Dunedin in the second biggest city in the South Island and the sixth biggest in New Zealand. The name is Scottish Gaelic for 'Edinburgh' and in the heart of the city is a statue of the Scottish poet Robbie Burns. The city is located on the head of Otago Harbour on the east coast of the South Island. The city proper lies on the flat land, but is surrounded by steep hills where many of the suburbs lie. The bold vision for Dunedin's original plan turned out to be very challenging given the topography, and this has led to some streets that end at the crest of a hill only to continue at the bottom. These challenges helped create many steep streets including Baldwin Street, the world's steepest as testified by the Guinness Book of Records.
Dunedin is known as a university city. The University of Otago was established in 1869 and is the oldest in New Zealand. The average age in Dunedin is disproportionately young because of the high amount of students that reside here.
Attractions in Dunedin are unusual. The Octagon is the heart of the city and replaces the traditional square you find in many other world cities. Dunedin celebrates its strong Scottish hertiitage in a number of ways including a a statue of Robert Burns (the Scottish poet in the Octagon.
Interesting buildings in Dunedin include Forsyth Barr Stadium, the new state of the art rugby and soccer stadium which was built for the 2011 Rugby World Cup. If you prefer heritage buildings then Larnach Castle is the place to go. Not really a castle even though it looks like one, it is a beautiful manor surrounded by stunning gardens. Inside are many New Zealand antiques and outside offers breathtaking views of Otago Harbour below.
Other attractions include: Otago Museum, Dunedin Botanic Gardens, and Otago University. For something different you could go on a guided tour of Cadbury World or the iconic Speights Brewery.
Natural attractions are plenty. Dunedin has a number of surf and swimming beaches that are popular during summer months. In winter a wetsuit is recommended. The city also has an abundance of walking tracks that can whisk you away from the city and into pristine temperate rainforest in less than half an hour.
The Organ Pipes, a rock formation in the shape of columns set into a hillside is worth a visit. The site also offers great views over the surrounding countryside.
The Royal Albatross colony at Taiaroa Head is a famous tourist attraction. These birds have the largest wing span of any bird in the world.
Another interesting place is Orokonui Ecosanctuary. This attraction is a wildlife reserve and conservation project that protects rare wildlife. Complete with native flora and surrounded by an enclosure that keeps pests away, these rare animals live in safety and thrive. In the wild, they are endangered by pests such as cats, rats, stoats, and possums. Guided tours are available.
For a great way to explore the landscape beyond Dunedin, take a trip on the Taieri Gorge train. This sightseeing train trip travels through some spectacular scenery and provides a commentary with photographic stops.