4. Dunedin

Out of the whole trip, Dunedin was the major centre that I hadn't been before. In the previous trip I'd left it out on account of not really sounding interesting enough. It's a bit out of the way of the steep rugged interior of NZ.

I was initially going to take the road across the mountains into Port Chalmers, and follow the bay in. However, I missed the turn, and ended up taking the main road in. The thing that surprised me a bit about Dunedin is how big and busy it felt. Somehow I had the impression that it would be somewhat smaller. Instead, its a city in its own right.

Dunedin Harbour

After checking in and getting some dinner, I proceeded to go back out and take a look at the sunset. The 9:30 sunsets are not conducive to getting a long night's sleep. I initially went down to the port, and then followed the road around to the start of the Otago Peninsula at Vauxhall.

It was a bit windy that evening with scattered cloud around, so I wasn't going to be seeing the serene sunset over the mirror-like water. But still, it was a good experience with the more cold-region feel to it. One thing I really noticed is that it took a long time for the sun to finally drop below the hills on the horizon. It would just slowly skim its way across the mountain-tops, as if it didn't really want to leave.

Vauxhall, Dunedin
Sunset over Dunedin

A Sunny Day in Dunedin

The next day I woke to find clear blue skies and warm sunshine. From the night before I'd had a fairly gritty experience of Dunedin, more as am impression of ruggedness than pretty beauty. However, with the change in weather, the city could put on a different show.

Dunedin skyline
The really distinctive feature of Dunedin is the historic feel to the buildings. It retains the old-world charm from the great piles of stone from the early settlement.

In the town centre, there is a the “Octagon”. In all there are two octagonal rings of streets containing the old buildings of the city and the cafe district. By late morning, after I returned from the Otago peninsula, it was becoming a hive of activity.

The Octagon, Dunedin
The Octagon, Dunedin

Railway Station

The grand building of Dunedin is the railway station. It's a huge Flemish style building with carefully landscaped lawns and flower beds out the front. Built in 1906, it has a kilometre-long platform and grandiose detailing that just doesn't find its way into modern transport facilities.

Dunedin Railway Station

I couldn't stay all day and admire it though, there was still plenty more travelling to do that day up into the mountains of central Otago.

Next Page... Otago Peninsula