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Friday, 5 June 2009

What’s hot in Dunedin for 2009

Dunedin, New Zealand's southern most city, is arguably the country's best kept secret. Well known as a university city, Dunedin punches above its weight as a place to visit. Recently Chris Martin of band Coldplay described his visit as "being in paradise".

Find out what's hot in Dunedin for the second half of 2009.

Leading the way with tourism and conservation

From September 2009 Orokonui Eco-sanctuary will run tours of the 307 hectare native forest and wildlife sanctuary. Twenty minutes from the city centre, Orokonui is the only predator free area of native bush in the South Island.

Visitors will learn about the intricate world of Otago's coastal forest and rare native birds and reptiles such as kaka - New Zealand's curious parrot, and tuatara - described by scientists as living dinosaurs.

The newest day tour on the Otago Peninsula, an area David Bellamy described as "the finest example of eco-tourism in the world", gives visitors the opportunity to plant a native tree. The Peninsula Excursion & Albatross Encounter tour includes a visit to the Royal Albatross Centre – the only mainland breeding colony in the world.

New Zealand's first dedicated thalassotherapy spa

Thalassotherapy uses ocean ingredients such as seawater, seaweed, mud and algae to replenish the skin. Treatments will be on offer at the new St Clair Beach Resort due to open in September 2009. The spa and 4.5 star seaside hotel will have views of St Clair, a popular Dunedin surf beach.

Port Chalmers – a new destination

Work is underway for a new cycleway linking Dunedin to Port Chalmers, a historic settlement on the Otago Peninsula. The area, now popular with cruise ships in summer months, begun life as a trading port for sealers and whalers before going on to be Australasia's third largest port due to the gold rush. Monarch tours will run a new day tour of Port Chalmers this summer.

New cafe hubs overlooking Dunedin

The hilly villages of Maori Hill and Rosyln are fast becoming the place to go for brunch and coffee in Dunedin. The newest in the coffee cluster is No. 7 Balmac ( in Maori Hill where locals munch on fresh vegetables from the cafe's own garden.

In the neighbouring village of Rosyln, savvy visitors can explore the local hot spots including Rhubarb – a cafe situated in an old local butcher's store. Rosyln newcomers include Kiki Beware and Luna – both boasting sweeping views across the harbour and city.

Official recognition as a gardening destination

Dunedin is now home to the South Island's only garden of international significance – an official accreditation from the New Zealand Gardens Trust. The grounds are located at Larnach Castle which Margaret Barker purchased 40 years ago at which time the grounds resembled over grown wilderness. The transformation is proof of Margaret's passion for gardening.

With two gardens of national significance, the country's first botanic gardens and an annual rhododendron festival, Dunedin is the perfect gateway to explore Otago's autumnal gardens. and

Robbie Burns club as popular as ever

Last month the Dunedin Burns club received a surge of new memberships as the city continues to celebrate its rich Scottish heritage. The 118 year old institution organises events in the city such as the 250 year anniversary of Burns in 2009. The city's heritage is also celebrated with a bi-annual Heritage Festival. Year round visitors to Dunedin can take a walking and bus tour of the city's Edwardian and Victorian architecture.

For more information on Dunedin visit

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