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Dunedin

  

Dunedin

Located on the East Coast of the South Island, Dunedin is a popular little university city that is well worth including on your South Island adventure. It is suitable for both shorter and longer visits, and accommodates those who are interested in both city life and the beautiful nature that New Zealand has to offer. The town is famous for it's Scottish and Maori heritage, Victorian architecture and the large university and student population that comes with it.
One of the first things to see on any list is the Otago Peninsula. This piece of land extends from the city of Dunedin straight out into the Pacific Ocean, and is a natural habitat for a number of rare and endangered species such as albatrosses, blue penguins, yellow eyed penguins, walruses and fur seals. There are a number of ways to see the peninsula, the easiest and most effective is by car. Most of the peninsula is easily accessed by car and there are plenty of parking spaces near the natural attractions, and as the peninsula is quite long, this is the easiest way to see as much as possible in one day, particularly if you want to venture to the end to see the albatrosses. There is also public busses, but obviously this leaves you with a little less flexibility, and they don't run too late into the evening so you run the risk of getting stranded. It is also possible to hire a bike or to cycle, but some of the hills are much stepper than they appear and you also probably won't make it all the way to the end.
As well as visiting the wildlife on the peninsula, there are a few really beautiful places to see as well. Allans Beach is popular amongst surfers and is a good place to spot some sea lions. Sandfly Bay is an excellent place to be at sunset as, while the sky turns from blue to red across some really striking natural formations, a couple of yellow penguins often make a slow and steady climb up the sand dunes. It is also worth noting there are no sandflies here, the name refers to how the sand flies through the air, and not the annoying little insect that you will encounter on the West Coast. If you time your return trip right and drive across the top of the peninsula on the way back, you will have a beautiful view of the city lights of Dunedin turning on one by one.
The Otago Peninsula is just one of many options. From Dunedin, if you drive in any direction, in less than half an hour you will stumble across something really fantastic to explore. Tunnel Beach is another example, showing off some unique and interesting rock formations at low tide. Aramoana is another beautiful beach worth a visit. It doesn't take long to leave behind the city and to immerse yourself in nature.
For those who prefer to stay in the city, Dunedin offers a lot more than many other cities in New Zealand. It is one of the few places in New Zealand that there is a decent nightlife scene that extends past midnight, due to the high student population, and nightclubs such as Suburbia and Carousel see crowds of young people dancing long into the early hours of the morning. For those wanting something a little more traditional, The Dog With Two Tails has weekly Jazz nights on a Wednesday where a rotating house band play classics, often with a nightly theme, to entertain swing and jazz dancers and spectators. The cafe has a good selection of local craft beers and a really carefully planned out menu of excellent standards.
Some of the more popular attractions include the Speights Brewery, which has a tour that concludes in the tasting room with several beers on tap, the Cadbury's Chocolate Factory which also has tasting and demonstrations on tempering and making chocolate as well as the history of the factory itself, the street art on display, the botanical gardens and Baldwin Street which is the steepest residential street in the world.
This is just the beginning, and if you spend some time in the city, you will find a whole plethora of things to explore and entertain yourself with. There are many reasons why everybody falls in love with this city, what will yours be?

 

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