Following our two day drive through The Catlins, we followed the Southern Scenic Route up towards our next stop of Dunedin. Well-known for being a student town (the country’s oldest university is located here), I expected it to be hip, young and lively. What I had forgotten to take into account was the fact that it was of course, the holiday period and it would seem that pretty much all of the students had left the town.
Whilst the major highlights of Dunedin seem to be outside Dunedin itself due to its proximity to the Otago peninsula and central Otago, Dunedin’s city centre does have a few highlights worth checking out if you’ve got a spare afternoon.
Speight’s Brewery tour
Speight’s is one of New Zealand’s most loved and biggest selling beers. The Speight’s brewery is still located in its original site on Rattray Street, where its building dates back to the late 1800s. 90 minute guided tours through the historic working brewery can be booked, where you can learn about the beer making process and the history of Speight’s, before tasting some of the beer yourself. I was surprised myself at how much I enjoyed this tour (hardly ever really drinking beer myself), with my guide adding a whole lot of entertainment value himself!
Cadbury World factory tour
The Dunedin Cadbury factory site produces all of New Zealand’s Cadbury chocolate bars, as well as exporting certain bars and processed chocolate to Australia and Singapore. This being New Year’s Eve meant that only the “shortened tour” was running. I would otherwise have liked to have gone with the “full tour” which includes a tour of the factory, something which I would’ve been quite keen to see. The shortened tour lasts for 45 minutes and includes entry to the Cadbury World Visitor Centre (where the chocolate making process is explained), view of the Chocolate Fall in action (exactly what it sounds like, reminds me of the chocolate waterfall in Charlie & the Chocolate Factory!) and the Retail Shop. “Free” chocolate bars and samples throughout the tour serves as an added incentive.
Remember to ask for combination Speight’s Brewery tickets if you intend to visit both attractions.
Dunedin Railway Station
This Edwardian railway station featuring mosaic-tile floors and stained glass windows is apparently New Zealand’s most photographed building and the second most photographed building in the Southern Hemisphere (how they monitor this I have no idea). The building is also the location of New Zealand’s Sports Hall of Fame which is worth a visit for all you sports fans.
Toitu Otago Settlers Museum
I popped in here on a whim, not expecting too much out of it. It turned out to be one of the most interesting museums I have ever visited! This museum focuses on the history of the settlers in Otago, with an interesting collection of artifacts, set about in a very interactive manner. I could’ve spent a lot longer than the hour I had.
Dunedin Chinese Garden
As I unfortunately had to rush off to my Cadbury tour booking, I didn’t get to explore the Dunedin Chinese Garden but it was recommend to me by the local I-Site and did look good from the outside.
First Church of Otago, Dunedin Town Hall and St Paul’s Cathedral
Centrally located buildings, easily accessible and worth a quick look for the architecture.