The journey between Christchurch and Dunedin is long but there is plenty to do en-route. The journey takes about 4 and a half hours but it is longer if you stop on the way. These are my Top 5 things to see between Christchurch and Dunedin.
Timaru is a great stopping off point between Christchurch and Dunedin. We ate in a nice cafe on Stafford Street – the only place open on a bank holiday. One of the points mentioned in the Rough Guide was Timaru Gardens. These botanical gardens are splendidly maintained, with a good few walks around a lake and tree lined hillocks. There are also some roses to be seen during the summer months and Timaru also has an annual rose festival. It is certainly worth stopping in Timaru for these gardens – great for stretching the legs en-route to Dunedin.
The Moeraki Boulders are located about 76km north of Dunedin. These huge spherical stones are located on a stretch of Koekohe Beach near Moeraki on New Zealand’s Otago coast. These large boulders are what are known as septarian concretions exposed through shore-line erosion. They originally formed as ancient sea-floor sediments during the early Paleocene, over 60 million years ago. They are amazing to see and worth visiting – best though if the tide is out!
Accommodation in Dunedin: 315 Euro Hotel, Dunedin
The drive between Christchurch and Dunedin is long so once you arrive in Dunedin, you may need accommodation. The 315 Euro Hotel is a nice hotel located up a laneway, so might be hard to find. The check-in was handled very well and we checked into a studio room which was nice, bright and airy. It included facilities such as hairdryer, tea coffee facilities, and a small kitchen area. There was lots of space in room and it had Sky TV which was nice. Other facilites in the complex included a sitting area just inside the main doors and a laundry (handy when travelling). The only negative is that the curtains in the room could be a bit thicker!
Monarch Wildlife Cruises – Peninsula Cruise
On the drive between Christchurch and Dunedin you will see lots of birds and wildlife. One of the best ways to see of the Otago Peninsula and it’s wildlife is by taking a cruise on the Otago Harbour. We went with Monarch Cruises – located on the wharf just behind the chinese Gardens in Dunedin. This Wildlife Cruise includes the spectacular Taiaroa Head and a scenic Otago Peninsula bus tour. You should also pay the extra few dollars for the guided tour of the award-winning Yellow Eyed Penguin Reserve, Penguin Place. Worth Doing !
Link : http://www.wildlife.co.nz/
Chinese Gardens Dunedin
The Chinese Gardens in Dunedin are of an authentic Chinese design and was built by the Dunedin Chinese Garden Trust has built the Garden and upon its completion, handed over to Dunedin City Council. The Garden is an example of a late Ming, early Ching Dynasty Scholar’s Garden, surrounded by a four metre perimeter wall and features a lake with traditional walkways and stonework. The design of the Chinese Garden was laid out to use authentic Chinese materials and was built by a team of craftsmen from Shanghai. Hand-made wooden buildings, hand-made tiles, lattice-work and hand-finished granite paving stones adorn these authentic exquisite gardens. The Chinese Gardens are open from 10 am to 5 pm, 7 days per week and 7pm to 9pm on Wednesdays.
Link : http://www.dunedinchinesegarden.com/
The Beautiful Timaru Gardens between Christchurch and Dunedin
Hi Shane Thanks for the favourable comments re Monarch Wildlife Cruises. Can I invite you to Like our page on FB https://www.facebook.com/MonarchWildlife/ and maybe leave a comment there also?
The Monarch Wildlife cruise was an amazing trip. Saw seals, lots of albatros, a huge sealion, wading birds and of course the penguins.
Alos – really enjoyed the tea and snack on board… best tea and sausage rolls I’ve tasted!
We also enjoyed meeting Coke the dog at the office before heading off !
New Zealand is always a beautiful scenic country and Christchurch and Dunedin are the top of the list. The image in this post reflects the beauty of the nature of the places. I must visit once there to see them.
Thanks for the comment. The coastline around the Otago peninsula is stunning and worth spending some time around. I hope to post some on Flickr and also on my photoblog at http://www.shanemcdonald.me/.