We spent a week in Dunedin, in June 2016.
It was a complicated week, with bad weather, tired family, the little mouse we found when we entered the house, the fact that we arrived late and the house was super cold and took around 4 hours to completely warm up didn’t really leave a good impression…
We spent the week in this house. It wasn’t a bad house. It had 2 bedrooms, and the bedrooms were big enough. The thing is that the fireplace was in the living room and we all gathered there all the time, so we always felt cramped. And the outside toilet didn’t really help either. The water was collected from the rain, and not good to drink. The owners did provide spring water, but it smelt funny and I couldn’t drink it. The 2 mice weren’t a really big deal. We knew, when we rented a rural house, that we might encounter some. The problem was that the trap caught one while the kids were awake. They still talk about it.
So, yeah… I do recommend the house for short stays. I think a week was a bit too long for the long drop toilet. Maybe, if it wasn’t raining or as cold and dark as it was, then it wouldn’t have been such a bad thing. It doesn’t have a laundry machine, and that was another really down side of it. BUT it’s in a beautiful place. Long Beach, we found out on our last day, is an amazing beach, a wildlife reserve, and I regret not visiting it earlier.
Back to the city, Dunedin is a big city. It had everything one could possibly need. While we were there, we visited:
– City walk. It’s always a good thing to walk around the city, find the iSite and ask for free and child-friendly things. They know the area a lot more than we do, even with all of our guide books. On this walk, we went up to the Train Station.
– Train Station. It’s a beautiful place. We didn’t ride the train because it was way above our budget, but it was worth the walk. The station is pretty inside and outside, and the garden is fun too, even though it’s small.
– Sandfly Bay is where the sea lions are. They are very like the fur seals (the fur seals are around the Albatross Centre). Unfortunately, when we were there, there were only a few of them on the sand, and many of them on the rocks – and we couldn’t get there. Still a great thing, we loved seeing them sleeping around so peacefully, and being respected. And not one litter around the beach, I loved that! Just beware: going down the path through the sand dune (the only path) is easy, but going UP is just exhausting. I stopped 3 times and I got to the car like someone who had run a marathon.
– Albatross Centre is a little museum of the albatross in Dunedin, with two awesome view points. We didn’t see any albatross but we did see the fur seals and the little blue penguin poop, not the actual penguins.
– Otago Peninsula is a beautiful place. It’s where the Sandfly Bay and the Albatross Centre are located. There are many other things there, like the Lanarch Castle and the Yellow Eyes Penguin Centre, but we didn’t do those.
– Otago Museum is mostly free, with some paid spaces. We kept to the free stuff. The animal area is the place that attracts my boys a lot, so we spent most of our time there. It’s a good program for a rainy day, the place is clean, attractive and with loads of hands on stuff, so the kids are free to look around.
– Baldwin Street is the steepest street in the world. It’s 350 meters (1,15 ft) long, but it feels so much longer on the way up…. There are stairs, though. They help. I don’t even know how long it took us to walk all the way up, but we had to sit (they have a bench and a water fountain at the top) and rest for a very long time before we could walk again. OK, before I could walk again. The view from up there is neat and we do feel like we accomplished something great until we see the little sign saying that Iain Clark roller skated his way up there in 1988.
We ate at the Golden Harvest restaurant only. It’s a Chinese restaurant inside a mall, one of the only places opened at 7 pm on a Wednesday. The food was good, the price was a bit above our budget, but still worth it.
Between all the cities we visited so far, this isn’t one of our favorites, unfortunately. Maybe we do need to go during another season.
Let us know here what we missed in Dunedin if you’ve been there!
And our little video….