About Dunedin

Dunedin cruise destination is the home to New Zeland's only true castle - Larnach Castle. Argued to be one of the best preserved Victorian and Edwardian cities in the Southern Hemisphere, the impressive Dunedin Railway Station is a fine example of the ornate architecture found throughout the city.

This 'Edinburgh of the South' is well deserving of its title. Cruises to Dunedin will take you through a fascinating journey of history where you can discover the town's Scottish roots and enjoy a taste of Scotland in the local style. As you wander through this warm-hearted and captivating city, there are Scottish influences throughout, including a statue of the famous poet Robert Burns, the woodland gardens of Glenfalloch and Dunedin's First Church.


Shore excursions in Dunedin

Please note: The shore excursions listed are typical for this port. The full programme of shore excursions available for your cruise will be displayed on Cruise Personaliser at least 12 weeks prior to departure.

Argo Experience at Natures Wonders Reserve

Activity medium

Duration: 4½ hours

Head to the tip of the Otago Peninsula to visit the Natures Wonders Reserve.

Setting off from the pier, you’ll enjoy a scenic drive to Taiaroa Head at the tip of the Otago Peninsula. A visit will be made to Nature’s Wonders; a self-funded conservation reserve, dedicated to protecting its precious wildlife habitat.

Your visit will be by coach, switching over to 8-wheeled Argo vehicle for an off-road experience. A stop will be made at Penguin Beach, which is home to the Yellow-eyed Penguin. At various viewing points, keep an eye out, and you may be lucky enough to see them, as well as Little Blue Penguins, Fur Seals, Sea lions and Cormorants.

During your visit, a tea or coffee will be offered, before the return drive to the pier.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach, This tour is not suitable for those with injuries or conditions, which may be affected by the bumpy ride. The drive to the reserve is around 1 hour each way along very winding roads. Pregnant women and children under 8 may not participate. There is a weight limit of 18 stone on this tour. This tour involves some walking over gravel paths. Flat, comfortable shoes are recommended. Limited pairs of binoculars are available at the viewing points, and may have to be shared, however you may wish to take your own. Before you book this excursion you must refer to the ‘Activity Excursion’ paragraph under the Guide to Symbols in this brochure.

Bonnie Dunedin

Activity mediumRefreshments included

Duration: 4½ hours

Explore Dunedin's Scottish roots and enjoy a wee taste of Scotland, New Zealand style.

Take a fascinating journey through history and discover the origin of this intriguing city. Discover how early settlers from Scotland and China struck gold and why the city grew so quickly. The city’s Scottish roots are steeped in the Celtic name itself as Dunedin translates to Edinburgh.

Dunedin’s First Church is an example of Gothic-style architecture complete with a 185-foot spire. Thomas Burns, the first pastor of this church, was the nephew of Robert Burns, the ‘Scottish Poet Laureate’.

Your next stop will be at the popular woodland gardens of Glenfalloch (hidden glen), situated in a coastal valley overlooking Otago Harbour. The gardens feature original plantings of European trees from 1872 including Azaleas and Rhododendrons and many unique hybrids. Enjoy some traditional highland dancing on the green, followed by refreshments of tea, coffee, scones or muffins. An entertaining Haggis ceremony will be performed and each participant will receive a certificate commemorating their visit and a special souvenir with a Scottish flavour.

A brief stop will be made at the Robert Burns statue, which sits proudly atop the Octagon. Erected in 1887, this Dunedin landmark stands in a prominent position in front of St Paul’s Cathedral in the heart of the city.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach. There is approximately 1 hour of walking in total spread over the various stops. There are some sloping paths at the Glenfalloch Gardens.

Dunedin Highlights

Activity lowFamily

Duration: 3½ hours

Combine a visit to Olveston House and the scenic Botanical Gardens with a stop at the revered Dunedin Station.

Board your coach for a drive along the coast road to Olveston House. Built in the early 1900s for local businessman, David Theomin, the Jacobean style, grace and grandeur of Olveston is distinguished by a wealth of decorative detail. A walk around the grand house allows an intimate glimpse of the lifestyle of a privileged family in the early 1900s. It is filled with treasures collected from all over the world. The house was bequeathed to the city of Dunedin by Theomin’s daughter in 1966.

Leaving Olveston you will drive the short distance to New Zealand's oldest Botanical Gardens. Established in 1863, the charming Gardens span 72 acres and feature native and specialised plant collections including the famed Rhododendron Dell and Rose Garden.

A panoramic drive will take you past Otago University, classic Dunedin buildings, Otago Harbour and nearby beach communities to the picturesque Dunedin Train Station, before returning to the ship.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. There is approximately 30 minutes' walking at the Botanical Gardens which is at your own leisure. The terrain is mostly paved walkways.

Mount Cargill Hike and Organ Pipes

Activity high

Duration: 3½ hours

Hike through forests and bush to see the spectacular Organ Pipes and stunning views from 2,000 feet above sea level.

This unique tour offers the chance to embrace southern New Zealand’s natural beauty and see famous landmarks from unique perspectives.

Immerse yourself in the tranquil landscape straight from the off. At the Mount Cargill Walkway, your guided hike will take you through second growth forest. It’s worth the effort as you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of Otago Harbour, Mihiwaka, Mount Kettle, Blueskin Bay and the Silver Peaks.

Heading into the bush, your guide will point out broadleaf, tree fuchsia, pepperwood, mountain cedar, emergent totara and many lush ferns. Soon, you’ll reach one of the highlights of the hike, a stop to see the incredible Organ Pipes, 10 million year old basalt formations created during the volcanic activity that formed Otago’s harbour.

The views expand as the vegetation thins on your way up the pathway to Buttars Peak. Wander through manuka, kanuka and dracophyllum scrub, finally emerging at the peak at an elevation of more than 2,000 feet above sea level. Enjoy the spectacular vistas with a tea or coffee and a cookie, before descending the same track.

Essential information

This excursion operates by minibus and on foot.There are limited places on this tour and early booking is advised. This tour involves 2 hours of extensive hiking over steep and uneven terrain. Hiking boots or shoes are essential. Children under 10 may not participate. This tour is only for those in good physical condition. The route may become slippery and care should be taken. It is recommended you take a back pack, insect repellent, a bottle of water, sun protection and a light waterproof jacket. Before you book this excursion, you must refer to the ‘Activity Excursion’ paragraphs under the Guide to Symbols in this brochure

Mount Cargill Hike and Organ Pipes

Otago Peninsula Kayaking

Activity medium

Duration: 4½ hours

Discover the beauty of the Otago Peninsula on a kayaking adventure!

From Port Chalmers, you’ll take a drive along the eastern shores of the Otago Harbour to Dunedin city. Turning to the western shoreline, you’ll head along the Otago Peninsula towards the small settlement of Portobello.

After a safety briefing, step aboard your 2-man kayak and set off along the picturesque and rugged coastline. Along the way, keep an eye out for marine life such as New Zealand fur seals and bird life such as the Royal Albatross and cormorants.

A stop will be made en route at the beach, where you can step ashore, stretch your legs and enjoy some light refreshments. It’s then time to head back along coastline, and once back on dry land take the return drive to Port Chalmers.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by minibus and kayak. Participants should be competent swimmers and physically fit. There is a weight restriction of 17 stone. Children under 10 may not participate. The drive to the Otago Peninsula is around 1 hour each way. The kayaking will take approximately 1 hour. Please wear swimwear under clothes or a change of clothing, a hat, sunglasses, towel and sunscreen. Water shoes are recommended, however you may be requested to remove shoes whilst in the kayak. You’ll be required to wear a life jacket. This tour is weather dependent the kayaking area may be substituted with an alternative.

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