take a roadie to discover its big skies and haunted country pubs, or head to the ski towns of Queenstown and Wanaka amid the Southern Alps, a couple of lakes spectacularly framed by purple-hued mountain ranges.
What to see
Great wildlife. Otago Peninsula snakes out from the city of Dunedin with its curvy backbone giving shelter to a string of unspoilt bays and beaches. It’s an eco-tourist’s dream destination with the world’s only mainland albatross colony, the world’s rarest penguin – the hoiho, punk-coiffed yellow-eyed star, wild sea lions and even the occasional leopard and elephant seal waiting to be viewed up close in their natural habitat. The rare charms of Otago Peninsula also extend to Larnach Castle, built in 1871 and a must-do for Devonshire tea and garden enthusiasts. Then you have the city’s botanic gardens too.
No matter what you do or don’t do, just don’t miss out on discovering the city’s great live music tradition at the city’s pubs along with a plate of mutton bird linguini washed down with a fine Central Otago Pinot noir.