City is set in the eroded core of an ancient volcano.
The City Centre, situated at the south end of Otago Harbour,
occupies the central part of an ancient volcanic system,
a pile of lava flow some 25 km across which erupted between
10 to 13 million years ago. Dunedin's temperate climate
and coastal setting amongst hills and valleys creates
a range of micro-climates and environments suitable for
plants from around the world. Where else can you visit
collections of alpine plants and rock gardens, and within
a few minutes just down the road, wander amongst rhododendrons
in a woodland glade where choice plants such as Nomocharis,
Trillium, Lapageria and Meconopsis flower and thrive?
There is no rainy season to dampen the spirit of Dunedin.
The city receives less than 800mm of rainfall each year.
Instead we experience extended twilight in summer, rich
autumnal tones full of texture, romantic winter nights
nestled in front of open fires and the colour of springtime
with the city budding and blooming before your very eyes.
winter the hills surrounding Dunedin may see the occasional
snow fall, which clears within several hours. Temperatures
in August range from a low of 4 to an average of 13 degree
Celsius, while during February temperatures hover around
the low to mid 20's.One
aspect that makes Dunedin unique is its Scottish heritage.
The city's Scottish beginning gives it a special flavour
which makes it quite different from anywhere else in New
Zealand or Australia. Dunedin
is the old Gaelic name for Edinburgh, yet Dunedin is nothing
like the Scottish capital. Dunedin is hillier, smaller,
closer to the sea and has better climate than Edinburgh.Dunedin
has many Scottish traits including the haggis ceremony
- fine golf courses, pipe bands, the finest range of malts
and whiskies in New Zealand. Yet it is not a carbon copy
of a Scottish city. It is rather a place where Scots came
to start again and in interacting with a new environment,
an indigenous people and other migrants from an overcrowded
Europe, made a special city with a Scottish flavour all
of its own.The accents of the whole city seem to thicken
each year during official Scottish Week and the skirl
of bagpipes is often heard. Having a special appeal for
our Caledonian Societies and Burns Club members,
Scottish Week is for everyone who is a Scot at heart and
wants to join in. The whole city becomes involved in ceilidhs
and concerts, banqueting on haggis patties, shortbread,
oatcakes and black bun, curling, historical conferences,
poetry readings, Queen o' the Heather, Kirkin' o' the
Tartan, tossing the Caber and country dancing.
splendour of many of its public buildings reflects Dunedin's
economic and cultural pre-eminence in Victorian New Zealand.
Today, Dunedin has a rightly deserved reputation as one
of the best preserved Victorian and Edwardian cities in
the Southern Hemisphere. Architecturally outstanding is
the massive stone Flemish Renaissance-style Dunedin Railway
Station , built 1904 - 1906.
The Botanic Garden is famous for the Rhododendron Dell,
its exotic beauty celebrated every year in the third week
of October with the Rhododendron Festival. The number
and variety of private gardens available for all year
round viewing says something of the passion held by the
people who created them and so loving tend them. Viewing
these gardens is a real treat, as often the gardener will
share insights and personal observations with you. Many
of these private and public gardens are featured in the
brochure Focus on Dunedin Gardens.
High among the rolling hills of the Peninsula is Larnach
Castle , the grand home of an early politician. Construction
of the castle began in 1871 and was completed five years
later. Larnach Castle and its historic-style garden can
be reached via the high road (Highcliff Road) along the
Peninsula's ridge. From here, views out to sea and back
towards the city emphasise the singular beauty of Dunedin
and its jewel-like harbour.
Dunedin is definitely the place to take a walk on the wild
side. Guided wildlife tours to view and photograph colonies
of Royal albatross, the rare Yellow-eyed penguin, New Zealand
seals and sealions operate on Otago Peninsula all year round.
Visitors can also take a drive to the Otago Peninsula, which
is just 15 minutes drive from the Octagon in central Dunedin.
The most spectacular flying visitor to the Otago Peninsula
is the Royal albatross. This giant bird, with a wing span
of up to 3m and which flies an estimated 190,000 km per
year, lays its single egg at a colony at Taiaroa Head during
November. After eleven weeks incubation chicks hatch during
late January and early February.Young birds remain at the
colony until late September, when they leave the peninsula
to skim the oceans before returning three to six years later
to breed. A modern visitor information centre at Taiaroa
Head provides detailed interpretative displays and audio-visual
on these majestic birds, and other Peninsula wildlife. Nearby
is the viewing area which is open year-round except between
16 September and 24 November when the birds are mating and
Otago Peninsula is also home to the world's rarest penguin.
Known to the Maori as Hoiho, the Yellow-eyed penguin is
the third largest of the 14 species of penguin in the world.
Intensive conservation projects are currently underway on
the Otago Peninsula to ensure the survival of this shy and
beautiful bird. Native bush has been replanted to recreate
the original habitat and encourage breeding, while attempts
are being made to eliminate cats, ferrets and other predators.Other
penguin species visit the peninsula; these include Fiordland
Crested, Snares Island and Erect Crested penguins, and rare
sightings of the Royal Penguin, Gentoo, Emperor and Magellan
penguins are possible.Bird watchers can see up to five species
of cormorants (known as shags in New Zealand) around the
Otago Peninsula and Harbour - this is more species than
can be seen in one area at once than anywhere else in the
world. The five species include the Spotted Cormorant, Stewart
Island Cormorant, Little Cormorant, Black Cormorant, and
the Pied Cormorant.
The major population of New Zealand fur seals in New Zealand
is located on the Otago Peninsula, and in recent years has
grown dramatically so that thousands of New Zealand fur
seals are found basking on the rocks. Visitors may also
see Elephant and Leopard seals and Hookers sealion - the
latter is the rarest sealion in the world.Otago Peninsula's
wildlife can also be experienced indoors, at the Otago Museum's
Natural History Gallery in Great King Street, next to the
University of Otago . Modern displays show the birdlife
and natural history of the southern oceans in their natural
habitat, with excellent interpretative material. The Otago
Museum and Discovery World , which also has the largest
collection of articulated Moa bones in the world, and an
excellent collection of Southern Maori artefacts.