Guide12 Hours Dunedin
Dunedin, which is Celtic for Edinburgh, is the fifth largest city in the world in terms of geographical size. Home to the University of Otago, the only breeding colony of Northern Royal Albatross, the steepest street in the world, the only authentic Chinese garden in the Southern Hemisphere, the first public art gallery in the country and so much more, ‘Dunners’ is a city full of surprising attractions, friendly people and food and drink that showcases the very best of what the bountiful region has to offer.
Your guide to the best things to do in Dunedin
While this 12 hour guide can’t possibly cover all the things to do in Ōtepoti Dunedin, it will give you a great overview of the history and culture found here, with plenty of stops for food and drink along the way, of course!
9am: Breakfast at Buster Greens
466 George Street, Dunedin North
Fuel up for the day at Buster Greens Real Food Room on George Street. It’s the kind of place that vegans and big brekkie enthusiasts alike can get behind. The menu is bursting with colour and flavour and the fried chicken benedict, which comes with housemade kimchi, chojang sauce, pickles, poachies and holla, atop a homemade sourdough crumpet, is not to be missed. The cabinet features a range of delectable raw baking and Buster Green’s cold pressed juices are some of the best around.
10am: Culture at Otago Settlers Museum
31 Queens Gardens
After breakfast, begin your Dunedin adventure with a healthy dose of context at the Toitū Otago Settlers Museum. Laid out chronologically, this impressive museum spans almost two full blocks and tells the story of how Otago came to be what it is today. Here you’ll get a glimpse into every era of Otago’s history, including the first encounters between Māori and European settlers, the gold boom, urban development and more. With plenty of interactive exhibitions, this museum is one that will keep even the busiest kids engaged. Entry is free.
11.30am: Chocolate shopping!
10 Roberts Street
OCHO, which stands for Otago Chocolate Company, is a haven for anyone who appreciates high quality chocolate. Head to their headquarters on Roberts Street and try the salted caramel bar, one of OCHO’s most popular, or the milk chocolate, another favourite, which is made with cocoa from the Solomon islands and is 52% cocoa with a hint of vanilla on the end.
For those that want to dig a little deeper take their 25 minute tastings/tours, which are a treat (literally) and hear more on this business that has a artisanal focus but also one of the largest craft chocolate makers in New Zealand producing around 300 kilos a week and up to 10,000 bars.
12pm: Lunch at The Swan
23 Bath Street
After a morning of learning and peanut butter shopping, head to The Swan to top up your tank. Tucked away on Bath Street behind The Octagon, this Dunedin café and bar has plenty of homemade goodness and barista beverages to keep you going. With cosy nooks, a wood burning fire, outdoor seating and a laid back energy it’s the perfect spot for a midday pause. Seasonal plates on offer include the salmon tostada, constructed with house smoked salmon, fried potatoes, capers, green, poached eggs, dill, hollandaise and topped with colourful flowers from The Swan’s courtyard garden. Grab an Allpress coffee to go with your meal and you’re away.
1pm: Culture at Dunedin Museum of Natural Mystery
61 Royal Terrace
Nip up to Royal Terrace for a visit to The Dunedin Museum of Natural Mystery (DMNM). Enter the old villa and be immersed in a world of fossils, relics, tribal art, masks, animal skeletons and other artifacts. The museum is local artist Bruce Mahalski’s ‘greatest work’, and the man himself is often available to share the curious, humorous and ever intriguing stories that sit behind each piece in the collection. DMNM makes childhood tales of larger than life fossil hunters, paleontologists, adventurers, explorers and even ghost chasers come alive - it’s a place to play and explore science at your own pace, in a way that’s fun and totally unique.
2pm: Afternoon refreshments at Morning Magpie
46 Stuart Street
Morning Magpie has gained a reputation for their ridiculously good coffee, food, juices and tasty smoothies. So grab what you need and try not to get stuck too long, as hours could slide by in the friendly, relaxed, well-considered aesthetic of the space. Also, be on the lookout for John, the owner’s wrinkly Shar Pei and the café’s mascot, who can usually be found lounging around.
2.45pm: Vintage shopping at Two Squirrels Vintage
91 Stuart Street
Two Squirrels Vintage Emporium stocks the best of old and new clothing and accessories and is a complete destination for retail therapy you can feel good about. Owners Vanessa and Warren have been in the vintage game for over fifteen years. Their collection is curated and high quality, full of one-off gems you can’t find anywhere else. New Zealand made products compliment the vintage pieces perfectly, with items like Lamington’s merino socks, Lazybones headbands and McKinlay’s shoes which are made just down the street in south Dunedin.
3.30pm: Shopping for NZ fashion down George Street
Take a stroll down George Street and discover Dunedin’s fast paced fashion scene. At Company of Strangers you’ll find unique and modern clothing and jewellry and a genuine commitment to New Zealand made and manufactured goods.
Pop into Charmaine Revely to explore the racks of delicious fabrics and the dresses which have defined this home grown Dunedin brand - you can even inquire about custom designs for your next event.
Don’t miss Plume, home of famous NZ brand NOM*D, either. The super cool heritage fit out is home to original designs from the dark and witty brand that put NZ fashion on the map in 1999.
Pre-dinner drinks at NEW NEW NEW
218 Crawford Street
You’ve had a full day in ol’ Dunners and now it’s time to relax. Kick off the evening with a pint or a tasting tray at NEW NEW NEW Corporation. Upon entering you’ll notice the funky fit out straight away. Located within an 1860’s horse drawn tram stable, NEW NEW NEW has expertly incorporated their own retro and super bright visual identity into the historical space. The staff can help you choose a tap beer and tell you about the brewery’s HEBS kit (high efficiency brewing system), which uses a mash filter and is the only one of its kind in NZ. While many breweries claim to be experimental, this one truly pushes boundaries with favourites like the Synaptic Voyage, a punchy sour constructed with Thai lime and lemongrass, and out-of-the-box drops like the Pepper Pepper Pepper chilli pilsner which is defined by crisp capsicum on the nose and a touch of heat.
7pm: Dinner at Moiety
42 Queens Gardens
Moiety earned a Cuisine Good Food Awards hat in 2019 with their five course dinner menu which is built upon local ingredients sourced from Otago’s best farmers, fisherman, foragers and artisanal producers. And while that first line might have you thinking Moiety is an uppity fine dining establishment, we’re pleased to report it’s anything but. The menu is short and sweet, starts with a few snack options and then briefly lists the main components of each course. Expect exciting dishes such as the ‘parsnip, popcorn and honey’ which features parsnip ice cream, popcorn mousse and honeycomb from local hive keepers and Moiety regulars, Mark and Sharon Smith. At Moiety, flavourful, colourful, delicious representations of the region and the stories that accompany them, go out with every plate.
9pm: Nightcap at Woof!
368 Moray Place (corner Lower, Stuart Street
Wrap up your Ōtepoti adventure with a nightcap at Woof. This lovable spot comes with the comfort of a diner, the welcoming atmosphere of a pub and the late night appeal of a cocktail lounge. The cocktail list is large and includes monthly specials and creative concoctions in addition to all of the classics. Give yourself a few minutes with the menu and discover tasty drops akin to past specials like the ‘Honey Bee’ made with Bacardi rum, freshly squeezed orange and lemon and Arataki honey. The non-alcoholic cocktail list is one of the most robust we’ve found and also delivers on taste and creativity.