Visiting New Zealand’s Oldest City Dunedin
“Dunedin has long had a reputation in New Zealand as the country’s avant garde student haven, a gritty post-industrial city now home to artists, musicians, academics and more than a handful of eccentrics. Odd is acceptable in Dunedin – applauded, even,” according to the Guardian’s Eleanor Ainge Roy, who is based there.
“The small city of 120,000 sprawls around the pristine Otago peninsula, which hosts significant threatened populations of sea lions, penguins, seals and rare birds, including the world’s only mainland albatross colony,” Roy writes. “Cars and trucks routinely stop for wildlife crossing the city’s main thoroughfares, while a gothic city aesthetic contrasts with the golden beaches, sheep-dotted paddocks and bucolic harbour views.
“No one’s ever in much of a rush in Dunedin, and locals have time to give in spades. Expect to be invited to join communal tables of strangers if you turn up at the local pub and people don’t know your face. Locals will probably want to buy you a drink too and hear your story.
“Locals enjoy the sunshine at the Esplanade on the St Clair beachfront, a favourite for casual, flavourful Italian dining. When we visit, we order large glasses of sauvignon blanc, a capricciosa pizza and steaming bowls of Italian pork sausage pasta. With uninterrupted sea views of the Pacific Ocean, a classy yet relaxed interior and reliably delicious food, the Esplanade is always packed, buzzy and good fun.
“Dunedin is New Zealand’s oldest city and boasts a rich architectural history, including the country’s best collection of Edwardian baroque-style buildings. A ghost tour of Larnarch Castle will raise the hairs on the back of your neck, and guests can stay overnight at the castle’s lodge to complete the experience. (I was visited by a ghost. Really.) A tour of the genteel Olveston House evokes Dunedin’s time as the commercial and social capital of gold-rush New Zealand, when money poured into the port city from the central Otago goldfields.”
Original article by Eleanor Ainge Roy, The Guardian, July 5, 2019.
Photo by Sarah Bramhall/Destination Dunedin.