Dunedin Oamaru The Catlins New Zealand


Dunedin’s staid Scots heritage has been overlaid by the vigour of a modern day University town. Long known within New Zealand for producing great musicians, artists and fashion designers, Dunedin nurtures innovation and creativity.

Wealth generated by the Otago gold rush of 1861 was responsible for investment in the city’s early and rapid development. Evidence of this is in some of its grand old buildings, some taking on new roles as trendy cafés and retail outlets. Some former private homes are now boutique hotels and B & Bs. Highlights are some lovely churches and the renaissance-style Railway Station, from there you can take the spectacular scenic rail journey on the Taieri Gorge Railway, a 4-5 hour trip in to the rugged Otago countryside.

Bordering Dunedin harbour is the Otago Peninsula home to the Royal Albatross breeding colony at Tairoa Head with regular tours for visitors. Also located on the peninsula you can visit Penguin Place, Penguin Conservation Reserve – a breeding colony of Yellow-eyed penguins. There are gardens to explore at Glenfalloch and at Larnach Castle, plus a number of craft studios to visit, making a trip to the peninsula a diverse experience.

Oamaru (north of Dunedin)

Renowned for it's historic white stone buildings, made from the local limestone, that give Oamaru a feeling of affluence. Noteworthy buildings include banks, post office, council chambers, courthouse, and several churches. Heritage celebrations held annually in November include such things as Penny Farthing Cycle Races and stone sawing competitions

An area near the port, behind the main street (on the seaward side) is a fully intact nineteenth century business district under restoration that has been occupied by tradespeople practicing traditional crafts such as bookbinding.. Near the harbour area Blue Penguins come ashore to their nesting area at dusk and there is a viewing facility for visitors.

Catlins Coast (south of Dunedin)

The south eastern corner and coast of this region is known as "The Catlins” and contains the Catlins Forest Park, made up of 10 separate forests.

The coast of the Catlins has beautiful bays and rocky points. Some of the popular features being: Curio Bay where the petrified fallen logs and stumps of a Jurassic forest can been seen at low tide. A visit to Cathedral Caves between Chaslands and Papatowai, involves a bush and beach walk to spectacular caves, accessible at low tide. Nugget Point with it's lighthouse, seal colony and seabirds provides splendid views of the coastline, take your binoculars an allow 20 minutes return on foot.

The area is lightly populated and there is very little commercial infrastructure, accommodation and services are limited. Many of those visitors who do make it to this area are often just passing through as part of the “Southern Scenic Route” but for those with the time this beautiful area offers more opportunities than can be experienced in a few hours.