Popular Dunedin Shore Excursions
Dunedin Railway Station: The Dunedin Railway Station is one of the most photographed historic buildings of Dunedin. Built in 1906, it was New Zealand's busiest railway station at the time, handling up to 100 trains per day. It resembles a gingerbread house with a mix of architectural styles that include Victorian, Flemish Renaissance, Edwardian and Gothic. The exterior of the building is an eclectic combination of dark basalt, white limestone and pink granite. Inside, the railway station is also a work of art, with thousands of mosaic tiles adorning the main lobby area.
(Anzac Square; +64 3 477 4449; open daily, 8.30 am to 5 pm, weekends 9 am to 3 pm)
Dunedin Botanic Garden: Established in 1863, this is New Zealand's oldest public garden. During the early 1900s, it increased in size and today occupies more than 29 ha in North Dunedin. Check out the aviary, statues dotted around the garden along with more than 6,800 plant species in distinctive gardens including the Rhododendron Dell (which has more than 2,000 rhododendrons), the glasshouse and herb garden where visitors are welcome to pick small snippets to savour the smells.
(12 Opoho Rd, North Dunedin; open daily from dawn to dusk 365 days of the year; opening hours vary for each public building)
First Church of Otago: Built in 1873, in Gothic architecture, this was Dunedin's earliest church. It is built from stone and features a 56m-long spire and colourful stained glass. Unfortunately, there is no public access to the belfry. Check out Moray Hall, which is now the Heritage and Visitors' Centre and exhibits photos, postcards, articles, ship passenger lists and details explaining the strong Scottish connection with the original Minister, the Rev. Thomas Burns.
(415 Moray Place; +64 3 477 7118; Heritage and Visitors' Centre open Mondays to Saturdays, 10 am to 4 pm)
Otago Museum: The Otago Museum was founded in 1868 and is one of Dunedin's most visited attractions. Over the years, it has undergone many changes and today has a collection of more than 2 million natural science specimens and human history artifacts. Learn about New Zealand's maritime history, fur seals, and the region's Gold Rush as well as the people that have left their mark on Dunedin.
(419 Great King Street; +64 3 474 7474; Open daily, 10 am to 5pm.)
Olveston Historic Home: Built in 1906, the elegant 35-room estate and gardens are a remarkable example of the era's architecture and how privileged families lived during that time. The brick and plaster mansion feature grand fireplaces, colourful stained-glass windows and an art collection that includes more than 200 paintings and artifacts from the original owner's travels throughout Asia.
(42 Royal Terrace; +64 3 477 3320; open daily, 9 am to 5 pm, 364 days of the year -- and by prior arrangement on Christmas Day)
Taiaroa Head: Located at the end of the Otago Peninsula, Taiaroa Head is home to breeding fur seals, sea lions, a royal albatross colony, blue penguins and a yellow-eyed penguin reserve. In this case, it is best to book a wildlife tour through the cruise lines, as it is more than an hour's drive to Taiaroa Head. Make sure you take a photo of the Taiaroa Head Lighthouse.
Larnach Castle & Gardens: Although it's not officially a castle, this sprawling 3,716 sq. m Gothic Revival mansion was built by a prominent politician in 1874. It has been completely restored and sits atop the Otago Peninsula with panoramic views of Dunedin and Otago Harbour.
(145 Camp Rd.; +64 3 476 1616; open daily, 9 am to 5 pm, 365 days of the year, including public holidays)
Baldwin Street: Baldwin Street, located in northeast Dunedin, is recognised by Guinness World Records as the steepest street in the world. Back when the original city's surveyor was planning the city, he failed to take into consideration that the topography of Dunedin was much hillier than Edinburgh. One quirky result was Baldwin Street.
Port Chalmers Maritime Museum: This maritime museum provides a glimpse into the region's nautical past as a port for shipping, commercial fishing and exploration. Located just outside the cruise terminal building at the bottom of George Street, the museum is housed in the former Port Chalmers Post Office, an 1876 Heritage Building. Visitors can peruse collections that include photographs, books and historical objects.
(19 Beach Street, Port Chalmers; +64 3 472 8233; open Monday to Friday, 10 am to 3 pm, Saturday, Sunday and public holidays 1 pm to 4pm, and 10 am to 5 pm daily during the cruise season)