The Guide To Free Activities in Dunedin

The guide to free activities in Dunedin

Free Things You Can Try In Dunedin

Dunedin is a small town on the South Island of New Zealand.

It’s an idyllic town with a plethora of activities available.

There are mountains, beaches, wildlife and culture to enjoy all over Dunedin.

However, what makes it even more amazing is that a great many activities in Dunedin are free!

This makes it an excellent spot for budget travellers to visit as they will be able to experience much without spending much.

Without further ado, let’s get to talking about Dunedin’s best free activities! 

If you haven’t, do book a room at one of the many great hotels in Dunedin!

1. Visit Dunedin’s Museums and Galleries 

Dunedin hosts several museums and art galleries, such as the Otago Museum, Toi Itu Otago Settlers Museum and the Dunedin Public Art Gallery.

These places are all filled with history, culture and art.

And what’s amazing is that all these places are free for entry!

You don’t have to be a citizen to get free entry.

It’s free for everyone! 

If you enjoy history and science, the Otago museum is a good choice.

They feature artefacts from all over the world.

If you’re more interested in the history of Otago, you should visit the Toi Itu Otago Settlers Museum.

This museum is dedicated to the history of such and features exhibitions on the early Maori settlers, European settlers and Chinese settlers.

This is also one of the oldest museums in New Zealand so it’s definitely most worth visiting.

Lastly, the Dunedin Public Art Gallery is home to many amazing art collections.

There are sculptures, paintings, and decorative pieces from both New Zealand and around the world.

There’s also an interactive art piece by Yayoi Kusama here.

It’s known as the obliteration room.

Visitors are given round colourful stickers and the aim is to cover the entire room with them.

If this meets your fancy, you should visit the Dunedin Public Art Gallery.

2. Admire the Buildings in Dunedin 

Due to the gold rush in the 1860s, Dunedin was once a prosperous and bustling town, A lot of effort was thus put into the building and development of this town.

As such, there are many beautiful buildings in Dunedin.

In fact, Dunedin is most renowned for its architecture in New Zealand.

Many of these buildings have a Victorian influence and this makes for amazing photos.

If you are interested, you can check out some buildings such as the First Church of Otago, the Dunedin Railway Station, and the grand Larnach Castle and its amazing grounds.

For Larnach Castle, however, you will have to pay the entrance fee.

If you wish to avoid paying, you can simply explore the gardens of the castle instead.

3. Watch the Southern Lights 

Many know about the Northern Lights, but few may be aware that there are also Southern Lights.

At Dunedin, you will be able to see the Southern Lights too!

All you have to do is get to a beach around Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula to hopefully be able to see it.

This depends upon the time of the year and weather too, so keep your fingers crossed!

If you’re planning to try your luck, you can try Hoopers Inlet, Sandfly Bay, or the Second Beach in St Clair as your Southern Light gazing spot. 

4. Visit The Steepest Street In The World 

Baldwin Street is officially recognised as the steepest street in the world by the Guinness Book of World Records.

It is a mere 350 meters long; however, climbing to the top can feel like a workout if you haven’t been keeping fit.

The street was not intentionally built to be steep.

Instead, it was the result of bad planning that resulted in its uniqueness.

Due to its steep incline, this street has become popular as a photography spot.

With the right angling, you can even make the houses look like they are sinking.

Additionally, this street has also become a great place for activities and festivals.

For example, the Cadbury Chocolate Carnival’s Jaffa Race is frequently held on this street.

Spherical orange-chocolates are sent rolling down this street during the race and this is all done with the intention of raising money for charity.

If you’re lucky enough to be in Dunedin during the Jaffa Race, it would definitely be one to watch or take part in! 

5. Explore Dunedin’s Botanic Gardens 

The Dunedin Botanic Gardens are the oldest in all of New Zealand.

They are also considered a six-star Garden of International Significance.

In the garden, you can find over 6,800 plant species as well as a variety of native birds.

The Edwardian Winter Garden is a glasshouse full of tropical plants, cacti and succulents.

There’s also a Japanese Garden nearby that’s completely serene and has bamboo plants growing.

Aside from that, there are also picnic areas, a playground and a duck pond for visitors to explore and use.

The best part of it all is that entry to the gardens is completely free!

If you are with children, this would be a great place to bring them!

You can introduce them to plants, have a picnic and let them play on the playground. 

6. Visit Dunedin’s Beaches

Dunedin is right next to the Pacific Ocean and hence, has a ton of amazing beaches nearby.

In fact, many of these beaches are just a few minutes drive away from The Octagon.

If you’re keen to surf, you might want to visit St Clair or St Kilda.

In fact, you can find a surf school just beside St Clair’s esplanade.

If you want something a little more private or special, you could visit tunnel beach.

This takes you through a man-made tunnel to a private beach that’s bouldered by large sandstones.

Lastly, there’s the slightly further away Long Beach.

Long Beach is particularly known for its gigantic grottos, vivid birdlife and amazing rock-climbing cliffs.

All of these beaches are amazing with their own attractions.

Visiting any of them would allow you to see more of Dunedin and have an enjoyable day. 


Dunedin is indeed an amazing place to visit for budget travellers.

There simply are so many amazing free activities to partake in.

We hope that this guide is helpful in your planning for a Dunedin trip.

Have travels! 

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