Dunedin is a city located in the Otago Region of New Zealand. It is the second biggest city in the region and overlooks Otago Harbor. It covers an area of twelve hundred square miles and has a population of over one hundred and twenty-three thousand residents. The educational needs of the city are serviced by several institutions which include Taieri College, University of Otago, Bayfield High School, John McGlashan College, Logan Park High School, Otago Girls’ High School, Kavanagh College, Queen’s High School, St. Hilda’s Collegiate School, Otago Boys’ High School, Kaikorai Valley College, King’s High School, Aoraki Polytechnic, Dunedin College of Education and Columbia College. The transportation needs of the city are accommodated by Dunedin International Airport and the worlds most southern highway, Dunedin Souther Motorway. This highway traverses seven miles and connect the suburbs of Mosgiel and Caversham. Dunedin also has a railway station, which at one time was the country’s busiest railway. This railway no longer services passanger traffic and is mainly used by local tourist agencies.
Dunedin is a city that can trace its history back to the eleventh century. This is when the area was first inhabited by the Maori tribes who gathered along the southeast coast. These people built fortified villages which included Harwood Township, Little Papanui and Taiaroa Head. In 1770, Captain James Cook discovered the area and named the geographic positions of Saddle Hill and Cape Saunders. He also extensively mapped the area, making note of the animals that lived in the area. Since there was a predominance of seals in the area, which his notes extensively described, seal hunters began to flood to the area. In 1810, a feud developed between these hunters and the native Maori which lasted for thirteen years. After the feud was resolved, Otago Harbor was transformed from a seal hunter port to an international whaling port. Whaling stations were established at Otakou, Karitane and Waikouaiti.
In 1848, Dunedin was founded at Otago Harbor by the Free Church of Scotland. It derived its name for the Scottish Gaelic name for Edinburgh, Dun Eideann. The city’s first surveyor laid out the design of the city according to the design of Edinburgh. This presented many challenges for the street builders who struggled to build according to this grand design across the rough landscape. Dunedin appointed Captain William Cargill as the leader of the community and Reverend Thomas Burns as the city’s spiritual advisor. In 1852, Dunedin became the capital of the Otago Province and in 1861, gold was discovered at Gabriel’s Gully. This discovery led to a surge in the population due to miners and prospectors and Dunedin became the fastest growing city of the time. The city also saw a large influx of foreigners which included Irish, Germans, Jews, French and Chinese immigrants. The city quickly became industrialized and slums began to develop in its core. During this time, the Port Chalmers Branch Railway was erected and the city experienced a decade of prosperity. New institutions cropped up in the city which included the first university, the country’s first daily newspaper, medical schools, Dunedin cable trams and art institutions. Finally, during the mid-nineteenth century economic activity in the city began to slow.
Today, Dunedin is a bustling center for tourism. It has many historical monuments, cultural institutions and festivals to draw in huge crowds of visitors to the city. Annual festivals in the city include Otago Rally, Whare Flat Folk Festival, New Year’s Eve Party Octagon, Dunedin Summer Festival, Cadbury Chocolate Carnival, Samstock Music Festival, Dunedin International Film Festival, Southern Festival of Speed classic car road-race, Taste Otago Dunedin Food and Wine Festival, New Zealand Masters Games, New Zealand International Science Festival, Dunedin Fashion Show, Otago Festival of the Arts, Regent Theatre Book Sale, Otago University Students’ Association & Otago Polytechnic Orientation, Rhododendron Week, Capping Week, The German play at Otago University and the Santa Parade.
A prominent attraction in the city of Dunedin is Larnach Castle. Larnach Castle is a huge mansion built on a ridge of Otago Peninsula and is near Pukehiki settlement. Construction began on it in 1873 and was finished in 1887. It was built as the primary residence of New Zealand politician William Larnach. It was designed by R.A Lawson and has forty-three rooms and one ballroom. When it was in operation as Larnach’s residence it required a service staff of forty-six servants. After having several financial setbacks, William Larnach committed suicide in 1898 and soon after the property fell into disrepair. It remained in this state until 1967 when it was bought by Barry Barker and restored. The house is now open to the public. Another popular attraction in Dunedin is the Taieri Gorge Railway. This tourist train was originally a part of the New Zealand Railways Corporation, but was closed down in 1990. It was then taken over by the Otago Excursion Train Trust who converted into a tourist train. It travels along Otago Central Railway to Middlemarch. Travelers can get a beautiful view of the scenery as it traverses the banks of Taieri River and ascending Taieri Gorge to the Strath Taieri. All along its path it goes through a variety of tunnels and viaducts.
Other popular attractions in the city include Hare Hill Horse Treks, Dunedin Botantic Garden, Elm Wildlife Tours, Otago Peninsula, Penguin Place, Catlins, Signal Hill, Back to Nature Tours, Natures Wonders Naturally, Olveston, Speights Brewery, Otago Museum, Otago Settlers Museum, Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Dunedin Railway Station, Cathedral Caves, Royal Albatross Centre, Tunnel Beach, Monarch Wildlife Cruises, Glenfalloch Woodland Gardens, Hocken Library, Guilty By Confection, Cadbury World and Dunedin Beach. The city is also home to numerous fine restaurants and hotels. Restaurants in the city include Glenfalloch Restaurant, The Rainforest Restaurant, High Tide Waterfront Restaurant, Asian Restaurant, Golden Harvest Restaurant, Etrusco At The Savoy and Tokyo Garden Japanese Restaurant. Popular hotels in Dunedin include Mercure Leisure Lodge, Scenic Hotel Southern Cross Hotel, Pacific Park Hotel Dunedin, The Brothers Boutique Hotel, Mercure Hotel Dunedin and Quality Hotel Cargills.