The Edinburgh of the South and named from the Gaelic for Edinburgh, Dunedin is the second largest city on the south island of New Zealand.
Dunedin is a city most only travel to after Queenstown, but those who do also find themselves in the city for longer than they expected. Museums, cafes, bars, restaurants, beaches and wildlife, to name a few, are the main allures for studying in Dunedin.
Holding the country’s oldest university, Dunedin is no stranger to vibrant student and night life, so though it’s quieter than the bigger cities, you’ll still have a fun time if you want. Also, Dunedinites are known to be friendlier than their big city counterparts. Finally, note that since New Zealand is in the Southern Hemisphere, their summer is our winter, their winter our summer and so on.Photo credit: Natalia Volna [email protected] travel app.
Though Dunedin is relatively small in size, it still offers much to see and do. Whether it’s experiencing wildlife on the Otago Peninsula, walking through the city or experiencing more wildlife at the Orokonui Ecosanctuary, you’ll find many and different activities to do and sights to see.
The Cadbury Chocolate Factory produces more than 75% of New Zealand’s overall chocolate. Tours run every half hour from 9am to 3:30am, and you get free sample of chocolate at the end of the tour! However, the tour price is quite pricey at 20 NZ dollars (about the same as US), but the chocolate is worth it.
A Dunedin landmark since 1876, the brewery offers tours at 10am, noon and 2pm, though the shop is open M-Th 9:30am-7pm and F-Su 9:30am-5pm. The tour is guided, and includes a trip through the brewery along with a history of beer dating back to the Babylonians. Lastly, you get a 25-minute beer tasting (the legal age in New Zealand for alcohol is 18).
Boasting one of the largest collection in New Zealand, Otago Museum takes this guide’s obligatory museum visit. As wildlife and natural history is stressed strongly in New Zealand, this museum mainly contains natural science specimens and historical artifacts from Otago and around the world. It also has an interactive science center.
Otago Peninsula and Orokonui Ecosanctuary
As mentioned above, both of these places offer great experiences for seeing wildlife. Otago Peninsula is a long, hilly piece of land on the easternmost part of Dunedin. Here, you can catch Blue Cod, gather shellfish and view wildlife, though you’ll find the best spots if you ask the locals. Orokonui Ecosanctuary offers the rarest and most interesting wildlife in all of New Zealand. With guided tours offered at 11am and 1:30am (open hours being 9am to 4:30pm), visitors will have a fantastic experience here.
If money is causing you problems in the US (as I'm assure it is as students...unfortunately), then it'll probably do the same abroad (if not more). Fear not! Here are a few scholarships.
- The New Zealand International Undergraduate Fees Scholarship is available to international undergraduate students and are merit-based.
- Break Out is a searchable database of over 2,200 awards, scholarships and grants for individuals in New Zealand. Break Out is New Zealand's most comprehensive source of scholarship information.
- More Study Abroad Grants and Scholarships
New Zealand is on the NZ dollar, which is similar to the US dollar, so you shouldn’t have too much trouble with the currency as they are about the same (US is worth a bit more). As such, Dunedin offers budget, mid-range and expensive ways of life, depending on how you feel a certain day. Because most of you are students, some budget places are the Good Oil down George Street (the main street), Satay Noodle House on Hanover street and Pasha Café and Bar on St. Andrews St. ATMs are located all throughout Dunedin, so you do not have to worry about drawing cash. Just be sure to notify your bank where you’re traveling to so they don’t block your account.
Culture Shock and Support
New Zealand is halfway around the world from the US, and as such offers a very new and rewarding experience. English is indeed spoken in New Zealand, so communication shouldn’t be too difficult. However, the distance and the differences in culture can be daunting for the first time studying abroad. As such, be sure to pick a problem that caters to American students, so that you can be well informed of the cultural differences and avoid making a faux pas.
However, remember that you have your fellow students! If you’re missing the long hours of studying and the obnoxiously loud people back in the US, well, then you’re weird. On a more serious note, talk to your fellow peers! If you’re experiencing some homesickness, there is every chance that they are as well. Don’t be embarrassed if you need to talk to someone about home, it is completely normal and who knows, you may become even closer friends!
The bus is a great way to get around, and it’s cheap. St. Clair-Normanby, the main bus line, runs every 15 minutes and is a good way to get to a bunch of the city’s attractions. If you ask nicely, the bus drivers generally will help you find where you need to go by pointing you in the right direction.Biking is also a viable means of transportation, but avoid the hills, as they can be quite steep.
Be sure to try the local specialty Kumara chips (sweet potato fries).
Overall, Dunedin offers a relatively quiet experience during the day due to its smaller population than Queenstown, but still holds up nicely quite well in its nightlife department. It is definitely a unique experience with its amazing wildlife and bustling city center.