Things to do in Dunedin

Top attractions in Dunedin

About Dunedin

The must-see attractions in Dunedin captivate visitors with their historic and natural beauty. Start with the stunning Otago Peninsula for breathtaking landscapes and wildlife. Larnach Castle and Gardens showcase New Zealand's only castle, steeped in historical significance. Don't miss the architectural splendor of Dunedin Railway Station, and ensure a visit to the Royal Albatross Centre to witness these magnificent birds. Lastly, stroll through the Dunedin Botanic Garden, a lush green space perfect for relaxation and recreation.
Dunedin provides numerous activities for families, including the Otago Museum with its Discovery World and Butterfly House, ideal for interactive learning experiences. The Dunedin Railway's Taieri Gorge trip presents captivating scenic views. For outdoor excitement, the Penguin Place conservation reserve offers a unique opportunity to see penguins in their natural habitat.
Engage in outdoor activities like hiking the trails of Signal Hill for panoramic city views, surfing and relaxing at St. Clair Beach, and taking wildlife tours on the Otago Peninsula, known for its penguins and seals. The Dunedin Botanic Garden is another haven for nature lovers to explore.
For indoor fun, visit the Toitū Otago Settlers Museum to delve into the region's history or enjoy the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame. Art aficionados will appreciate the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, and ale enthusiasts can enjoy a tour of the iconic Speight’s Brewery.
Some of the best tours in Dunedin include guided wildlife excursions on the Otago Peninsula, historical walks around the city's heritage buildings, the Taieri Gorge Railway scenic train ride, and cultural experiences like the Street Art Trail.
Popular museums include the Toitū Otago Settlers Museum for regional history, the Otago Museum for natural science and culture, and the Dunedin Public Art Gallery for a diverse collection of art.
Rainy days are perfect for indoor tours, such as exploring the rich collections of the Otago Museum and the Toitū Otago Settlers Museum. The Speight’s Brewery tour combines history with beer tasting, offering a cozy respite from the weather.
For short, engaging experiences, consider the Speight’s Brewery Heritage Tour or a quick guided tour of the Olveston Historic Home. The Dunedin Street Art Trail can also be a self-paced tour that fits within an hour.

Best Things to Do In Dunedin

Discover the charm of Dunedin with our self-guided audio tours, your gateway to cultural landmarks and hidden gems.

Dunedin: Tunnel Beach

What is it?
A coastal area known for its dramatic rock formations and secluded sands.
Why you should go?
Tunnel Beach invites adventurers to discover one of the best things to do in Dunedin by venturing through a hand-carved tunnel to a hidden beach. Wrapped in local lore and stunning geological features, the descent to the ocean offers breathtaking views that capture the wild essence of the coastline. This natural wonder is not only a highlight for those seeking what to do in Dunedin but also for photographers and romantics alike, who find inspiration in the powerful ocean swells and the peacefulness of an intimate seaside escape.

Dunedin: Olveston Historic Home

What is it?
An early 20th-century estate reflecting the lifestyle of a wealthy Dunedin family.
Why you should go?
In the quest for what to see in Dunedin, Olveston Historic Home offers an intriguing peek into the opulent life of the Theomin family. This time capsule of design and decor from the Edwardian era, preserved almost exactly as it was, provides an authentic representation of upper-class living in the early 1900s. The guided tours are engaging, filled with stories and intricate details, making Dunedin excursions to this landmark a fascinating journey through time and one of the places to visit in Dunedin for lovers of history and architecture.

Dunedin: Baldwin Street

What is it?
The world's steepest residential street, as recognized by the Guinness World Records.
Why you should go?
Baldwin Street holds a peculiar charm and presents a unique challenge that ranks among the fun things to do in Dunedin. Visitors can take on the incline and be rewarded with striking views and bragging rights. The street's steepness has not only made it a site of interest but also a location for various events and a testament to the novel character of things to do in Dunedin. Tackling Baldwin Street is a physical feat and a memorable story to take home from tours in Dunedin.

Dunedin: Dunedin Chinese Garden

What is it?
A tranquil Chinese Scholar's garden nestled in the heart of the city.
Why you should go?
The Dunedin Chinese Garden stands as a symbol of the cultural bond between Dunedin and its sister city, Shanghai. This garden is a serene oasis modeling the traditional landscapes of Ming Dynasty gardens. It offers a meditative retreat from the urban bustle and a chance to appreciate the artistry of Chinese gardening. Embarking on the best Dunedin tours often includes this attraction for its peaceful ambiance, architectural elegance, and captivating water features, which are reflective of Dunedin's multicultural embrace.

Dunedin: The Otago Farmers Market

What is it?
A vibrant market showcasing the region's freshest produce and artisan goods.
Why you should go?
The Otago Farmers Market is a bustling gathering place filled with the scents and sounds of local commerce. As one of the Dunedin activities that connect visitors with the community, the market allows for an exploration of regional culinary delights, from organic fruits and vegetables to handmade crafts and gourmet cheeses. It's a sensory excursion that marks what to do in Dunedin for foodies and those wishing to experience the city's lively local scene alongside residents, making it a weekly event not to be missed.

Dunedin: The Royal Albatross Centre

What is it?
A sanctuary offering close encounters with the majestic Northern Royal Albatross.
Why you should go?
Perched on the Otago Peninsula, The Royal Albatross Centre is a haven for nature lovers and one of the premier things to do in Dunedin. It provides a unique opportunity to observe the world's largest seabird in its natural habitat. Engage with interactive displays, indulge in stunning panoramic views, and enrich your understanding of wildlife conservation on one of the definitive Dunedin activities that leave visitors in awe of the splendor of the natural world.

Dunedin: Larnach Castle & Gardens

What is it?
New Zealand's only castle, boasting spectacular gardens and a rich history.
Why you should go?
Discover the grandeur that Larnach Castle & Gardens has to offer. As one of the top places to visit in Dunedin, this attraction weaves historical opulence with botanical beauty. The castle presents a journey through time with meticulously restored rooms and a compelling family saga. The gardens, a testament to Victorian horticulture, offer tranquility and scenic vistas. Dunedin tours often identify Larnach Castle as a must-see for its architectural wonder and enchanting allure.

Dunedin: Speight's Brewery

What is it?
An iconic brewery and a cornerstone of Dunedin’s cultural heritage.
Why you should go?
Among the fun things to do in Dunedin, a visit to Speight's Brewery is a journey through the city's ale-making history. With a reputation that dates back to 1876, this brewery welcomes visitors to savor the taste of local craftsmanship. The tour encapsulates the brewing process from ingredients to the finished product, followed by samples of traditional ales and beers. It's an experience that combines pleasure with education, ideal for both beer aficionados and curious explorers.

Dunedin: The Octagon

What is it?
The pulsating heart of Dunedin, bustling with arts, culture, and cafes.
Why you should go?
As the central feature of Dunedin, The Octagon is not just a place but an experience. Boasting a vibrant atmosphere, it's lined with historical buildings, buzzing cafes, live street performers, and an infectious energy, making it one of the best things to do in Dunedin. This hub offers a blend of what to see in Dunedin, from the statue of Robert Burns to the Dunedin Public Art Gallery. The Octagon encapsulates the soul of the city, rewarding visitors with culinary delights, cultural insights, and lively entertainment.

Dunedin: Otago Museum

What is it?
A cultural gem showcasing the natural and human history of the region.
Why you should go?
For an enlightening foray into the past, the Otago Museum stands out as one of the essential things to see in Dunedin. With collections ranging from indigenous Maori artifacts to the flora and fauna of the South Island, it offers a comprehensive look into the area's heritage. Highlights include the Southern Land, Southern People gallery and the Tuhura Science Centre, blending education with interactivity for all ages. The museum's versatility makes it one of the best Dunedin tours, providing insights that resonate long after the visit.

TOP-5 tours in Dunedin for first-time visitors

  • Explore the historic Edwardian architecture on a tour through the city centre, uncovering the things to see in Dunedin with informative narratives.
  • Delight in the rich heritage as you visit Dunedin Railway Station, a hub of what to do in Dunedin for history enthusiasts.
  • Embark on a coastal adventure, discovering serene beaches and rugged landscapes, essential places to visit in Dunedin.
  • Savour the best things to do in Dunedin with a stroll through the lush Botanic Gardens, accompanied by stories of plant explorers.
  • Immerse in the fun things to do in Dunedin with a cultural tour, featuring local art, Maori history, and vibrant student life.

Fun Things to Do in Dunedin with Kids

Dunedin offers a myriad of family-friendly outings sure to captivate the curiosity of young explorers. One of the top attractions is the Otago Museum, a treasure trove for young minds, with interactive exhibits like the Discovery World Tropical Forest, where children can wander amidst free-flying butterflies. For an aquatic adventure, there's no place like the New Zealand Marine Studies Centre & Aquarium. Families can get up close with a diverse range of marine life, touching starfish and learning about ocean conservation. Lastly, Dunedin's famous Taieri Gorge Railway presents an enchanting train ride through some of New Zealand's most breathtaking landscapes. The journey combines education and entertainment, making it a delightful experience for all ages. These attractions embody the essence of Dunedin excursions, providing engaging things to do in Dunedin that entertain while fostering a deeper appreciation for the natural world.

Things to Do in Dunedin with Family

Dunedin is a playground for families, offering a mix of educational and joyful experiences. Begin with a journey to the enchanting Dunedin Botanic Garden, where you can wander amidst beautifully landscaped grounds, play in the dedicated children's garden, and spot various bird species. It's a serene escape that highlights the natural beauty of the region. Next, the Toitū Otago Settlers Museum invites families to step back in time to learn about the settlers of New Zealand through interactive and innovative exhibits; it's a captivating educational experience that delights all ages. For the animal-loving family, a visit to Penguin Place offers an unforgettable wildlife encounter. Venture through a unique system of trenches and observe the rare Yellow-Eyed Penguins in their coastal environment. These family-friendly destinations are just a taste of the things to do in Dunedin, each promising memorable moments and a deeper connection with the city's diverse charms.

Free Things to Do in Dunedin

Dunedin caters to those seeking adventures without a price tag, offering a wealth of free attractions. Begin at the iconic Dunedin Public Art Gallery, where visitors can immerse themselves in a rich collection of national and international art. Here, creativity flourishes, and guests of all ages gain insight into the vibrant arts scene. Another must-visit is the mesmerizing St. Clair Beach, perfect for a family picnic, a relaxing stroll or surfing. The rhythmic waves and wide sands of this popular spot create an ideal setting for making cherished memories. Nature enthusiasts will love the Signal Hill Lookout, providing panoramic views of Dunedin and its harbors. Reachable by walking, biking or driving, it's the perfect location to witness the sunrise or sunset, encapsulating the scenic splendor of the area. Each of these locations illustrates the variety of fun things to do in Dunedin that require nothing but a sense of wonder and exploration.

Cheap Things to Do in Dunedin

Touring Dunedin doesn’t have to break the bank, as the city is dotted with affordable attractions. A top choice is the Baldwin Street walk, known as the steepest residential street in the world. This free activity not only provides a good workout but also a unique photo opportunity and a certificate at the bottom as a quirky memento. Meanwhile, railway enthusiasts and families can enjoy a budget-friendly trip to the Taieri Gorge Railway with special family rates, providing stunning views of the natural landscapes that shape Dunedin’s backdrop. Additionally, The Dunedin Street Art Trail takes visitors on a colorful journey through the city's alleyways and hidden corners, showcasing striking murals by international artists. This self-paced stroll offers a visual feast and a fun way to explore Dunedin's urban culture at little to no cost. These attractions represent the diverse Dunedin activities available for those seeking value and experience.

Things to Do in Dunedin for Couples

Dunedin, with its blend of cultural and scenic attractions, offers couples an array of romantic experiences. A visit to the serene Lover's Leap and The Chasm, set along the Otago Peninsula, provides a memorable outing with its dramatic views and opportunities for peaceful coastal walks. For an enchanting evening, couples can delight in the Dunedin Botanic Garden's moonlit pathways, creating a magical atmosphere for a leisurely walk amidst the flora. Artistic duos will revel in the charm of the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, housing impressive collections of both historical and contemporary art, perfect for sparking shared inspiration and thoughtful conversations. Together, these experiences cater to couples looking for intimate things to do in Dunedin, ensuring lasting memories are made in the city's picturesque locales and cultural havens.

Things to Do in Dunedin at Night

The nocturnal charm of Dunedin unfolds through an array of night-time activities. For those intrigued by the celestial dance, The Beverly-Begg Observatory offers stargazing evenings that bring the universe closer, providing an intimate look at stars and planets through powerful telescopes. Couples and friends alike may indulge in a night of entertainment at the Fortune Theatre, which stages a variety of shows, from avant-garde productions to classic plays, perfect for a cultured night out. Lastly, the Octagon, the city’s central hub, comes alive after dark with an array of bars and eateries offering everything from craft beer tastings to gourmet dining experiences, ensuring that evenings in Dunedin cater to all tastes and styles. Each night-time venue and activity presents a unique way to delve into the vibrancy of Dunedin, exemplifying why the city is a beloved destination for those who love the intrigue after sundown.