Dunedin (From Port Chalmers)- Port Guide
Where is the ship/how to get to the sights?
Spring/summer Oct-Feb around 15-25 degrees Celsius. Autumn: Mar-May about 10-18 degrees. Winter June-Sept 0-10 degrees. Rain possible year round.
Sights & Sites
- Dunedin Chinese Garden – This serene authentic Chinese Garden is an oasis of Asia in the middle of the Scottish town of Dunedin in New Zealand. Complete with fountains, bridges, many flowers, waterfalls, rock gardens, authentic tearoom, and pagodas, this is a taste of the Chinese influence in the area. Location: Corner of Rattray and Cumberland streets. Cost: $9 NZD for entry (free for crew), and open from 10am-5pm. dunedinchinesegarden.com
- Cadbury World Dunedin – Chocolate Factory Tour & Café. New Zealand’s answer to Willy Wonka’s famed abode is filled with delicious British recipe chocolate, and you can tour to find out how it is made. Enjoy the café afterwards for tasty treats and damn fine hot chocolate. The gift shop is free to enter and supplies many good deals on the famous chocolate, with four 200g bars for $10 NZD and two bags of many types of chocolate for $5. Cost: $22 NZD per adult, $16 for concessions. (Crew get a 10% discount). Gift shop free. Location: 280 Cumberland Street in central Dunedin. Book ahead to secure your tour place as they usually are booked out when ships are in. cadburyworld.mdlz.com
- Otago Museum – This large museum comes in three main parts; The main permanent exhibition museum, The Tuhura Science Centre, with its special exhibitions and the Otago Settler’s Museum. The permanent exhibitions are free and have galleries on; Nature, Southern Land and People, Animal Attic, Tangata Whenua, Maritime, People of the World and Pacific Cultures. The Tuhura Science Museum has an interactive planetarium, digital gallery, and butterfly enclosure, which there are fees of $10-15 for, and there is currently a special exhibition on about Life Before Dinosaurs: Permian Monsters. (Also $10 NZD). The café and shop are also free and open 9am-5om daily. Location: Queen’s Gardens, Dunedin. www.Otagomuseum.co.nz
- Otago Settler’s Museum – This is New Zealand’s most modern and innovative museum of social history where you can learn all about Dunedin’s vibrant and varied history and about the various peoples that have shaped it. Location: 31 Queens Gardens, Dunedin. Cost: Free. ToituOSM.com
- Orokonui Ecosanctuary – Out of town in Waitati, is the visotor’s centre of Orokonui. Here you can get information to go out to enjoy walks, and learn about the local wildlife, then enjoy their relaxing café. Cost: Free but donations welcome. Location: Top of Blueskin Road, Waitati, Dunedin. orokonui.nz
- Lanarch Castle – This distinctly Scottish style Castle, was commissioned by great New Zealander William Lararch, is located 20 minutes drive outside Dunedin centre, and is easiest accessed on a tour or driving if you have a hire car. You can take a ship’s tour, or local tour from the tourist information centre to the castle with transport included. The splendor of the castle’s former glory from its construction in 1871, to its derelict state in 1967 has been lovingly restored by the Barker family, the current owners who love having visitors come to enjoy its history and beauty.
- Speight’s Brewery – For the beer lovers, this brewery of ‘the pride of the south’ is sure to be a fun day out. Cost: $29 NZD (ask if they offer crew discounts). Location: MacClaggan and Rattray Street intersection in Dunedin City Centre, five minutes from the Octagon. You can take a 90 minute tour with tastings and learn all about how the liquid gold is made. Open: Tours run at 12pm, 2pm and 4pm. speights.co.nz/brewery-tour
- Knox Church – Built by John Knox, this striking church is worth a visit.
- Dunedin Railway Station – A Victorian era delight of a building, this is worth seeing whether or not you plan to take a train anywhere.
- Robert Burns Statue – Situated in the Octagon, the city’s heart, this statue of the Scottish Bard pays homage to the city’s Scottish heritage and it’s love of literature.
- Dunedin Public Art Gallery – Situated in the Octagon, this local gallery has art modern and traditional, with modern pieces by local New Zealand and Australian acclaimed artists, as well as some fine pieces by European masters such as Monet, Pissarro, Turner and Constable. Cost: Free. Location: The Octagon. dunedin.art.museum
- Cycling in Dunedin – Cycling is very popular in Dunedin with cycle routes inside and outside the city, very well signposted and easy to follow. Rent a bike in town, or crew members can rent a ship crew bike and get out into the scenery some more.
- Blue Penguins, Pukekura – You can take a tour form the ship, or form the visitors information centre out of town to see the world’s smallest penguin, the korora (blue penguin) in their natural habitat by the beach. Cost: Tour prices vary. Location: Pukekura peninsula. bluepenguins.co.nx
- Taieri Gorge Railway – Take a tour out on one of the world’s most breathtaking train trips along Taieri Gorge. Cost: Tour prices vary. Location: Go from Dunedin Railway station or from ship or tourist information tour spot. www.dunedinrailways.co.nz
There are a couple of small souvenir places in Port Chalmers, but the best shopping to be found is in Dunedin. Having strong Scottish roots, there are plenty of Scottish shops, selling all things tartan, information and books about clan heritage, woolen items and cuddly sheep. There are a lot of locally made woolen souvenirs as sheep rearing and shearing is commonplace, and Manuka honey and Rotorua Mud products are a plenty.
If you only have two hours
Port Chalmers is only a five minute walk away, and is small so you can see everything here in that time. There is Wi-Fi in the ship’s terminal just by the dock, and in the small town there is more Wi-Fi in the public library and in all the cafes and bars. There are a few cute touristic shops for souvenirs and a supermarket for practical buys. There are a couple of cute local restaurants to sample the local seafood. The shuttle bus into Dunedin takes 15-25 minutes depending on traffic, so you could make it in to Dunedin for a brief visit if the shuttle bus is about to leave as you get off the ship. If it is going to wait another 15 minutes of so though, I would just stay within Port Chalmers to not risk the time, plus it is very quaint there too.
What is it known for?
Dunedin is known for being the Scotland outside of Scotland, its name Dunedin, being taken as a derivative from Edinburgh. Dun, meaning ‘hill’ in Gaelic, and ‘edin’ coming from Edin from Edinburgh, meaning Eden, like the “Garden of Eden”. Burgh means royal town, so Edinburgh means ‘royal town of the garden of Eden’ and therefore ‘Dunedin’ means hill of the garden of Eden, as it is built on a hill side and the area is very beautiful and green, supporting a lot of flowers. The area is know for its Scottish roots, and heritage blending with the original Maori peoples of New Zealand, and in the last century having a heavy influence from the influx of Chinese immigrants who all helped shape the area as it is today and build industry and commerce here.
Food & Drink
Dunedin having influences from Scotland, and China, as well as having great local seafood means there is a lot of tasty food here. From Scotland, you will find the Cadbury’s factory (well from the UK in general), as well as small local sweet shops selling Scottish tablet and shortbread for the sweet-toothed visitors. There is also good Angus steak burgers and steaks available in many restaurants. There are several Chinese restaurants in the city centre from the Chinese influence and some teahouses, including a especially pretty one located within the Dunedin Chinese Gardens. There is whisky galore to be found in all the pubs with a local distillery supplying local beverages, as well as the Speight Brew Pub and Mad Brew Beers and Ciders made in the area. I had a tasty strong mocha in the Brew Pub on the Octagon, and their lunch menu as well as array of local beers and ciders looked tempting.
There is Wi-Fi in the terminal by the ship, and in almost all the bars and restaurants in Port Chalmers and Dunedin. There is also Wi-Fi in the public libraries in Port Chalmers and Dunedin, as well as public Wi-FI in the octagon centre of Dunedin. The signal isn’t very strong there, but is quite decent in the libraries and in the terminal and good in the restaurants and bars. Toitu Otago Settler’s museum also has free Wi-Fi (and free entry).
You can change money in the banks and money exchange places in Port Chalmers and Dunedin with several ATMs and major bank branches in Dunedin.
Karen’s Top Tip
Enjoy the cultural things available in Dunedin. They place a high priory on this, and most museums and art galleries are free, including the Dunedin Chinese Gardens.
My experience here
My first trip to Dunedin was ten years ago and I had a quick wander around the town centre and looked at the shops.
My second trip (today) was going around Dunedin town centre. I first walked from the shuttle bus stop on Moray Place to the octagon, and there went into the Tourist Information place to learn more information about the town. I picked up some leaflets and the ladies working there are very helping giving information about booking local tours and using transport. From there I walked across the road and had a look around the craft market there. From here I admired and took some photos of the Robert Burns statue in the centre, and then went into the Dunedin Public Art Gallery to view the art. It is quite a small, but well appointed gallery, boasting a Monet, Constable, an early Turner, and a Pissarro, as well as an array of modern New Zealand and Australian art. It is free to go in. Then I walked down the hill, using the provided city map from the Tourist Information Centre, and found my way to the Dunedin Chinese Garden. It costs $9 NZD to get in, and is well worth that fee, but is free for crewmembers if you show your crew ID. (We gave a decent donation at the end as the gardens really are lovely). The Dunedin Chinese Gardens are there as an homage to the work and relevance of the Chinese immigrants and their influence on the area and its prosperity. It took eight years to be built, bring designed in conjunction with the Shanghai Municipal Government and the Shanghai Museum to make sure everything was culturally accurate as well as practical. The result is a beautiful, serene piece of Asia in the centre of this charming othersie, very Scottish, New Zealand town. There is a tradition Chinese tea house within the gardens and a well stocked with Chinese crafts, souvenir shop. Next I walked past the Otoru Museum as there wasn’t enough time to see it properly this time, and stopped off in the Cadbury’s Factory shop to see the goodies for sale. I didn’t have time to tour the factory this time, but got the email address to book it for another visit;
You need to book a day in advance as it is almost always fully booked on days when cruise ships are in port, especially when there’s more than one ship in, like today had. The cost is $22 NZD, but crewmembers get 10% off by showing your crew card when buying your ticket. The gift shop is free to go in though, and was full of ship guests and crew there to get their fill of the delicious chocolate. Selling the chocolate straight from the factory, they had excellent deals, such as four 200g chocolate bars for $10 NZD and there were over 20 varieties to mix and match from. After I also got stocked up with some yummy chocolate, I walked up to the octagon to a brewpub called “Brew Pub” to have a coffee and some Wi-Fi. The Internet was decent, but did cut out every 30 minutes and you have to resign in, and the coffee was very nice. They also have a lot of locally brewed beers, including fruit beers, and two types of cider. The atmosphere was casual and fun. From here, I took the shuttle bus back to Port Chalmers and had a final quick Wi-FI stop at the terminal Wi-Fi. Before re-boarding, I watched the local bagpiper play and felt more than a little homesick for once, enjoying the sounds of Scotland. The sail away from Dunedin has stunning scenery and it looks exactly like Scotland, especially the Highlands and also smells like it, with gorse bushes and pine trees a plenty, and was a sentimental reminded of home for me, and the other Scottish crew onboard. Next visit I will try to get out to see Lornack Caslte and the penguins.
My Most Memorable Moment
For me, Dunedin feels very much like Scotland on the other side of the world, and it makes me feel sentimental for home, and a bit homesick, which are feelings I do not often have. The smells of the gorse bushes in the hills and the sounds of the bagpipers, and passing the shops full of tartan scarves, clan magnets and books and kilts, as well as the Cadbury’s (a British chocolate company which we have all over the UK as our sweet treat staple) makes me feel at once at home, and very far away. The architecture is distinctly Scottish and there are Presbyterian churches and social clubs around the town.
Karen’s Quick Guide to Larnach Castle, Dunedin, NZ