|Dunedin Railway Station. Photo credit www.dunedinnz.com|
Dunedin is New Zealand's oldest city; it is also the most eclectic one. A southern treasure trove of indie nightlife, indigenous wildlife, cutting edge fashion and historic architecture.
1996 world champions Sri Lanka face spirited, first-time World Cup contenders Afghanistan here on 22 February. Afghanistan then stay in town for a key game on 26 February when they will fancy their chances against Scotland. It’s Scotland's third World Cup tournament but should higher-ranked Afghanistan win an historic first World Cup match, you won’t want to miss their joy.
Place in history
Dunedin claims a special spot in New Zealand cricket history with the country's inaugural first-class match having taken place at the South Dunedin Recreation Ground in January 1864. The home side, Otago, beat neighbouring Canterbury by 76 runs to begin an annual rivalry that continues to this day. Dunedin's Albion Cricket Club is the oldest continuous club in New Zealand, having been inaugurated in 1862.
City and region
Otago's largest city, the Scottish settlement of Dunedin dates back to the 1840s. Its grand, ruler-straight Edwardian and Victorian street-scapes are a legacy of the Central Otago gold boom, but with a modern day population of 100,000 the vibe is that of an easy-going provincial hub. Inland from the coastal centre is the ruggedly beautiful, sparsely populated Central Otago region, a favourite of artists, orchardists and red grape winemakers. Take a roadie to discover its big skies and haunted country pubs, or head to the ski towns of Queenstown and Wanaka amid the Southern Alps, a couple of lakes spectacularly framed by purple-hued mountain ranges.
What to see
Great wildlife. Otago Peninsula snakes out from the city of Dunedin with its curvy backbone giving shelter to a string of unspoilt bays and beaches. It's an eco-tourist's dream destination with the world's only mainland albatross colony, the world's rarest penguin - the hoiho, punk-coiffed yellow-eyed star of our five dollar note, wild sea lions and even the occasional leopard and elephant seal waiting to be viewed up close in their natural habitat. The rare charms of Otago Peninsula also extend to Larnach Castle, built in 1871 and a must-do for Devonshire tea and garden enthusiasts. In Dunedin itself explore the hidden gem that is the city's botanic gardens, chance your arm at Dunedin casino, discover the city's great live music tradition at a city pub and get uniquely southern with a plate of mutton bird linguini at harbour-front eatery Plato, washed down with a fine Central Otago Pinot noir.