The Guide To Getting To And Around Dunedin

The guide to getting to and around Dunedin

Dunedin, New Zealand

Dunedin is a small but vibrant city on the South Island of New Zealand.

Dunedin has an amazing assortment of activities for visitors.

There are natural attractions, wildlife to see and many historical and cultural attractions too.

On the whole, Dunedin is considered a university town as nearly 27 per cent of the town’s population is made up of university students.

If you are planning to visit Dunedin, you might be wondering how you can get here and how could you get around while here.

In this guide, we will be covering a variety of ways to get to and around Dunedin. So, read on! 

If you are in need of accommodation, check out these great hotels in Dunedin!

Getting To Dunedin

1. By Plane 

Dunedin International Airport is the airport for Dunedin and there are flights coming in from Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Brisbane.

If you are flying within New Zealand, Air New Zealand and Jetstar have flights that fly to Dunedin.

However, Jetstar only has flights from Auckland to Dunedin.

If you are coming from Christchurch or Wellington, you’d have to take Air New Zealand.

If you’re flying in from Brisbane, Virgin Australia would be your carrier of choice. 

From the airport, you can easily get to the town centre by shuttles or taxis.

You can board a taxi or shuttle from right outside the airport terminal.

If you are planning to take a taxi, it will cost you about $90 to $100 to get to the town centre.

The trip will be around twenty minutes long.

If you are planning to take any of the shuttles, it will cost around $20 to $25 per passenger.

The shuttles stop at different destinations within a five-kilometre radius of the city centre.

If you are looking to take a shuttle, here are your options: 

  • Airport Shuttles Dunedin ($20 per passenger)
  • Kiwi Shuttles ($20 per passenger for cash, if other forms of payment, an additional two dollars is charged.)
  • Supershuttle ($25 per passenger)

2. By Train

Dunedin has a railway station however, it does not operate long-distance lines anymore.

Instead, the lines at this railway station are scenic routes, such as the Taieri Gorge Railway.

If you are coming from a stop along this line, the train is a possible avenue of transport for you.

Additionally, there are also possible connecting services from Queenstown that you can take to Dunedin

3. By Car 

It’s a pretty straightforward drive to Dunedin.

You just need to take State Highway One till it passes Dunedin.

If you are coming from Christchurch, the drive can take around four and a half hours.

From Invercargill, it will take you about two hours less.

As you drive into Dunedin, you would want to consult a map as the urban roads of Dunedin are confusing. 

4. By Bus 

There are a few different daily bus routes coming in from Christchurch, Invercargill, Wanaka and Queenstown.

From Christchurch, you can expect the bus journey to be about six and a half hours long.

If you are looking to take a bus, here are the different bus services you can look at: 

  • Atomic Bus 
  • Bottom Bus 
  • Catch-a-Bus South
  • Coastline Tours
  • Intercity 
  • Orbus
  • Ritchies 

5. By Ship

A fun and interesting way to get to Dunedin is actually through cruise ships.

From early October to March, you can expect there to be about 80 to 90 visits coming into Dunedin.

The cruise companies that run to Dunedin are Carnival and Royal Caribbean.

These ships usually dock at Port Chalmers and that is about twenty to thirty minutes away from the city centre.

From the port, there are two ways to get to the city centre.

One is through the shuttle services provided by the Cruise companies – this costs ten dollars one-way and fifteen dollars for return.

If you want to save money, you can always take public bus 13 at the Port Chalmers turnaround.

This would be about a five minutes walk from your ship.

The cost of such a trip will be $5.20.

6. By Bicycle 

Lastly, you can cycle to Dunedin however, it will be pretty challenging as Dunedin is surrounded by hills.

You can’t simply follow the driving route either as it is banned by the government.

If you intend to cycle to Dunedin, there are two routes you can try. 

The first comes in from the north: you’d have to turn left at Waitati and go along Mt Cargill Rd.

Or you can turn left or right at the next intersection and take Donalds Hill/Mt Cargill Rd or Waitati Valley Rd/Leith Valley Rd. 

The second comes in from the south: you’ll have to exit State Highway One at the Mosgiel Interchange and take Quarry, Gordon and Dukes Road to the Three Mile Hill Rd. 

Getting Around Dunedin 

If you are planning to only stay within Dunedin, you would not need a car.

If you plan to travel out once in a while, you can always rent a car to use.

Otherwise, it is advisable to forgo using a car as Dunedin is a small city and their roads can be confusing for foreigners. 

1. By Foot 

Dunedin is a small city and much of the city is focused on the city centre.

As such, it is easy to get around the city on foot. In fact, with Dunedin’s weather, it is a nice way to get around.

If you are planning to travel around on foot, it would be best to get a map to help you get around the city.

Maps can be easily obtained at the front desks of hostels and hotels.

An important point to remember however is that Dunedin’s terrain can go from flat to steep.

If you are by the water, it is usually a flatter route.

As you plan to get around the city, you might want to take note of that to ensure that you aren’t basically hiking to your next destination. 

2. By Bus 

Another reason why a car is not needed in Dunedin is that it is serviced by the extensive Orbus bus network.

This bus network covers the city centre and all the peripheral suburbs and towns.

Bus companies like GoBus and Ritchies are included in this network too!

From the Central City Bus Hub on Great King Street, you’d be able to take any of the city buses.

During the week, the buses run regularly.

It is only over weekends and holidays that buses run less or not at all. 

If you are planning to take the bus regularly during your time in Dunedin, I would suggest getting a GoCard for $5.

This will ensure that your future rides are discounted. 

3. By Bicycle 

Bicycles are a great transportation tool in Dunedin.

If you’re biking just around the city centre, the ground is pretty flat.

It is only further out that you would encounter steep hills.

However, bicycles are still a great and vastly cheaper way to get around.

If you are looking to rent a bike, you can take a look at Cycle World, Dunedin iBike Hire or Otago Harbour Gold Challenge.


Getting to and around Dunedin is pretty straightforward.

With this guide, we hope it clarifies even more for you and allows you to have a great time in Dunedin. 

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