Pronounced [Dun-EE-din], as opposed to [Dune-din], Dunedin was probably our favourite urban locale visited on our Southern escapade. We both enjoyed the feel and surroundings of this sizable university town, with its plethora of cafes and design shops and happening arts scene. Sporting a bustling, creative vibe that can be likened to that of Melbourne and Wellington, we felt it was a city that we could probably slip into easily.
The central hub of the city’s action is known as “The Octagon,” a gathering place surrounded by a wide selection of pubs, restaurants, and cafes.
The region of Otago is composed largely of green hillside upon green hillside, most often dotted with sheep. There was also an interesting plant with yellow blossoms in bloom, creating patches of yellow scattered across the green hillsides.
Although the coffee scene could use a bit of strengthening, Dunedin has some respectable breweries: Emerson’s and Green Man. While at a local craft beer pub one evening, we met NZ filmmaker Stephen Downes, who is credited with the cinematography of many NZ films including “Out of the Blue” and the black comedy/thriller “Scarfies,” which pays homage to the city of Dunedin. Stephen was a neat guy to chat with, and after our visit to Dunedin, we think we truly ought to give Scarfies a proper viewing. (Scarfies if the name given to college students in Dunedin, who are known for sporting scarves year-round.)
Our accomodations in Dunedin were super cool. We stayed in a very contemporary but affordable hotel/hostel called Livingspace. It was located right down in the heart of the city, so most things we needed to get to were within walking distance. Our room was super funky: It had a raised bed, with blue lights and extra storage space underneath. The bathroom was enclosed by frosted glass, with a sliding door and other neat features. A funky red armchair sat off to the side, and there were other design elements that made the room unique and comfortable. To top it all off, the floor had a clean and spacious kitchen which we got ALL TO OURSELVES! For those of you who have stayed in hostels before, you understand how precious and rare the words CLEAN, SPACIOUS, and QUIET can be. We absolutely loved our stay at Livingspace, and would totally recommend it.
With temperatures dropping to the low single digits, our visit to the Otago Farmers Market on Sunday morning was an extremely chilly experience, but it appeared to be quite a strong market with a wide variety of vendors selling quality produce.
A visit to St. Clair Beach, just a 10 minute drive south of the city centre, proved enchanting but windy. After admiring the roaring waves from the lovely esplanade, we ventured down onto the beach to snap a few photos of the remains of an old pier.
NZ’s only castle, Lanarch Castle, resides just outside of Dunedin. We thought the entrance rate to merely view the castle was a bit steep, so we opted instead to photograph this beautiful church, the First Presbyterian Church of Otago, which is quite castle-like. Majestic, isn’t it?
We couldn’t leave the South Island without having ourselves an infamous cheese roll, affectionately known by locals as the “sushi of the South.” Essentially, the cheese roll is a large piece of bread spread with a mixture of cheese, mayo, herbs and spices (and in this case a nice hint of red onion), and then rolled and grilled to perfection. A trusty little book, given to us by Alli and Courtney, told us that Garden Espresso Cafe was the place to go for an exceptional cheese roll, so that’s where we went. Brendon, the consumer of the cheese roll, was quite pleasantly surprised with the tastiness of this South-Island delicacy. We wondered why the cheese roll didn’t catch on so much on the North Island…
Dunedin’s University of Otago was Brendon’s second choice for where to do his Masters, and was also an option for where to do his PhD. As we strolled the cafe and pub-lined streets of Dunedin, we pondered how our lives might be different if we had chosen to study and work in this city…
If it comes to down to weather (and weather is pretty important in my books), I think we definitely made the best decision by choosing to set up camp on the warmer North Island. But we both agreed Dunedin is a pretty cool city, one that we wished we could have spent more time in.