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  • It's 5000 miles from Singapore,

  • and over 9000 from New York.

  • Yes, New Zealand's South Island is a long way away from the rest of the world,

  • but it's distance that helps make the city of Dunedin so special.

  • Distance, and the promise of new beginnings

  • is what drew two shiploads of Scottish settlers

  • to the South Island's Otago region in 1848.

  • These wild shores, fern-filled valleys,

  • and ever-changing skies spoke to the hardy Scots,

  • just as they had to the Maori who settled

  • the Otago Peninsula centuries before.

  • The industrious Scots made their mark all over New Zealand,

  • but nowhere is the Caledonian spirit more alive than in Dunedin.

  • Set at the head of Otago Harbour,

  • the city centre is shaped by The Octagon,

  • an eight-sided plaza that's a tribute

  • to the Scottish sense of order.

  • Right at the Octagon's heart

  • sits a contemplative statue of Robert Burns,

  • the acclaimed Scottish poet whose nephew

  • was one of the city's founding fathers.

  • While all around rise some of the city's most important buildings,

  • such as Town Hall,

  • St Paul's Cathedral,

  • and The Dunedin Public Art Gallery.

  • From here, Dunedin spills out in all its bluestone beauty.

  • Wander down Stuart Street to New Zealand's most photographed building,

  • Dunedin Railway Station.

  • In the early 1900s, when Dunedin was the nation's commercial capital,

  • the station serviced over 100 trains a day.

  • Today it serves as the departure point

  • for scenic adventures along the Otago coast and into the rugged interior,

  • yet its grand interiors and mosaics still sweep visitors

  • back to the great age of rail.

  • Just up the tracks, venture back even further,

  • at the Toitū Otago Settlers Museum.

  • Gaze up into the faces of Otago's stoic pioneers in the portrait room,

  • where dreams, hopes and trials drift back electronically

  • across the mists of time.

  • Just behind the museum,

  • The Dunedin Chinese Garden quietly celebrates

  • the contribution Chinese settlers have made to the region,

  • particularly during the 1860s gold rush.

  • Across town, at the Otago Museum,

  • discover the complete history of this Southern Land,

  • from the present day, back to the legendary Moa, and beyond.

  • Just a short walk from the museum,

  • step into Olveston House,

  • once the family home of a prosperous merchant and arts patron.

  • Filled with exotic arts and antiques,

  • as well as everyday objects,

  • this 35-room Edwardian time-capsule is a fascinating window into Dunedin's glory days.

  • Retracing centuries of history can be thirsty work,

  • so why not combine a little learning with leisure,

  • at Speight's Brewery,

  • which has been serving up the Pride of the South since 1876.

  • The brewery sits on top of a deep underground spring,

  • so even if you don't fancy a cold one,

  • you can still fill up on pure spring water for free.

  • If it's too early for beer,

  • just follow the scent of roasting coffee beans to Dunedin's many cafes.

  • Dunedin is the home of New Zealand's first university,

  • whose students keep the city's creative juices bubbling,

  • from its innovative dining,

  • live music scene,

  • to its fabulous street art.

  • When it's time to walk off lunch,

  • stretch your legs on Baldwin Street,

  • which according to the Guinness Book of Records,

  • is the steepest in the world.

  • Or explore the woodland paths and floral displays at the Dunedin Botanic Garden,

  • and enjoy the fine views across the northern suburbs.

  • Just a ten-minute drive south from the city centre is St Clair Beach,

  • a popular summertime hangout for generations of Dunedinites,

  • and for those crazy enough,

  • the site of the annual mid-winter plunge!

  • Dunedin offers no shortage of natural escapes.

  • The wildest jewel in Dunedin's crown is The Otago Peninsula,

  • which remarkably, sits within the city limits.

  • Rent a car or a push bike

  • and follow the peninsula's coast road past the boat sheds and shacks of fishermen,

  • charter boat operators, and rat-race escapees.

  • Head into the hills through forests and farms,

  • to New Zealand's only castle.

  • Referred to by its creator simply as,

  • The Camp”,

  • Larnach Castle, is anything but.

  • Step inside these thick stone walls and explore lavish living rooms,

  • cosy bedrooms and a tower with views across the harbour to Port Chalmers.

  • Further up the peninsula is another of Otago's most important buildings,

  • the Ōtākou Marae.

  • Built on the site of an important Maori settlement,

  • this meetinghouse is the hub of Ngāi Tahu cultural life.

  • A little further up the road the peninsula comes to an end,

  • where Taiaroa Head and the vast Pacific's many moods meet.

  • A century ago, lookouts at Fort Taiaroa scanned the horizon for hostile raiders.

  • Today, visitors are on the lookout for something far more delightful,

  • the Otago sea life.

  • Taiaroa Head is home to the world's only mainland albatross breeding colony.

  • Pay a visit to the Royal Albatross Centre,

  • a safe haven where these seabirds who travel an astonishing

  • 120,000 miles each year, come to rest, breed, and raise their chicks.

  • While you're here, sit back and watch the resident Southern Fur Seals

  • glide by between their long snoozes in the sunshine.

  • And if you hang around til dusk,

  • you'll catch Little Blue Penguins, the world's smallest,

  • return from a big day at sea to the warmth and safety of their burrows.

  • Once the sea spray and mists of the Otago Peninsula have whet your appetite for adventure, it's time to hit the road again.

  • Just to Dunedin's North,

  • stop in and say hello to rare Yellow Eyed Penguins at Shag Point.

  • Then just up the road at Hampden,

  • reconnect with your sense of childhood wonder

  • at the mysterious Moeraki Boulders.

  • At the historic farming and port town of Omaru,

  • Victorian warehouses and stores have become places where imaginations run free,

  • earning the town the title of,

  • The Steampunk Capital of the World.

  • If it's total isolation you're yearning for,

  • turn southward to a corner of New Zealand bypassed by time,

  • the sparsely-populated Caitlins Coast.

  • Explore Mother Nature's ancient forests,

  • let her watery veils enchant you at Purakaunui Falls.

  • Then feel the full force of grandeur at Nugget Point.

  • To the west, Central Otago beckons,

  • from its historic gold towns,

  • all the way to Queenstown's lakes and The Remarkables.

  • For centuries this region has been a place of new beginnings,

  • a place to escape from the constraints of the past.

  • Today more than ever, we need places that allow us to catch our breath,

  • experience a little magic,

  • and continue our journeys renewed.

  • Dunedin always has been,

  • and always will be,

  • one of those places.

It's 5000 miles from Singapore,

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Dunedin Vacation Travel Guide | Expedia

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    Eric Wang posted on 2017/10/11
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