Visit the City of Dunedin in New Zealand
Home to New Zealand's oldest university, the University of Otago established in 1869, Dunedin is a vibrant coastal city with students making up more than twenty percent of the population. It has a busy social, sports and cultural calendar and numerous landmarks and attractions to explore. Add to that the spectacular natural treasures beyond the city's outskirts and it easy to see why visitors to Dunedin may have difficulty deciding what to fit into their itinerary.
Culture enthusiasts will appreciate the Dunedin Public Art Gallerylocated in the heart of the city – an area known as The Octagon. Founded in 1884 by artist William Mathew Hodgkins (1833-1898), the gallery was the first of its kind in New Zealand. The gallery moved premises a few times over the years before settling into the building it now occupies in 1996. The gallery's collection consists of a range of works from the 18th century through to modern times, and boasts one of the largest collections of artworks by Frances Hodgkins, daughter of the founder. In addition to its vast array of paintings, the gallery has collections of glassware, ceramics, metalwork, textiles and furniture.
The Otago Peninsula forms the easternmost part of the city. The peninsula is the remnant of a volcano, with the Otago Harbor formed from the crater which has partially eroded. The peninsula is largely unpopulated, with various habitats supporting a variety of wildlife, most notably seabirds, seals and penguins. Visitors may want to consider booking a tour with one of the ecotourism operators to get the most out of the peninsula's many natural attractions. Historical and cultural tourist attractions include Larnach Castle, Fletcher House and the Otago Peninsula Museum, while the area's marine life is well represented at the Otago University Marine Aquarium.
After breaking away from the Church of in 1843, Dunedin was founded by a Lay Association of the Free Church of Scotland in 1848. The city's name is derived from Dùn Èideann, the Scottish Gaelic name for Edinburgh, and the city has a strong connection with its Scottish heritage. Many of the original buildings are distinctively Scottish in design and the city's annual events calendar includes Scottish Week, with Highland games, pipe bands, the 'Kirkin of the Tartans' ceremony and the crowning of the 'Queen of the Heather'. Dunedin even has its own distinctive tartan registered in Scotland. It is the best preserved Victorian city in New Zealand and well worth spending some time exploring.