After a few weeks in the wild with only a few small town stops, Dunedin was a welcomed change of atmosphere. It’s young and vibrant. We drove in on a grey, misty day. University just started back up from the summer and the buzz of new students and returning friends could be felt all through the streets. It was one of those cool but not too cold kind of days when it’s pleasant to walk between the shops and restaurants.
We found a friendly noodle house with college town prices and couldn’t help ourselves. The Tom Yum soup was addictively good. There was a big Cricket game on, so the bar patios were packed to the gills, towards the end though, we couldn’t tell if the black caps (NZ’s team) were winning or losing. We asked a few of the staff, they didn’t know either, it turns out Cricket is complicated to score.
The city has been dubbed Edinburgh of the South. This town is full of Scot-loving history and personal heritage. We spent a morning in the cultural heritage museum, it surveyed Maori heritage, pre-european settlement through modern times and was put together incredibly well. There were interactive exhibits throughout, and it’s free. We love to do fun free things!
New Zealand Railway hosts two smaller exhibits as well. The local art exhibit showed off some great local talent. The NZR building is, itself, a work of art. Stained glass windows sit above and intricate mosaic lay below. The grounds around were tailored to a traditional english style and the bright blue sky displayed the detailed carvings and architecture in all its glory.
There are lots of great nature-centured activities around too. If you want to go on a tour, they’re advertised all over town. I was looking for penguins at all the beaches, but still no luck. The botanic gardens and arboretum were lovely. The hill they’re perched on is covered in trees from California and Oregon and the gardens range from native plants to Mediterranean to formal rose gardens.
I loved the young meets old- historical but still vibrant feel to the city, it’s a must-see for the south east coast!