Dunedin, South Island

Otago Peninsula, Dunedin

Moeraki Boulders, near Dunedin, South Island

Jaffa Race, World's Steepest Street, Dunedin

Hooker's Sealion, St Kilda Beach, Dunedin

Welcome to Dunedin and the Catlins

Dunedin – often known as ‘Edinburgh of the South’ – is one of New Zealand’s oldest cities. It was founded over 150 years ago and was first port of call for fortune hunters from around the world who’d come to make it big in the gold fields of Central Otago and the South Island’s west coast. During the height of the rush, the port of Dunedin was home to as many as 65 vessels at a time, and the hills around the city were covered in white tents. By 1870 Dunedin had become New Zealand’s largest and richest city. 

Walks and Parks

Walks & Parks

Get Outdoors!

Discover the region's walks, parks, beaches, lakes or rivers.

Dunedin’s Scottish ancestory is evident in the architecture and names around the city and ‘Dunedin’ itself is old Gaelic for Edinburgh. The heart of Dunedin is the Octagon and most attractions are walking distance from it. You’ll find shops, cafes and restaurants galore around here, along with the main information centre, museums and cinema.

The other focal point of Dunedin is the beach – head for St Clair for a bathe in the hot salt water pools. Even in winter the beach is worth a stroll – tuck into a hot chocolate and admire the die-hard, year round surfers!  

Otago Peninsula

The Otago Peninsula is mostly of volcanic origin and the pacific side is steep and rugged, with spectacular  views and gorgeous tucked-away bays. The harbour side tends to be sunny and sheltered and this, along with its abundance of wildlife makes it an ideal set off point for a boat or kayak trip. Highlights of a Peninsula visit include Lanarch Castle – New Zealand’s only castle – both the grounds and castle are worth exploring and there’s a café and toilets on-site. Further along is the cute village of Portobello, with pub, restaurant, shop and café, safe beaches and friendly, family accommodation. 

At the end of the Peninsula you’ll find Penguin Place, home to the little Yellow Eyed penguins, and the Royal Albatross colony and information centre. This is the only piece of mainland in the world where Albatross nest – you can spot these giant birds and occasionally their young, on the hills around the colony. There’s lots of indoor information, café and toilets.   A drive from the city centre right to the end of the peninsula at Taiaroa Heads takes around one hour.  

Catlins

Located between Dunedin and Invercargill on the Southern Scenic Route, follow the road south of Kaka Point through rainforest, alongside waterfalls, caves and beaches. Highlights include Nugget Point – breeding area for yellow eyed penguins and home to the Nugget Point lighthouse, Cathedral Caves - a 20 minute bush descent and beach walk to spectacular caves (only accessible at low tide), Curio Bay – famous for one of the world’s finest fossilised forests, its also home to yellow eyed and blue penguins, seals, sea lions and Hectors Dolphins, Slope Point – Southernmost point of the South Island and Waipapa Point – golden beach and lighthouse; scene of New Zealand’s worst shipping disasater when in 1881 the Tararua was wrecked and 131 lives were lost.

Map of New Zealand
  • Queenstown
  • Northland
  • Bay of Plenty
  • Wanaka
  • Fiordland
  • Taupo
  • Coromandel
  • Gisborne
  • North Canterbury
  • Waikato
  • Hawkes Bay
  • South Canterbury
  • Manawatu
  • Rotorua
  • Nelson & Golden Bay
  • Taranaki
  • Marlborough Sounds
  • Southland
  • Central Otago
  • Dunedin
  • West Coast
  • Whangarei
  • Bay of Islands
  • Tauranga
  • Gisborne
  • Hamilton
  • Napier
  • Kapiti
  • Palmerston North
  • Whanganui
  • New Plymouth
  • Arrowtown
  • Te Anau
  • Akaroa
  • Ashburton
  • Hanmer
  • Kaikoura
  • Methven
  • Mt Cook
  • Oamaru
  • Tekapo
  • Timaru
  • Abel Tasman
  • Motueka
  • Nelson Lakes
  • Blenheim
  • Picton
  • Catlins
  • Gore
  • Stewart Island
  • Central Plateau
  • Invercargill
  • Cromwell
  • Greymouth
  • Hokitika
  • Westport
  • Glenorchy

Our favourite destinations…

Auckland destination2

Auckland

New Zealand’s economic heart and biggest city is also an exciting family visitor destination, situated on a sunny harbour with city beaches just minutes away from the CBD. Orientate yourself by heading down to Viaduct Harbour, wandering the waterfront, checking out the super yachts or enjoying the waterfront restaurants. Nearby is the must-visit Sky Tower along with excellent and kid-friendly museums and tons of exciting activities!

Wellington

Wellington is New Zealand’s capital. Here you will find New Zealand's parliament buildings, including the 'Executive Wing', more well-known as 'The Beehive' due to its distinctive shape. Another icon to look out for is the Wellington Tram, which was the main means of public transport between 1878 and 1964.

Christchurch

With a population of around 400,000 Christchurch, in Canterbury, is the South Island ’s largest city, yet much of it has the feel of a small town. Perhaps that’s why it’s known as the Garden City but with the expansive Hagley Park, Botanic Gardens, Port Hills, River Avon and numerous beaches the city certainly has an open, relaxed feel that’s hard to beat.

Queenstown

With its well-deserved reputation as New Zealand’s activity adventure capital you’ll never run out of activities and things to do in Queenstown, but you may run out of time! With breathtaking scenery, activities and festivals, cafes and restaurants, skiing and snowboarding, shopping and wineries, this lakeside alpine resort rates as one of the world’s top vacation destinations for all ages and seasons.

Rotorua

Rotorua sits on the shore of Lake Rotorua, one of sixteen lakes in the area formed by hundreds of thousands of years of eruptions from the Taupo Volcanic Zone. The area is renowned for its geothermal activity and top of any activity list is to see the bubbling mud pools that are around the region for yourself. The Waimangu Volcanic Valley offers a first hand insight into the devastation caused by the 1886 eruption of Mount Tarawera and is a great place to discover steaming volcanic craters and bubbling, spitting  pools of mud!

Nelson and Golden Bay

The Nelson and Golden Bay regions, at the top of the South Island, boast enviable sunshine hours, glorious sandy beaches, safe swimming spots, lots of wildlife to look out for, and Abel Tasman National Park - an absolute must to explore, on foot, by kayak, your own craft or watertaxi.  Nelson is home to a vibrant arts and crafts community with a fabulous Saturday market, and is close to award-winning wineries and family-friendly bike tracks to take you around the coast.

Hawkes Bay

Napier was rebuilt after the 1931 earthquake and is now known as NZ's Art Deco City.  The Art Deco influence has created a unique city – nowhere else can you see such a varied concentration of art deco style. With over 2,200 sunshine hours a year, Napier is a year-round holiday destination with countless activities to entertain the kids – there's days of entertainment on Marine Parade alone, plus numerous other family-friendly trips and activities.  Add to that the beaches, walks and flat cycle paths, outdoor cafes and entertainment, and you have a perfect holiday destination!

Northland

Beautiful, unspoiled beaches, fishing, historic gum fields, kauri forests – the Far North has it all. With subtropical temperatures, it's often known as ‘the Winterless north', with warm, humid summers and mild winters.
Gateway to the Bay of Islands, Paihia is a pretty, lively beachside town and a perfect base for your family holiday. It’s your start point for Bay of Island adventures including day cruises, sailing, kayaking, swimming with dolphins and reef or wreck diving.