City Travels - Dunedin
From Christchurch, I journeyed to Dunedin.
I was there from August 3st through the 9th..
All prices are given in New Zealand dollars.
The Intercity bus is a far less curvy road straight to Dunedin. While this bus ride isn't super scenic, you can at least do work on the bus without getting ill!
A Place to Stay and Work
I stayed at Central Backpackers Dunedin. This hostel is above a set of stores right in the center of the tourist area.
I stayed in a 6-bed female dorm for $125 for 6 nights. The room was quite large, with the beds fairly far apart from one another and there are large storage lockers you can even write your names on. But the room is very cold. The windows are very drafty, and you can also hear all the street noise. It kinda feels like you're sleeping on a tent next to the street, which is extra bad being next to all the bars on Friday and Saturdays.
The rest of the hostel is quite nice however. It is very modernly decorated, and warm. The lounge area is in the same area as reception, with a large couch facing a flat screen TV, and a bar-like area where you can use your laptop. The internet in the hostel is extremely fast, although the network would entirely disappear once or twice a day. The laundry machines are also kept in the lounge area, which can be quite noisy.
The kitchen is well stocked with many stove tops and plenty of dinning seating. Do be careful though as the resident cat likes to jump onto the cooking supply shelfs and...well, kitty fur. The hostel also serves a free breakfast of toast and cereal, but it tends to run out or low if you don't get their early.
The bathrooms are separated by sex, and have two toilets and three showers. There is not much counter space around the sinks and sometimes the bathroom can feel a bit crowded. The showers are stalls with a curtain, and plenty of hooks to hang your stuff from. The showers also have jaw dropping water pressure: the best I've seen in the country. But that means don't keep your stuff on the ground.
While I loved the common areas of the hostel, I probably wouldn't stay here again simply because it was so cold and noisy at night. The hostel really needs to replace the windows in the building.
I was originally going to stay in Dunedin for only a few days. However, I extended by several days before I even arrived, as Queenstown was completely booked when I was planning on going there. I'm glad I stayed longer though, there is plenty to do here. It makes me sad to think this town is usually off the typical tourist map. Dunedin is well worth a visit.
Baldwin Street is the steepest street in the world. If you're physically able, you should walk up it, even if it's just to say you've done it. I found is significantly harder to walk down than up. There is a sidewalk on one side of the street and stairs on the other. I took the sidewalk up and the stairs down.
The Dunedin Botanical Gardens are the oldest in the country, and my favorite to visit so far. Most of the botanical gardens lose a bit of their sparkle in the winter, but these gardens were still fascinating to explore. I would recommend visiting them on the way to Baldwin street, as they're about halfway there.
The Otago Museum is a free science/history museum in the middle of the city. The musuem's size is impressive; it took me about three hours to fully explore. They have artifacts from Japan and Egypt, lots of old taxidermy, and a whole room dedicated to old ships and a tropical rainforest (for an extra $9) filled with butterflies. Well worth the visit.
The other free museum in town is the Toitu Otago Settlers Museum. This museum goes through the history of how the town was founded and how we got where we are today. This museum has more than just artifacts from the past, it also has more modern objects. From bottles used in the early days, to ovens from the 1950s, to Atari games from the 80s, the museum has a lot of interesting things to look at and took about a hour-and-a-half to go through.
The Octagon is the central shopping area of the town. It can be fun to walk around the town center and look into all the tourist shops.
There's also a free art museum in the Octagon. While it only took about 45 minutes to see everything, it was a good rainy day activity. The museum has more than just modern art, which makes it more worth visiting in my opinion.
Larnach Castle is located quite a distance from the center of town. I had to visit there as part of a tour to get transportation to the mansion. The mansion has a beautiful overlook of the coast, and interesting decor on the inside. However, I do think it was a little overpriced at ~$30.
I used Headfirst Travel to get there, and I booked a tour that both went to the castle and gave me a ticket to the Taieri Gorge Railway, which ended up being the same price and buying the tickets individually plus transportation to the castle. This whole excursion cost $125, although the tour went on sale shortly after I made my purchase.
The railway tour is the only way to see some of the views in the Taieri Gorge. I took the train to Pukerangi, and that was plenty of train-ride for me, although on certain days you can take the train further to Middlemarch. I'm not convinced that the journey was worth the $90s they charge, but I did get some good pictures out of it.
I mostly walked everywhere, but needed to take the tour to reach Larnach Castle. Otherwise, that would have been a three hour walk on wintery roads. Far too long and far too icy.
There is a fairly priced Countdown right in the center of town, and I spend about $40 dollars on groceries there. I also bought a lamb sub at Subway on the way to the bus, which was delicious and went over my budget at $13. But it was worth it!
I would have liked to made it to tunnel beach or to have seen the penguins that live nearby. Honestly, I could have stayed more time in Dunedin as I still don't feel like I saw everything.