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Top things to do in Dunedin

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Ranked #1 of 38 attractions in Dunedin
Travelers' Choice™ 2014 Winner Attractions
Category: History Museums; Museums
Owner description: Toitū Otago Settlers Museum is a museum of social history dedicated to telling the story of the people of Dunedin and the... more » Owner description: Toitū Otago Settlers Museum is a museum of social history dedicated to telling the story of the people of Dunedin and the surrounding area, whose character, culture, technology, art, fashion and transport shaped New Zealand’s first great city.Its fourteen themed galleries feature interactive displays and powerful narratives tracing the human history of the area, from the earliest settlers to the most recent arrivals.Captivating exhibitions are complemented by an on site shop and café. A well-equipped research centre and archive is available for those interested in genealogy and other aspects of local history. « less
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$141* and up
Ranked #2 of 38 attractions in Dunedin
Category: Geologic Formations; Nature/ Wildlife Areas; Outdoors

One of the most enjoyable walks on the Peninsula is Sandymount. From the carpark you walk through a lane of old gnarly trees which have featured on a famous Dunedin Sound... more »

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$15* and up
Ranked #3 of 38 attractions in Dunedin
Travelers' Choice™ 2014 Winner Attractions
Category: Historic Sites; Cultural
Owner description: Olveston was built for Dunedin Businessman, Philanthropist and Collector David Theomin as a private family home and home for... more » Owner description: Olveston was built for Dunedin Businessman, Philanthropist and Collector David Theomin as a private family home and home for his vast collection of artworks, priceless antiques, exotic furniture and objet d'art purchased from around the world. With no heirs to inherit the property, his daughter, Dorothy Theomin gifted the house and the contents to the city of Dunedin in 1966. Olveston is a time capsule as little has changed inside the house since it was occupied in the early 1900s as a family home. Entry inside the house is by guided tour only (1 hour, max. 15 People per group). Tours commence daily at: 9.30Am, 10.45Am, 12 noon, 1.30 Pm, 2.45 Pm and 4 pm. Group bookings available at a time to suit. Tours are conducted in English. Mandarin, Cantonese, German, French, Japanese and Dutch speaking guides are available for groups on request. The grounds and gift shop are open free of charge 9am - 5pm. Qualmark 2014 - The Olveston gardens was assessed by the New Zealand Gardens Trust as a Garden of National Significance. « less
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Ranked #4 of 38 attractions in Dunedin
Category: Gardens; Outdoors
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Ranked #5 of 38 attractions in Dunedin
Travelers' Choice™ 2014 Winner Attractions
Category: Natural History Museums; Museums
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Ranked #6 of 38 attractions in Dunedin
Travelers' Choice™ 2014 Winner Beaches
Category: Beaches; Outdoors
Owner description: Tunnel beach is at the bottom of a short, but steep, walk across private land (closed 1st August to end of October, for... more » Owner description: Tunnel beach is at the bottom of a short, but steep, walk across private land (closed 1st August to end of October, for lambing). In the 1870's it was farmed by John Cargill, he had a tunnel dug to allow his children to access the beach. The beach itself has stunning sandstone formations, some resident pidgeons, Sea caves and some very old graffiti. « less
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$149* and up
Ranked #7 of 38 attractions in Dunedin
Category: Nature/ Wildlife Areas; Outdoors
Owner description: Penguin Place is a private conservation effort to help save the world's most endangered penguin, the Yellow Eyed Penguin.... more » Owner description: Penguin Place is a private conservation effort to help save the world's most endangered penguin, the Yellow Eyed Penguin. Visitors are taken on guided walking tours through a unique system of trenches and hides to view the penguins undisturbed at close range. Penguin Place is funded 100% by the support of our visitors, this funding enables habitat restoration, predator control, a research programme and on-site rehabilitation for sick, starving and wounded penguins. It is our hope that through our efforts, the future of this rare and wonderful penguin will be assured. « less
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$141* and up
Ranked #8 of 38 attractions in Dunedin
Category: Public Transportation Systems; Other
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Ranked #9 of 38 attractions in Dunedin
Category: Nature/ Wildlife Areas; Outdoors
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Ranked #10 of 38 attractions in Dunedin
Category: Nature/ Wildlife Areas; Outdoors
Owner description: Our 307 hectare Ecosanctuary is the only area of native forest in mainland South Island where indigenous plants and animals... more » Owner description: Our 307 hectare Ecosanctuary is the only area of native forest in mainland South Island where indigenous plants and animals can live in the wild without threat from most introduced pests. It is home to some of New Zealand's most fascinating and rare forest wildlife. « less
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$149* and up
Ranked #11 of 38 attractions in Dunedin
Category: Castles; Historic Sites; Cultural
Owner description: Discover New Zealand’s only Castle, built 1871 by William Larnach, merchant baron and politician, for his beloved first wife... more » Owner description: Discover New Zealand’s only Castle, built 1871 by William Larnach, merchant baron and politician, for his beloved first wife Eliza. It took more than 200 workmen three years to build the Castle shell and master European craftsmen spent a further 12 years embellishing the interior. Larnach spared no expense on his dream home, which features the finest materials from around the world.The Castle is still privately owned and cared for by the Barker family who purchased it as their home in 1967. Decades have been spent on the Castle's restoration, with the family having restored empty buildings from ruin and assembled a large collection of original New Zealand period furniture and antiques. Open to the public throughout, this conservation project has been funded through admission fees. The family has always been committed to opening their home and sharing this significant period of Dunedin and New Zealand's history.Scandalous and tragic stories, spectacular tower views and a Garden of International Significance complete this enjoyable award-winning experience. Boutique Lodge accommodation is available in the Castle gardens. Weddings, Balls, Conferences and Celebrations are held in the beautiful 3000 square foot Ballroom. High Tea is also now served daily in the Ballroom at 3pm « less
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Ranked #12 of 38 attractions in Dunedin
Category: Beaches; Outdoors
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Ranked #13 of 38 attractions in Dunedin
Category: Lookouts; Cultural
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Ranked #14 of 38 attractions in Dunedin
Category: Landmarks/ Points of Interest; Cultural
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$1,656* and up
Ranked #15 of 38 attractions in Dunedin
Category: Nature/ Wildlife Areas; Outdoors
Owner description: Taiaroa Head is alive with wildlife species, many of them scarce nesting seabirds. Our jewel in the crown is the Northern... more » Owner description: Taiaroa Head is alive with wildlife species, many of them scarce nesting seabirds. Our jewel in the crown is the Northern Royal Albatross. Experience it for yourself by taking a guided tour through the Nature Reserve into the viewing Observatory. The latest Lonely Planet publication "1000 Ultimate Sights 2012" features the Royal Albatross Centre alongside the Taj Mahal and Grand Canyon. They say of us: Here at one of New Zealand's hottest attractions the draw card is the bird life. Taiaroa Head is the site of the world's only mainland royal albatross breeding ground, where you can observe the spectacle of the albatrosses with wingspans of up to 3m coming in to land like a succession of 747s. The Royal Albatross Centre is located on the tip of the Otago Peninsula, about a 45 minute drive from Dunedin. We are operated by the Otago Peninsula Trust, a charitable trust formed in 1967 for the protection of the local natural environment. The Nature Reserve on Taiaroa Head is managed by the Department of Conservation.Taiaroa Head is also famous in New Zealand history. From a small Maori camp in the 1300s to a fortified pa where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840; from a wooden flagstaff to 1864 lighthouse to radar entrance for Otago Harbour; from an 1880s underground fortress to a large defence base in WWII. Taiaroa Head is today a Nature Reserve and an iconic wildlife attraction. « less
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Ranked #16 of 38 attractions in Dunedin
Category: Water Parks; Amusement Parks
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$141* and up
Ranked #17 of 38 attractions in Dunedin
Category: Beaches; Outdoors
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Ranked #18 of 38 attractions in Dunedin
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Ranked #19 of 38 attractions in Dunedin
Category: Art Museums; Museums
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Ranked #20 of 38 attractions in Dunedin
Category: Gardens; Outdoors
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Ranked #21 of 38 attractions in Dunedin
Category: Arenas/ Stadiums/ Fields; Theaters & Stadiums
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Ranked #22 of 38 attractions in Dunedin
Category: Gardens; Outdoors
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Ranked #23 of 38 attractions in Dunedin
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Ranked #24 of 38 attractions in Dunedin
Category: Museums
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Ranked #25 of 38 attractions in Dunedin
Owner description: Welcome to St. Paul's Cathedral, at the very heart of Dunedin City. A welcoming, vibrant community coming together to share... more » Owner description: Welcome to St. Paul's Cathedral, at the very heart of Dunedin City. A welcoming, vibrant community coming together to share the Word of God. The Cathedral Church of St Paul occupies a site in the heart of The Octagon near the Dunedin Town Hall and hence Dunedin. The land for St Paul's Church was given by the sealer and whaler Johnny Jones of Waikouaiti.The first parish church of St Paul was built on the site in 1862–1863. It was made of Caversham stone and could accommodate up to 500 people. Unfortunately it wasn't well constructed. The stone weathered badly and the tall spire was removed after just a few years. The man consecrated to be the first Bishop of Dunedin, but never enthroned, Bishop Henry Jenner, visited the Diocese in 1869. He officiated at St Paul’s and gave a lecture on church music illustrated by the St Paul’s choir. He is remembered as the composer of the hymn tune Quam dilecta. In 1871 Samuel Tarratt Nevill was elected Bishop of Dunedin. Initially he made no mention of the need for a cathedral for the diocese and it was not until the 1876 Synod that he broached the subject. The issue was ducked by forming a commission to investigate the whole matter. This commission later recommended that St Paul’s should become the mother church. However, Nevill favoured St. Matthew's Church, Dunedin, and the impasse remained. In the early 1880s the question was revisited, and again no resolution found. However, in 1894, 18 years after the issue was first raised, all sides agreed to the proposal for St Paul’s to become the cathedral. The Cathedral Chapter was formed and took up the responsibility for running the cathedral from 1895. Thomas Whitelock Kempthorne of Kempthorne Prosser Ltd was a generous supporter of the cathedral and a memorial stands inside. In 1904, William Harrop, a prominent Dunedin businessman died and left the bulk of his estate to fund a new Cathedral. However, release of the money was conditional on the Chapter raising £20,000 towards the cost of the building. Nevill threw himself into the effort, but it was not until 1913 that the £20,000 was raised and work could begin. The first in a series of plans and modifications were submitted by Sedding and Wheatly, an architectural company based in England. The author of the final design was Edmund Harold Sedding (1863–1921). The supervising architect in Dunedin was Basil Hooper (1876–1960).On 8 June 1915, the foundation stone of the new cathedral was laid. Huge foundations, large piers and a tremendous vaulted ceiling, the only one in stone in New Zealand, rose from the ground, forming the new Cathedral’s nave. Unfortunately, finances precluded construction of anything more. There was no money for the crossing or the chancel, as originally intended. In the end, it was resolved that a temporary chancel should be constructed, using material saved from the old St Paul’s. The new Cathedral was consecrated by Bishop Nevill on 12 February 1919.During the 1930s the Cathedral began to take up a role as a venue for public services, notably for the state funeral of Sir Frederick Truby King, the founder of the Plunket Society. Social work featured prominently at this time, with the synodsmen, vestry and church leaders all publicly opposed to the government’s Depression policies. The Cathedral administered a food bank and distributed food parcels for the citizens of Dunedin. Shortly after the Second World War, St Paul's suffered the loss of Dean Cruickshank, who moved to the Diocese of Waiapu, and of Professor Victor Galway. The latter, an organist and Professor of Music, had been immensely popular, attracting large crowds to his recitals and performances. He had also regularly broadcast his productions, paving the way for services to be aired on radio. In the 1950s the vestry made the important, though difficult, decision that it wouldn't complete the Cathedral to its original design. The dean suggested that ways be examined to link an extension to the existing structure, and the vestry agreed to investigate the possibilities. In 1966, the decision was made to build a new chancel. The plans had been drawn by Ted McCoy of the firm McCoy and Wixon. Construction began in earnest in December 1969. The old chancel was stripped and demolished and new columns began to rise from the debris. Construction and clearing up finished on Saturday 24 July 1971, and the Cathedral reopened the next day. The new chancel was modernist, as high as the existing vault, with tall windows reaching from the floor almost to the ceiling. The altar was free standing and the furnishings matched the walls. In 2004, the perspex cross was moved temporarily (and initially) to the crypt to accommodate a production of the bi-annual Otago Festival of the Arts. Finally, a decision was reached by the current Dean Trevor James to restore the perspex cross to the sanctuary, and it was returned to its position at the end of 2009. In 1989, the world's attention was on St Paul's when Dr. Penny Jamieson was consecrated and enthroned as Bishop of Dunedin. Bishop Penny was only the second woman bishop in the Anglican Communion and the first woman diocesan bishop in the world.[2] Her appointment had been paved by the hard work of two Cathedral women: Claire Brown, Assistant Priest at St Paul's from 1985 to 1989 and again from 2006 to the present, and Barbara Nicholas, Honorary Priest Assistant.As the world prepared for the change from 1999 to 2000, St Paul's invited people gathered to celebrate in the Octagon to come into the cathedral, have a moment of silence, light a candle and pray for the new year and the millennium. Over the course of a couple of hours thousands came in and lit a candle. People placed their candles in sand arranged in the shapes of alpha and omega in the chancel, reminding those present that Christ is the beginning and the end.St Paul’s Cathedral has an exceptional history of church music. Its globally recognised choir maintains a high standard of performance, and an extremely wide repertoire. Over the last two decades at least eight of its members have pursued professional vocal careers, singing in British cathedral choirs (recent former members currently hold appointments at Ely, Salisbury and St George’s Windsor). Several others – most recently Anna Leese - have gone on to international careers in opera. The choir has also contributed many members to the New Zealand Secondary Students’ Choir, the National Youth Choir and Voices NZ. The primary focus of the Cathedral Choir is to facilitate worship through its musical leadership, alongside the wider role of outreach within the Diocese and beyond. The Cathedral Choir is an auditioned choir, comprised of twenty-two highly skilled singers. It sings three times per week during the choir season (Candlemas to Christmas Day), and offers many other musical events, such as concerts and tours, throughout the year. Within the past year, the Cathedral Choir has featured on broadcasts for Radio New Zealand, alongside recordings for both national and local television. The choir sings a challenging repertoire from early plainsong to the work of contemporary composers. The Cathedral Choir, and all music at St Paul’s Cathedral, is run by the Director of Music, George Chittenden.The St. Paul's Cathedral organ was built in 1919 by Henry Willis III, in London and was installed the following year. In 1972, it was entirely dismantled and repositioned by the South Island Organ Company of Timaru. There are four manuals — great, swell, choir and solo. The organ of St Paul's has more than 3500 pipes and is often used for civic performances. « less
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Ranked #26 of 38 attractions in Dunedin
Category: Libraries; Cultural
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Ranked #27 of 38 attractions in Dunedin
Category: Beaches; Outdoors
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Ranked #28 of 38 attractions in Dunedin
  • Quiet 12/03/2014
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Ranked #29 of 38 attractions in Dunedin
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Ranked #30 of 38 attractions in Dunedin
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