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New Zealand

Dunedin, Otago Peninsula & Stewart Island

Things to do

DUNEDIN TRIP? DODDLE.

A holiday to Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula will take you to the southeastern curve of New Zealand’s South Island, where you’ll find pretty bays, cultural sites and rare wildlife. And, since you’re travelling all that way, why not continue on to Stewart Island? Boasting amazing birdlife and stunning star-filled skies, this remote isle is a nature-lover’s dream.

A trip to Dunedin, the Otago Peninsula and Stewart Island ticks a lot of boxes. Beaches, culture, history, wildlife – you name it, this diverse trio has got it. History buffs will love exploring the Victorian streets and museums of Dunedin. After Christchurch, it’s the second-largest city on the South Island and is known as the Edinburgh of New Zealand – you’ll notice a lot of nods to Dunedin’s Scottish heritage. But don’t be fooled by its historic credentials. Dunedin is a vibrant, modern city where cosy pubs and craft breweries pepper the streets, and maze-like laneways are adorned with colourful street art.

Outdoorsy types will feel right at home here, too. There are loads of great hiking and biking trails around Dunedin, while the dramatic beaches are ripe for swimming and surfing. And, to the east, there’s the Otago Peninsula. Jutting out into the Pacific Ocean, this scenic area is famous for its rare animals, including endangered penguins and magnificent albatross.

If it’s wildlife you’re after, though, Stewart Island – or Rakiura – is bound to be the highlight of your holiday. This far-flung isle is a haven for New Zealand’s native birds, including kaka, kiwi and weka. And, after dark, things get even better. A designated Dark Sky Sanctuary, Stewart Island boasts a jaw-dropping view of the starry heavens. Between May and September, you might even see the Southern Lights dancing across the sky.

What are you waiting for? Speak to our travel specialists and let us create a tailor-made itinerary for your holiday to Dunedin, the Otago Peninsula and Stewart Island.

Dunedin

Otago Peninsula

Stewart Island

Best time to go

Discover Dunedin

If you’re into history or architecture, you’ll be in your element in Dunedin – it’s one of the best-preserved Edwardian and Victorian cities in the southern hemisphere. You can admire dozens of gorgeous buildings, visit the Olveston Historic Home, and stroll around the Edwardian Winter Garden in Dunedin Botanic Garden. Elsewhere, Toitu Otago Settlers Museum showcases Dunedin’s interesting past through a series of exhibitions about the city’s early Maori population and European settlers.

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To see Dunedin from a different angle, why not hire bikes for the day? The nearby mountains have five trails – each offering lovely views – while Signal Hill has the best downhill track in all of New Zealand. Alternatively, spend a day at one of the nearby beaches. Brighton Beach is perfect for swimming, while St Clair is popular with surfers. Afterwards, you can enjoy a chilled-out evening in one of Dunedin’s many pubs. Or, if you’re into craft beer, book a tasting session at one of the city’s breweries.

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Explore the Otago Peninsula

If you drive 20 minutes’ east of Dunedin, you’ll reach the Otago Peninsula – a rugged and beautiful area, home to both historical and natural attractions. For history-lovers, Larnach Castle is a must-visit. Built by a Scottish merchant in 1871, this grand structure is New Zealand’s only castle. Inside, you’ll find stately rooms and an enormous ballroom, where you can enjoy high tea at three o’clock. And if you go up the castle’s tower, you’ll be treated to panoramic views over the Otago Peninsula.

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The wildlife here is fantastic, too. The dramatic coastline is home to fur seals, sea lions and rare species of penguin, including little blue penguins and yellow-eyed penguins. And, at the very tip of the peninsula, you’ll find the Royal Albatross Centre. From here, you can take a tour to see the only mainland breeding colony of albatross in the world. These majestic birds come to the peninsula to nest between September and November, so this is when you’re most likely to see them.  

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Stargaze on Stewart Island

If you’re heading to the southernmost part of New Zealand on your holiday, Stewart Island should be on your to-do list. It’s the country’s third-biggest isle and lies 30 kilometres off the mainland – and this remote location has certainly worked in its favour.

The amount of birdlife on Stewart Island is incredible. Kiwi birds outnumber people by 50 to one, and you’re also likely to see albatross, falcons, kaka – a native parrot – and various species of penguin. There’s a vast network of walking trails on the island, so you’ll have plenty of opportunity to see some of New Zealand’s rarest and most interesting birds.

Show More
Show Less

But it’s not just the wildlife which benefits from the isolation. Stewart Island has no light pollution and, in 2019, it was declared an International Dark Sky Sanctuary – one of only 13 in the world. At night, you can see the Milky Way and millions of stars on the ink-coloured sky. And, if you’re really lucky, you might even see the stunning Southern Lights, Aurora Australis.

Show More
Show Less

Best time to go

There’s a lot to consider when planning a holiday to Dunedin, the Otago Peninsula and Stewart Island. If you’re keen to spend a lot of time enjoying the great outdoors, it’s best to visit between late spring and early autumn – which, in New Zealand, means November to April. During this half of the year, temperatures average 15°C, so you can comfortably explore Dunedin’s beaches or cycle around the Otago Peninsula.

Show More
Show Less

But there are other things to think about. You’re most likely to see albatross at the Otago Peninsula between September and November – so, if that’s a key part of your trip, it would be best to plan your holiday for November. However, on Stewart Island, the Southern Lights are most likely to show themselves between May and September. It’s also worth remembering that New Zealand’s winter runs from June to August and, in this part of the country, temperatures rarely reach double figures at this time of year. So there’s a lot to weigh up and consider before booking – please speak to our travel specialists for advice.

Show More
Show Less

Dunedin

Discover Dunedin

If you’re into history or architecture, you’ll be in your element in Dunedin – it’s one of the best-preserved Edwardian and Victorian cities in the southern hemisphere. You can admire dozens of gorgeous buildings, visit the Olveston Historic Home, and stroll around the Edwardian Winter Garden in Dunedin Botanic Garden. Elsewhere, Toitu Otago Settlers Museum showcases Dunedin’s interesting past through a series of exhibitions about the city’s early Maori population and European settlers.

Show More
Show Less

To see Dunedin from a different angle, why not hire bikes for the day? The nearby mountains have five trails – each offering lovely views – while Signal Hill has the best downhill track in all of New Zealand. Alternatively, spend a day at one of the nearby beaches. Brighton Beach is perfect for swimming, while St Clair is popular with surfers. Afterwards, you can enjoy a chilled-out evening in one of Dunedin’s many pubs. Or, if you’re into craft beer, book a tasting session at one of the city’s breweries.

Show More
Show Less

Otago Peninsula

Explore the Otago Peninsula

If you drive 20 minutes’ east of Dunedin, you’ll reach the Otago Peninsula – a rugged and beautiful area, home to both historical and natural attractions. For history-lovers, Larnach Castle is a must-visit. Built by a Scottish merchant in 1871, this grand structure is New Zealand’s only castle. Inside, you’ll find stately rooms and an enormous ballroom, where you can enjoy high tea at three o’clock. And if you go up the castle’s tower, you’ll be treated to panoramic views over the Otago Peninsula.

Show More
Show Less

The wildlife here is fantastic, too. The dramatic coastline is home to fur seals, sea lions and rare species of penguin, including little blue penguins and yellow-eyed penguins. And, at the very tip of the peninsula, you’ll find the Royal Albatross Centre. From here, you can take a tour to see the only mainland breeding colony of albatross in the world. These majestic birds come to the peninsula to nest between September and November, so this is when you’re most likely to see them.  

Show More
Show Less

Stewart Island

Stargaze on Stewart Island

If you’re heading to the southernmost part of New Zealand on your holiday, Stewart Island should be on your to-do list. It’s the country’s third-biggest isle and lies 30 kilometres off the mainland – and this remote location has certainly worked in its favour.

The amount of birdlife on Stewart Island is incredible. Kiwi birds outnumber people by 50 to one, and you’re also likely to see albatross, falcons, kaka – a native parrot – and various species of penguin. There’s a vast network of walking trails on the island, so you’ll have plenty of opportunity to see some of New Zealand’s rarest and most interesting birds.

Show More
Show Less

But it’s not just the wildlife which benefits from the isolation. Stewart Island has no light pollution and, in 2019, it was declared an International Dark Sky Sanctuary – one of only 13 in the world. At night, you can see the Milky Way and millions of stars on the ink-coloured sky. And, if you’re really lucky, you might even see the stunning Southern Lights, Aurora Australis.

Show More
Show Less

Best time to go

Best time to go

There’s a lot to consider when planning a holiday to Dunedin, the Otago Peninsula and Stewart Island. If you’re keen to spend a lot of time enjoying the great outdoors, it’s best to visit between late spring and early autumn – which, in New Zealand, means November to April. During this half of the year, temperatures average 15°C, so you can comfortably explore Dunedin’s beaches or cycle around the Otago Peninsula.

Show More
Show Less

But there are other things to think about. You’re most likely to see albatross at the Otago Peninsula between September and November – so, if that’s a key part of your trip, it would be best to plan your holiday for November. However, on Stewart Island, the Southern Lights are most likely to show themselves between May and September. It’s also worth remembering that New Zealand’s winter runs from June to August and, in this part of the country, temperatures rarely reach double figures at this time of year. So there’s a lot to weigh up and consider before booking – please speak to our travel specialists for advice.

Show More
Show Less

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Whether you're looking for luxury or simplicity, we've got the perfect holiday for you.

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Travelbag is fully protected by ATOL and ABTA, so your booking is completely secure.

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