Behind the heritage facades beats the heart of a buzzing university city, writes Briar Jensen.
Dunedin, winner of New Zealand's most beautiful city award last year, is often considered conservative. But with almost one-fifth of the city's population being university students, it is not dull. Among the beautifully preserved gold rush-funded heritage buildings are funky fashion and design stores, hip cafes and wine bars.
Despite having the world's steepest street, the central city is flat and compact and you can navigate comfortably on foot.
The Otago Peninsula is a treat for nature lovers, being home to rare yellow-eyed penguins and the only mainland breeding ground of the northern royal albatross.
If you're a discerning coffee drinker, head to Strictly Coffee in a side street just behind the Octagon city centre, where you can watch the industrial-sized roaster in action. The best way to explore the city is on foot, so start at the Octagon, overlooked by St Paul's Anglican Cathedral, the imposing Municipal Chambers, Dunedin Public Art Gallery and, in the background, the Gothic spire of First Church. Read the pavement plaques around the Robert Burns statue, which feature intriguing and revealing quotes from notable Dunedin writers and poets.
Walk down Stuart Street to the Flemish Renaissance railway station, reputedly New Zealand's most photographed building, with its Royal Doulton mosaic tiles and leadlight windows. Here you can book the scenic Taieri Gorge Railway, which runs half-day return trips to rugged Central Otago. Ditch the diet and follow the delicious smell to nearby Cadbury World for a factory tour with loads of samples.
Follow Cumberland Street to the University of Otago, New Zealand's oldest university and the first to admit women, where imposing volcanic rock and limestone buildings cluster around a tranquil, tree-lined stream.
I just want to sell my house and get going.