New Zealand, Dunedin
by Steve Theunissen
It is one of the most Southerly cities in the world. Situated on the south eastern edge of the South Island of New Zealand, Dunedin may appear to be a remote hick town with little to offer the modern suburbanite.
Nothing, however, could be further from the truth. If you’re planning a visit to New Zealand, Dunedin should most definitely find it’s way onto your itinerary.
This town has a character, style and atmosphere that will remain with you long after you leave New Zealand. Dunedin is, in fact, a unique place to visit. Let’s find out a little more about the hidden gem in the heart of New Zealand, Dunedin.
The first settlers to arrive in what would become Dunedin set sail from the British Isles in January 1848. The fledging settlement was initially built around the Free Church of Scotland, with the church building serving as church, school and local meeting place. In fact, it is it’s Scottish heritage that makes Dunedin unique among the cities of New Zealand. Dunedin is the old Gaelic name for Edinburgh.
However, being situated in New Zealand, Dunedin is hillier, closer to the sea and has a far better climate than Edinburgh. Yet, the country side was ideally suited to running sheep and growing wheat and Dunedin became the favored destination for the majority of Scottish immigrants to New Zealand. Dunedin was influenced by the Scots in three ways.
Firstly, they brought a great passion for education with them. Hence Dunedin started a Boys High school along with one of the first Girl’s High school’s in the early 1870’s. Dunedin also boasts the oldest university in New Zealand. Dunedin is also known for its religious passion. This is the second main influence of Scottish migration.
Modern visitors can enjoy the old church buildings and elegant spires that are a testament to the religious zeal of the founding fathers. The third area of influence came as a reaction to the rather strait jacked tone fostered by religious conservatism.
A creative rebellion ensued and Dunedin has produced some great writers, most notable James K. Baxter. A statue of Scottish legendary man of words Robert Burns takes pride of place in the city center.
Dunedin has a population of about 120,000, making it the fourth largest city in New Zealand. Dunedin is home to a multitude of cultures and ethnic groups. Throughout all of New Zealand, Dunedin enjoys arguably the best weather. The city is an exciting and vibrant place to be at any time of the year.
Sport and recreation are a passion to many people who live in New Zealand. Dunedin offers many recreational spaces for a variety of purposes. Activities include sport, education, scientific research, relaxation, promotions, festival activities, circuses, competitions, public demonstrations and ceremonies.
When it comes to cultural pursuits you won’t find a better place anywhere in New Zealand. Dunedin has a terrific public art gallery, a fascinating Otago Museum and an equally captivating Early settlers Museum.
Finally, what trip would be complete without some serious shopping therapy? Here, too Dunedin doesn’t disappoint. It’s got some of the best shopping in the whole of New Zealand. Dunedin shopping life is centered around the Octagon and is vibrant positive And upbeat. You’ll find plenty of cafes, restaurants and bars along with a great mix of retail outlets and entertainment services.
So, if you’re heading to New Zealand, Dunedin fully deserves to be on your essential destination list.
More Articles by Steve Theunissen