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Otago, Invercargill, and Stewart Island Travel Guide

  • Photo: Ralf Broskvar / Shutterstock

Dunedin

Clinging to the walls of the natural amphitheater at the west end of Otago Harbour, the South Island's second-largest city is enriched with inspiring nearby seascapes and wildlife. Because Dunedin is a university town, floods of students give the city a vitality far greater than its population of 122,000 might suggest. Its manageable size makes it easy to explore on foot—with the possible

exception of Baldwin Street, the world's steepest residential street and home to the annual "gutbuster" race, in which people run up it, and the "Jaffa" race, in which people roll the namesake spherical chocolate candy down it.

Dunedin, the Gaelic name for Edinburgh, was founded in 1848 by settlers of the Free Church of Scotland, a breakaway group from the Presbyterian Church. The city's Scottish roots are still visible; you'll find New Zealand's first and only (legal) whisky distillery, a statue of Scottish poet Robert Burns, and more kilts, sporrans, and gillies than you can shake a stick at! The Scottish settlers and local Māori came together in relative peace, but this wasn't true of the European whalers who were here three decades before, as places with names such as Murdering Beach illustrate.

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