Popular Dunedin Shore Excursions
Otago Museum: This museum explores the region's rich cultural and natural history, and it's home to one of the most complete collections of Maori knowledge on the South Island. (419 Great King Street; open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily; free, charges for special exhibitions)
Dunedin Public Art Gallery: Art-lovers will enjoy the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, on the southwestern side of the Octagon, is an attractive building, with a spacious lobby rising through three floors and columns that recall the Art Deco style of Glasgow architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh. The collection focuses on contemporary painting and photography and features changing exhibits. A lively restaurant and bar, located off the lobby, is popular with tourists and students. (30 The Octagon; open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Daily; free) (Apart from the main public gallery, several others, including private galleries exist including The Hocken Gallery at the Hocken Library, Gallery De Novo, Quadrant Gallery and the fascinating de Beer Collection. Even the streets have murals and installations.)
Cadbury World: Follow the seductive scent of chocolate to the massive and family friendly Cadbury World, just a short walk from the Octagon. Since the factory closed in 2015, access to the production areas has not been possible, but the current Cadbury World Tour and Caf? experience remains in operation until a new development opens in late 2018. An outing worthy of Willy Wonka. (280 Cumberland Street; 75-minute factory tours 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday to Friday; fee.)
Speight's Brewery: Immerse yourself in beer history at Speight's Brewery and take a 90-minute, interactive tour of New Zealand's first beer, which has been brewed at the location since the late 1800s. After the tour, you can sample Speight's beers. (200 Rattray Street; tours 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. Monday to Sunday; fee for all tours)
Larnach Castle: The only castle in New Zealand, the late-Victorian Larnach Castle, is situated on a hilltop some 12 kilometres from the city centre and offers stunning views over Dunedin Bay and the ocean. This is not Versailles or Blenheim Palace; it only has a dozen or so rooms, and you will not see them all. The rooms are designed in an eclectic style, often with dark wood panelling, reflecting the Scottish ancestry of William Larnach and his family, for whom it was built. Privately owned, the building has been beautifully restored, and the surrounding gardens are pleasant. High tea is served. You can make an advanced booking, but it is not required. (145 Camp Road; open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, fee)
Taieri Gorge Railway: If you wish to venture farther afield, try the Taieri Gorge Railway, which offers daily train trips from the city's railway station -- usually at 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. The train travels over cast-iron bridges and through tunnels built in 1879 to the scenic river gorge. Some tours are sold by cruise lines, and if you book one of those tours, the train will depart from the dockside at Port Chalmers. Otherwise, trains leave from the pretty Edwardian train station on Thomas Burns Street in Dunedin. The shortest trip is the four-hour return route, Taieri Gorge to Pukerangi, which departs downtown at 12:30 p.m. If you get in early, the six-hour route to Middlemarch is possible, returning at 3:30 p.m.