What city has the only castle in New Zealand, the steepest street in the world and world-class wine region right on it's doorstep?
Infinity Consultant Linsay Prosser has spent plenty of time in Dunedin and from her insider perspective, she can vouch that the “est” claims do make this beautiful city at the bottom of New Zealand’s South Island, a must see.
“You can really see the Scottish influence on Dunedin, and if you want to experience what it is like to visit Scotland, instead of the 24 hour long haul to the UK, take a three-hour flight over the Tasman.
Particularly if you come in winter when it is cold and snowing, just like Scotland. But don’t worry, the place has been designed for the cold with plenty of cozy fireplaces to warm even the frostiest of visitors.”
Dunedin is the “furthest” city from London in the world and perhaps the extreme distance from London was all part of the Scots’ plan when they founded the place in 1848. The name comes from Dùn Èideann, the Scottish Gaelic name for Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital.
“There is truly beautiful architecture found throughout Dunedin that is very reminiscent of Edinburgh.
Whilst a lot of the buildings look beautiful, there are some crazy street designs that I think were designed by people on the other side of the world who didn’t know the lay of the land. I can’t think of another reason why you would plan for a place like Baldwin Street – the world’s steepest street.”
The Scottish influence extends to the periphery of Dunedin with Larnach Castle. The Castle is an enormous mansion on the ridge of the Otago Peninsula, one of the few houses of this scale in New Zealand.
The Castle has a long history of family tragedy and scandal plus there have been close to 30 reported sightings of “cranky spirits”, “touches”, “pushing” and other “odd occurrences” at the castle.
If you want to get a real sense of the Victorian period when Dunedin was first settled, the house and its grounds are regularly open to the public and well worth a visit.
Beyond the architecture Linsay says that Dunedin has lots of activities to see and do for visitors to make sure it is on their South Island itinerary.
“The architecture is just one aspect. There is a real foodie vibe happening in Dunedin with great restaurants and bars popping up throughout City Centre.”
To go with the great seafood that you get in Dunedin from being near the Coast, you also have a great wine district at your doorstep.”
Central Otago is the most Southerly grape growing region in the world and New Zealand's only "continental" region.
For wine connoisseurs, some of New Zealand’s very best Pinot Noir wines are produced in the Central Otago region and it has been touted as one of the top five New World wine producing regions.
“You can find most of these great wines on the local wine lists.”
Along with the restaurants, the centre also offers great shopping, farmers markets and a very recent emerging street art area in the Warehouse Precinct that is making its mark in the international street art scene.
“My final but very important foodie fact about Dunedin is that it is home to a Cadbury World Cafe which is New Zealand's first chocolate themed cafe.”
The Café opened in February 2014 and has an amazing chocolate-themed menu (not surprisingly) and is something chocolate lovers, old or young must get to whilst in Dunedin.
“I have family in Dunedin, so when I visit even if it is cold, they make sure they take me to see the beautiful tucked away beaches.
They are just spectacular in both summer and winter. It is lovely to go to beaches just outside of Dunedin, where you can walk along the beach and feel like you are in a nineteenth century novel.
Or you can head out to the Peninsula and watch seals, albatrosses and penguins, and be the only person there.
I go to Dunedin to visit family but get to also see a truly beautiful part of the World.”