Dunedin is a unique city with a rich Scottish heritage and vast landscapes of harbours, rolling countryside and lush forests in the wider Dunedin region. You can have all kinds of new and exciting experiences in Dunedin, from seeing royal albatrosses to exploring preserved Victorian and Edwardian architecture and enjoying thrills on the water. There’s plenty to do in the city as well, such as touring Scottish-style castles, wandering the tranquil paths of botanical gardens or splashing around with the kids at a fun-filled water park. Find out all about a trip to Dunedin, including the best places for Dunedin baches and the top attractions.
Places to stay in Dunedin
Home to rich natural environments and bustling city spots, the Dunedin region boasts a wide variety of experiences and opportunities. Find out the best places to stay in Dunedin to enjoy all the activities and attractions you won’t want to miss.
Oamaru for old-fashioned fun
Located in North Otago, Oamaru is known for its botanical gardens, beautiful Victorian architecture, native penguin colonies and quirky steampunk attractions. With an Oamaru bach, you can tour the town to see the preserved Victorian buildings constructed of limestone to get a glimpse into the industrial boom of the past. Oamaru also has incredible shopping and artisan food shops. One of the most unique experiences you can have is visiting the steampunk attractions in Victorian garb and taking the kids to a steampunk-themed playground.
Karitane for adventures in the outdoors
The charming seaside settlement of Karitane is located on the edge of the Waikouaiti River and boasts rolling countryside and golden beaches. Plenty of adventurers come to Karitane for ocean activities like fishing and kayaking, as well as taking a coastal track to spot fur seals and sea lions relaxing on the shores. The quiet beaches also offer excellent surf breaks for experienced surfers. With a Karitane bach, you can stay close to the water to take advantage of all the opportunities for water sports and swimming with the kids.
Brighton for family outings
Brighton is the quintessential beach town in the Dunedin region and offers plenty of nostalgia for a seaside holiday with family. The beautiful beaches have soft sand and calm waters for little ones to swim and play, and you’ll find ice cream shops and eateries near the beach for snacks. Kids will also like the grassy areas for playing or picnicking near the beach, as well as the rocky island in the water that can be reached at low tide. Other activities popular in Brighton include paddleboarding, kayaking, fishing, golfing and nature walks. With a bach in Brighton, you can stay close to the beach for long days in the sun. The pet-friendly Seaview Shack is a great choice for a family stay and offers space for 8 people, ocean views, proximity to the beach, television with cable, toys and games for kids.
Things to do in Dunedin
Dunedin is home to an array of art, cultural, historic and wildlife attractions for a once-in-a-lifetime holiday experience. From wildlife encounters and water parks to historic castles and Maori artefacts, find out more about the best things to do in Dunedin to plan your itinerary.
Known for its rich heritage, Dunedin was founded by Presbyterian Scottish immigrants, and you'll find many Scottish cultural sites to explore on your trip. Larnach Castle is a spectacular 19th-century castle with Italian and Venetian architectural touches. You can also learn about Dunedin’s original settlers with the kids at the Toitu Otago Settlers Museum, which showcases incredible exhibits like portraits of Otago pioneers, stories of Maori tribes and gold rush-era memorabilia.
Arts and culture
Dunedin is home to many exciting arts and culture experiences for the whole family. The best attraction is the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, which houses an extensive collection of works from local artists dating back to the colonial era. You’ll also see global artwork, such as Japanese prints, Monet masterpieces and works from William Turner. The Dunedin Museum of Natural Mystery is another place to see remarkable works from a local artist who uses bone and unusual artefacts from all over the world to create one-of-a-kind works.
Dunedin boasts many kid-friendly experiences and attractions for a memorable family trip. You could visit Penguin Place to see adorable penguins up close and learn about conservation or explore the wonders of the Otago Museum and its planetarium and science centre. Kids will also like the Royal Albatross Centre, which is a haven for the royal albatross and is one of the only nesting and breeding sites on the mainland. For a bit of fun, take the kids to the Moana Pool to play in a rapid river, tepid wave pool and toddlers’ splash area.