Dunedin is a city of around 125,000 people on the east coast of the South Island of New Zealand. Once a hub of commercial activity in the gold rushes of the 1860s (which left a rich architectural legacy), Dunedin is now best known as a University City and tourist destination. The University of Otago (NZ’s first university) and the Otago Polytechnic attract a student population of around 20,000, who live and study in a campus precinct close to the city centre, and provide colour and diversity to city life.
Tourism: Dunedin’s growing reputation as a tourist destination is evidenced by an increasing number of cruise ship visits each year (89 cruise ships visited during the spring/summer of 2012-2013, with a similar number expected this year). Local attractions include Dunedin’s Victorian-era architecture, the grand historic houses Larnach Castle and Olveston, the wildlife attractions of the Otago Peninsula (the Royal Albatross Colony, the Yellow-eyed Penguin Conservation Reserve, fur seals and sea lions — all within the city limits), an “authentic” (prefabricated in Shanghai) late Ming/early Ching dynasty Chinese scholar’s garden, the historic 77km Taieri Gorge scenic railway, the Otago Museum with its tropical forest and butterfly house, a boutique casino, surf beaches, and chocolate factory and brewery tours.
Dunedin is close to the scenic Catlins Coast, and only 3½ hours drive from the popular lake and mountain resorts of Queenstown and Wanaka.