The story of my previous visit to Dunedin is not-too-unlike my first visit to Christchurch, I had decided to take a break from the infamous Queenstown to clear my head and attempt a detox. I was informed by my Kiwi Experience driver that Dunedin was his favourite city in the whole of New Zealand, I was promised rich history, great culture and top-class cuisine. Problem was, I was from a country with some of the richest history in the world, my grasp on culture has slipped tremendously since burning most of my brain cells in Q-Town and I couldn’t afford to eat any of the food there – basically, I had been duped!
This time around, I was able to really sample the delights of this hilly little city – not a single bit of history, culture or food was wasted this time around!
A large chain hotel that had the largest room that we have stayed in yet. With two massive queen beds, a huge TV embedded in the wall with a whole array of possible inputs and free high speed WiFi, it was ideal for the one night we spent there. It was also smack-bang in the middle of all the action, with the Octagon just a block away.
Book yourself a tour at New Zealand’s only Cadbury factory and you won’t be disappointed. With loads of free samples and a chance to see how the nation’s favourite chocolate is made, it is well worth the $20-odd admission fee.
Speits Brewary Tour
This is a recollection from my previous visit as mother doesn’t drink beer but it’s a great way to see how one of the nations favourite ranges of beer is made. There’s also an awesome tasting session at the end; one glass, four taps, 15 minutes.
The Historic Stuff
Go to the Octagon to see the Municipal Chambers and St Pauls Cathedral then walk on down, past the Cadbury factory to see the famous Dunedin train station.
Where to eat:
On George Street (the main shopping street), this seafood restaurant managed to serve the best ocean platter that I have ever eaten in my entire life. For the ridiculously inexpensive price of $45 per person, you will be rewarded with an enormous platter of the freshest calamari, mussels, tiger prawns, scallops, breaded fish, smoked salmon…and it has the cheek of coming with a bowl of fries! Cannot be missed for fans of seafood, however, if you are also looking for a lunchtime option…
The Black Dog
Next-door to the Scenic Hotel is a discreet little cafe/bar that could be easily missed but is definitely not one you should walk idly-by. The seafood chowder is, without a doubt, the best my mum and I have ever tried – and being fans of the aforementioned dish, we have definately had our fair share of them but this, this was something else. Buttery, creamy and packed with seafood, the seafood chowder at The Black Dog was my highlight of Dunedin.
Te Anau / Milford Sound
Ask anybody who has been to New Zealand where they would recommend in order to see some of the country’s most naturally beautiful sights; the ones in the know, will immediately tell you Milford Sound. Although not technically a sound – actually a fjord, since it has been carved out by the glacier, rather than the river valley (see, I learned something!) – Milford Sound is an incredible spectacle which is best seen by one of the many boat tours that drift through there. The best place to stay on the night before and after your boat trip is Te Anau, a nearby mountain town with an array of bars, restaurants and a beautiful lake.
Distinction Luxmore Hotel
Another hotel with an alpine ski lodge feel, cute and if lucky, you can also get incredible views of the mountains.
You can book loads of tours in town that will get you into the sound – in high season, booking in advance is recommended.
Head over to The Fat Duck at the end of the main street for probably my favourite happy hour in the whole of New Zealand. From 5-7, you can get any tap beer and house wine for $5 – this is the cheapest and most extensive happy hour I have experienced in the whole of the country. Chuck in great views of the surrounding mountains and a roaring fire, along with some delicious bar snacks, this is a great choice for a solid night out!
Where To Eat:
Good old-fashioned American-style eating in a wild west style setting and old 90’s music videos playing on what looks like a VHS transfer – a bizarre mix of ambience but great food!
The Fat Duck
Only had bar snacks here but my-oh-my, they were delicious! Bundled with that amazing happy hour mentioned earlier, it is well worth a visit or two for an entire evening.