Why go to Dunedin?
Variety of choices for wildlife enthusiasts, history buffs and foodies.
Southern latitude of South Island can mean cold and rainy weather.
More than just historic buildings, Dunedin offer cruisers with varied interests plenty of options.
Dunedin Cruise Port Facilities?
Most cruise ships dock in Port Chalmers, a suburb of Dunedin, located inside the Otago Harbour. The port uses two main berths -- Beach and Container Terminal (C/T) -- and both use the same terminal building. The building doesn't have much to offer except for tables and chairs to sit at and enjoy the free Wi-Fi. You will also find helpful locals who are here to provide information.
Outside of the terminal building, Beach Street intersects George Street, the main street through Port Chalmers, where you can find ATMs, a supermarket, and free WiFi (available in all public spaces on George Street). Most of the town's historic buildings have been transformed into quaint cafes, restaurants, pubs, shops, and a maritime museum.
Most passengers don't stay in Port Chalmers, instead making their way to downtown Dunedin, about 12 km away, or further afield to the Otago Peninsula. Alternatively, smaller vessels may dock in downtown Dunedin. The Port Otago website details the cruise ship schedule and berthing arrangements for all cruise ships.
Good to Know?
Visitors can enjoy free public Wi-Fi at a number of hotspots across Dunedin including at The Octagon, Dunedin Railway Station, Dunedin Botanic Garden, and all of George Street in Port Chalmers. Stop by i-SITE, New Zealand's official visitor information (located at 50 The Octagon) if you need directions or recommendations. And, when crossing a street or catching a bus, do keep in mind that all of New Zealand drives on the left side of the road.
By Shuttle: The cruise lines offer a shuttle bus for about $15 roundtrip (paid in the currency of the ship) from Port Chalmers to The Octagon and it takes about 15 to 25 minutes, depending on traffic. Most tours operated by the cruise lines include a stop in Dunedin, so an additional shuttle is not necessary. Independent shuttles to the city centre are also available on George Street in Port Chalmers for about $6 per person each way.
By Taxi: A taxi (mini-bus) from Port Chalmers to the City Centre costs around NZ$60 each way, which is a good option if you have a large group and can use it to transfer from Port Chalmers to the centre of Dunedin.
On Foot: Once in Dunedin, use The Octagon to orient yourself as it's in the heart of the city. Many sites are within easy walking distance of The Octagon including the Dunedin Railway Station, Speight's Brewery, Otago Museum, Olveston Historic Home, a number of historic churches, plus a diverse selection of restaurants and shops. For art lovers, pick up or download a free Dunedin Street Art Trail map, which is a self-guided trail to the whimsical street art throughout Dunedin.
By Public Bus (Orbus): The bus system makes it easy to navigate around the city. All Dunedin bus routes connect through the Central City Bus Hub on Great King Street off Moray Place (near The Octagon). Visitors can pay cash to the bus driver. A single fare is based on how many zones you will travel through.
To get from Port Chalmers to Dunedin city Centre, take Bus #14 at the George Street No. 3 Bus Stop in Port Chalmers and get off at Central City Bus Hub in Dunedin. This bus runs every 30 minutes. Arrive at Dunedin Botanic Garden by taking Bus #5, #8 or #10. Take Bus #8 from the Central City Bus Hub to get to Baldwin Street (the steepest street in the world).
By Train: Passengers can book a tour on the Taieri Gorge Railway Train, which boards alongside their ship at Port Chalmers. The train travels through the breathtaking Taieri Gorge with a stop at the Dunedin Railway Station on the way back to Port Chalmers. Although passengers can book this train independently from Dunedin, it must be booked through the cruise line when travelling to and from Port Chalmers.
Currency & Best Way to Get Money?
Currency is the New Zealand Dollar. For up-to-the-minute conversions, visit www.xe.com. There is an ATM on George Street in Port Chalmers. ATMs are plentiful in Dunedin and a couple of machines can be found at the corner of George Street and Moray Place. Credit cards are widely accepted throughout Dunedin although it may not be possible to use credit cards on the Taieri Gorge Railway due to the remote nature of the journey.