When I lived in NZ I may have taken for granted just how stunningly gorgeous the country is. The beauty of your surroundings may be something you don’t appreciate until you get older (I was 16 when I left), but whenever I fly back home and see so all that untouched green landscape it makes me proud of that silver fern on the front of my passport.
Now that the corny patriotism is out of my system I’ll get to the point. This time last year I was able to have a number of uniquely kiwi experiences. My family moved to Dunedin in 2013 and last Christmas I visited them in their new “hometown”. We are north islanders so my dad was keen for us to be as touristy as possible during my brief trip to the south.
If you ever find yourself in Dunedin, here are five things I recommend giving a go…
VISIT LARNACH CASTLE
Larnach Castle is the only castle in NZ, but it’s as grand as they come. It’s not actually that big inside as the rooms are mostly contained to the inner tower but they are a few storeys high, which means, thanks to the castle’s hilltop placement, the view from the rooftop is 360degrees of 100% pure NZ.
The gardens are gorgeous and my Mum wouldn’t shut up about how getting married there would be wonderful. I really could not tell if this was some kind of hint to me or if she was considering renewing her vows and having a whole extra wedding.
VISIT THE CADBURY FACTORY
I couldn’t resist this one. Unfortunately you can only go through the factory on a guided tour and you don’t actually get to see any of the chocolate in the making. I did appreciate the tour guides purple dungarees geddup and kind of felt bad that his script was quite obviously aimed at hyperactive children and our group was mostly… not children.
HIGHLIGHT: Free chocolate (obvy) and the CHOCOLATE MONSTER (you had to be there).
RIDE THE OTAGO CENTRAL RAIL TRAIL
This was the highlight of the trip for me. We rented bikes and road 60km along what was once a rail line and is now an extremely popular bike and horse-riding trail. And for good reason. The views are absolutely breathtaking. It was EXACTLY like this scene from LOTR… you know, minus the Orcs.
VISIT BALDWIN STREET
Baldwin Street in the Dunedin CBD, is just a run of the mill residential, suburban neighbourhood street, but with a twist. It’s the steepest suburban neighbourhood residential street in the ENTIRE WORLD. This doesn’t sound that impressive, it’s no sheer rock face, and even in photos and videos it looks kind of tame.
But when we drove up Baldwin street I thought the car was going to roll backwards onto the roof. People live at the top.
HAVE A FRIDAY SHOP PIE
The Friday Shop is exactly what it sounds like – a shop open only on Fridays. The little bakery on Highgate Bridge is so popular that if you aren’t in by 10am you will have missed out. So, get there as early as possible and stock up on croissants, pies and other delicious morsels because TGIF. Best… Pie… Ever.
And that was what I got up to in Dunedin last Christmas. If you have any questions about Dunedin or NZ let me know in the comments 🙂