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Dunedin (South Island)

We recently visited Dunedin on our travels. It is a lively attractive town in summer, but not sure about the winter climate, a bit Scottish weather wise

Otago university is based here creating a young (population wise) vibrant town. Of the city's 123000 population, 20% are students. The uni. is highly rated and seems to be the preferred choice of our friends children.

See Also: Day 16 – Oamaru to Dunedin

European settlement (wikipedia)

Lieutenant James Cook stood off what is now the coast of Dunedin between February 25, 1770 and March 5, 1770, naming Cape Saunders on the Otago Peninsula and Saddle Hill. He reported penguins and seals in the vicinity, which led sealers to visit from the beginning of the 19th century. The early years of sealing saw a feud between sealers and local Maori, from 1810–1823, the “Sealers' War” sparked by an incident on Otago Harbour, but William Tucker became the first European to settle in the area in 1815. Permanent European occupation dates from 1831 when the Weller brothers founded their whaling station at Otago, modern Otakou, on the Otago Harbour. Epidemics badly reduced the Maori population. By the late 1830s, the harbour was an international whaling port. Johnny Jones established a farming settlement and a mission station, the South Island's first, at Waikouaiti in 1840.

In 1844, the Deborah, captained by Thomas Wing and carrying, among others his wife Lucy and a representative of the New Zealand Company, Frederick Tuckett, came south to determine the location of a free church settlement. After inspecting several areas around the eastern coast of the south island, Tuckett selected the site which would become known as Dunedin.

The Lay Association of the Free Church of Scotland founded Dunedin at the head of Otago Harbour in 1848 as the principal town of its special settlement. The name comes from Dùn Èideann, the Scottish Gaelic name for Edinburgh, the Scottish capital. Charles Kettle the city's surveyor, instructed to emulate the characteristics of Edinburgh, produced a striking, 'Romantic' design. The result was both grand and quirky streets as the builders struggled and sometimes failed to construct his bold vision across the challenging landscape. Captain William Cargill, a veteran of the war against Napoleon, was the secular leader. The Reverend Thomas Burns, a nephew of the poet Robert Burns, was the spiritual guide.

Dunedin Railway Station

Dunedin Map

As can be seen from the map below, Dunedin sits in one hell of a harbour. Its quite a sight watching the cruise ships negotiate the channel.

Gold rush era

In 1852, Dunedin became the capital of the Otago Province, the whole of New Zealand from the Waitaki south. In 1861 the discovery of gold at Gabriel's Gully, to the southwest, led to a rapid influx of population and saw Dunedin become New Zealand's first city by growth of population in 1865. The new arrivals included many Irish, but also Italians, French, Germans, Jews and Chinese.

Dunedin and the region industrialized and consolidated and the Main South Line connected the city with Christchurch in 1878 and Invercargill in 1879. The University of Otago, the oldest university in New Zealand, was founded in Dunedin in 1869.[23] Otago Girls' High School was founded in 1871. Between 1881 and 1957, Dunedin was home to cable trams, being both one of the first and last such systems in the world. Early in the 1880s the inauguration of the frozen meat industry, with the first shipment leaving from Port Chalmers in 1882, saw the beginning of a later great national industry.

After ten years of gold rushes the economy slowed but Julius Vogel's immigration and development scheme brought thousands more especially to Dunedin and Otago before recession set in again in the 1880s. In these first times of prosperity many institutions and businesses were established, New Zealand's first daily newspaper, art school, medical school and public art gallery the Dunedin Public Art Gallery among them. There was also a remarkable architectural flowering producing many substantial and ornamental buildings. R.A. Lawson's First Church of Otago and Knox Church are notable examples, as are buildings by Maxwell Bury and F.W. Petre. The other visual arts also flourished under the leadership of W. M. Hodgkins. The city's landscape and burgeoning townscape were vividly portrayed by George O'Brien 1821–1888. From the mid 1890s the economy revived. Institutions such as the Otago Settlers Museum and the Hocken Collections – the first of their kind in New Zealand – were founded. More notable buildings such as the Railway Station and Olveston were erected. New energy in the visual arts represented by G.P. Nerli culminated in the career of Frances Hodgkins.

Inner city

The heart of the city lies on the relatively flat land to the west of the head of the Otago Harbour. Here is The Octagon – once a gully, filled in the mid nineteenth century to create the present plaza. The initial settlement of the city took place to the south on the other side of Bell Hill, a large outcrop which had to be reduced in order to provide easy access between the two parts of the settlement. The central city stretches away from this point in a largely northeast-southwest direction, with the main streets of George Street and Princes Street meeting at The Octagon. Here they are joined by Stuart Street, which runs orthogonal to them, from the Dunedin Railway Station in the southeast, and steeply up to the suburb of Roslyn in the northwest. Many of city's notable old buildings are located in the southern part of this area and on the inner ring of lower hills which surround the central city (most of these hills, such as Maori Hill, Pine Hill, and Maryhill, rise to some 200 metres (660 ft) above the plain).

Dunedin is home to Baldwin Street, which, according to the Guinness Book of Records, is the steepest street in the world. Its gradient is 1 in 2.9.[33] The long since abandoned Maryhill Cablecar route had a similar gradient close to its Mornington depot.

Beyond the inner range of hills lie Dunedin's outer suburbs, notably to the northwest, beyond Roslyn. This direction contains Taieri Road and Three Mile Hill, which between them formed the original road route to the Taieri Plains. The modern State Highway 1 follows a different route, passing through Caversham in the west and out past Saddle Hill. Lying between Saddle Hill and Caversham are the outer suburbs of Green Island and Abbotsford. Between Green Island and Roslyn lies the steep-sided valley of the Kaikorai Stream, which is today a residential and light industrial area. Suburban settlements – mostly regarded as separate townships – also lie along both edges of the Otago Harbour. Notable among these are Portobello and Macandrew Bay, on the Otago Peninsula coast, and Port Chalmers on the opposite side of the harbour. Port Chalmers provides Dunedin's main deep-water port, including the city's container port.

The Dunedin skyline is dominated by a ring of (traditionally seven) hills which form the remnants of a volcanic crater. Notable among them are Mount Cargill (700 m/2,300 ft), Flagstaff (680 m/2,230 ft), Saddle Hill (480 m/1,570 ft), Signal Hill (390 m/1,280 ft), and Harbour Cone (320 m/1,050 ft).

Hinterland

The hinterland within Dunedin city encompasses a variety of different landforms. To the southwest lie the Taieri Plains, the broad, fertile lowland floodplains of the Taieri River and its major tributary the Waipori. These are moderately heavily settled, and contain the towns of Mosgiel, East Taieri, and Allanton. They are separated from the coast by a range of low hills rising to some 300 metres (980 ft). Inland from the Taieri Plain is rough hill country. Close to the plain, much of this is forested, notably around Berwick and Lake Mahinerangi, and also around the Silverpeaks Range which lies northwest of the Dunedin urban area. Beyond this, the land becomes drier and opens out into grass and tussock-covered land. A high, broad valley, the Strath-Taieri lies in Dunedin's far northwest, containing the town of Middlemarch, one of the area's few concentrations of population.

To the north of the city's urban area is undulating hill country containing several small, mainly coastal, settlements, including Waitati, Warrington, Seacliff and Waikouaiti. State Highway 1 winds steeply through a series of hills here, notably the The Kilmog. These hills can be considered a coastal extension of the Silverpeaks Range.

To the east, Dunedin City includes the entirety of the Otago Peninsula, a long finger of land that formed the southeastern rim of the Dunedin Volcano.[34] The peninsula is lightly settled, almost entirely along the harbour coast, and much of it is maintained as a natural habitat by the Otago Peninsula Trust. The peninsula contains several fine beaches, and is home to a considerable number of rare species, such as penguins, seals, and shags. Most importantly, it contains the world's only mainland breeding colony of Royal Albatross, at Taiaroa Head on the peninsula's northeastern point.

Climate

The climate of Dunedin in general is temperate, however the city is recognised as having a large number of microclimates and the weather conditions often vary between suburbs mostly due to the city's topographical layout. It is also greatly modified by its proximity to the ocean. This leads to warm summers and cool winters. Winter can be frosty, but significant snowfall is uncommon (perhaps every two or three years), except in the inland hill suburbs such as Halfway Bush and Wakari, which tend to receive a few days of snowfall each year. Spring can feature “four seasons in a day” weather, but from November to April it is generally settled and mild. Temperatures during summer can reach 30 °C (86 °F), but temperatures in the high 20s are rare.

Dunedin has relatively low rainfall in comparison to many of New Zealand's cities, with only some 750 millimetres (30 in) recorded per year. Despite this fact it is regarded by many as a damp city, probably due to its rainfall occurring in drizzle over a larger number of days (northern centres such as Auckland and Wellington receive more rain overall through heavy downpours on relatively fewer days). Dunedin is one of the cloudiest centres in the country, recording approximately 1650 hours of bright sunshine per annum [36] Prevailing winds in the city come from two directions, with cool, damp southwesterlies tending to alternate with northeasterlies. Warmer, dry northwest winds are also characteristic Foehn winds from the northwest. The circle of hills surrounding the inner city shelters the inner city from much of Otago's prevailing weather, often resulting in the main urban area having completely different weather conditions to the rest of Otago.

Inland, beyond the heart of the city, the climate is sub-continental: winters are quite cold and dry, summers hot and dry. Thick freezing ground fogs are common in winter in the upper reaches of the Taieri River's course around Middlemarch, and in summer the temperature frequently reaches into the mid-30s Celsius.

See Also: Day 16 – Oamaru to Dunedin

Dunedin Website

Dunedin House Prices

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