Dunedin and Travel

We are so sorry that you won’t be joining us in sunny Dunedin! Please do visit us some time…


Getting to Dunedin

Secluded at the bottom of the world, Dunedin can be tricky to get to (depending on where you’re travelling from). Few international destinations will fly direct to Dunedin, but most carriers will get your to Dunedin via Auckland International airport, or a major Australian port (such as Sydney or Melbourne).

The main things to keep in mind when planning your trip to Dunedin are:

  • Leaving enough travel time – depending on your point of origin, most trips will involve a stop or two, and will probably take several hours or even a couple of days to arrive. So, it is important to factor enough travel time into your trip.
  • Many of our attendees will be coming from the other side of the world! This means fairly significant timezone changes over the course of your travel – don’t forget to consider this when planning your trip… you may be arriving a day later, or earlier, than you left!
  • Do you need a visa to visit New Zealand? New Zealand, Australian and UK citizens are exempt from getting a visa to travel to New Zealand (and some other countries that have visa waiver agreements), but most other travellers will need a visitor visa. Make sure to check the entry requirements before booking your trip; better yet, discuss your trip with a travel agent and make sure to ask about visa requirements!
  • New Zealand has very strict biosecurity regulations, and you will have to be careful about what you bring into the country. Food such as fruit, nuts, and seeds, are usually forbidden, and you will be required to dispose of (or pay fines) if you are caught by border security bringing any restricted items into the country. So think twice before packing that apple as a travel snack!

If in doubt about any aspect of travelling to New Zealand, please consult with a travel agent to discuss your trip.

Please consider carbon offsets for your travel, see e.g Myclimate, FlyGreen, or this guide.

Dunedin City

Dunedin City – photo by Phillip Capper [CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]

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Getting to the city from the airport

The Dunedin airport is approximately 30 minutes’ drive from the City Centre. There are several options to get to the city, such as shuttles, Uber, taxis or car rental. Shared shuttles are the cheapest option available, and these can be booked in advance online (although there is almost always a shuttle waiting if you forgot to book!).

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Conference venue

ICER2020 will be held in at conference rooms in The Dunedin Centre (part of the Town Hall), situated in the Octagon (centre of the CBD). Detailed maps will be available closer to the time.

Dunedin Town Hall

Dunedin Town Hall – photo by Mattinbgn [CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]


Dunedin is not a large city, and most amenities are within walking distance, particularly in the CBD area. Most accommodation options will be acceptable for your trip to ICER2020. Dunedin is home to several very nice hotels, but also a number of more boutique accommodation options… a quick Google will present you many options. Anything situated along the main street (George Street) is very accessible to the conference venue; anything further afield may require a little extra walking time (or some sort of public transport involved). There are also many AirBnb options in Dunedin.

The only thing to be wary of is the hills – Dunedin CBD essentially runs North to South along the main road George Street. Anything to the West of George Street is generally pretty hilly, so bear that in mind when considering accommodation options.

Here is a brief rundown of Dunedin suburbs, to help you when looking at accommodation options.


Dunedin Central

The main CBD and location of the conference venue. Accommodation around here will be extremely close to the conference venue, but is also likely to be pricier (most major hotels are in this vicinity).

Dunedin North

Several smaller accommodation options (motels and B&Bs) available, and will require a brief walk (15-20 minutes) to the conference venue, depending on how far away you book.

North East Valley

Getting a little far away now, and fewer accommodation options. Possibly AirBnb available. Expect a 30-45 minute walk, or catch a bus, to get to the conference venue.

Mornington, Belleknowes, Roslyn, Maori Hill

The hilly suburbs! Nice areas, some nice boutique accommodation in these areas – just be wary of the hills. Still walkable (especially going down to the conference), but bear in mind that return journey up the hill!

St. Kilda and St. Clair

The beach areas! Pretty far from venue, though, so taking some sort of transport is pretty necessary (bus, Uber, etc…) Plan accordingly.

Anything else

Anything else is almost guaranteed to require some sort of transport to and from the conference venue. But, remember, this is still a fairly small city – transport will be usually be only about 10 or 15 minutes to/from most places by car (30 minutes and you’re back at the airport!) So if something catches your eye out in Anderson’s Bay or Wakari, and you don’t mind a brief commute in the morning, these are still viable accommodation options!

Some accommodation options:

The Distinction (www.distinctionhotelsdunedin.co.nz/ICER2020) is offering a special rate for ICER attendees. They currently have about 30 rooms available for this time period.




Dunedin weather

The conference will be during Dunedin’s winter – which means plenty of rain and cold winds! There is also always a slight chance of snow at this time of year. We recommend packing plenty of warm clothes – layers, and especially thermal undergarments, are the best bet. Of course, Dunedin weather is also very changeable, and it is not unusual to experience four seasons in one day… plan your outfits accordingly!

Things to do

In the city (walking distance):

Dunedin Railway Station

Dunedin Railway Station – photo by Bulach [CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

Dunedin is a city rich with heritage, and there are many things to see and do in and around the city. Dunedin is also close to many other South Island attractions, and as such you may like to plan some extra time onto your trip to travel around and see what New Zealand has to offer!

As mentioned, the conference venue is the The Dunedin Centre (in the Town Hall), located in the Octagon. Also in the Octagon (right next to the Town Hall, actually) is the beautiful St. Paul’s Cathedral, which is worth a look. There are a number of fashionable eateries in the Octagon, and this is also the hub of Dunedin’s nightlife (expect to see many students frequenting the bars and clubs over the weekend!) 

Just down the road from the Octagon is the iconic Dunedin Railway Station, which exhibits some of the Gothic architecture Dunedin is famous for. This is also where the Dunedin Farmers market takes place every Saturday morning, which a huge selection of local produce, hot food and coffee and a busker or two (highly recommended if you’re in town – get there early!)

Otago University is a must-see – as one of the things Dunedin is renowned for, Otago University is a prestigious research university, and features more examples of that beautiful Gothic architecture (you can’t visit Dunedin and not snap a pic of the Clocktower!) The Water of Leith river also flows through the campus, completing the picturesque surroundings.

Otago University Clocktower Building

Otago University Clocktower Building – photo by JeBeDu. [CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)]

The offerings for the heritage and history buffs are also plentiful. There is the Otago Museum, located right next to Otago University (incidentally, this is where the conference dinner is being held!) There are many exhibits to browse freely, and visitors can also experience the Planetarium shows, or the tropical Butterfly Exhibit for a small fee (Dunedin in the winter – the butterfly enclosure is the perfect escape!) There is also the Toitu Otago Settlers Museum, located near the Railway Station, offering an in-depth look at the history of the area, particularly the settling of Dunedin. Olveston is a historic house functioning as a mini-museum, offering an authentic and unique look into one of Dunedin’s most distinguished homes.

No trip to Dunedin is complete without a visit to Baldwin Street – The World’s Steepest Street! (just ignore that recent business regarding Wales!) Walk, run or drive up the street (it doesn’t matter which, they’re all a challenge…) for a unique picture opportunity.

Walking around the city is fun too! There are also dozens of exquisite buildings around the Dunedin City, as much of the original architecture from the time of the early settlers has been preserved. Take a trip to the growing Warehouse Precinct on Vogel Street, sporting some local favourite eateries (Vogel Street Kitchen and Good Good Burger), boutique shops, and some examples of stunning Dunedin street art.

For the beer sommeliers amongst the attendees, Dunedin is home to the Speight’s and Emerson’s breweries – Speight’s is the classic Otago institution (“The Pride of the South!”), while Emerson’s has emerged more recently as an excellent purveyor of craft beers – both well worth a visit.

Speight’s Brewery

Speight’s Brewery – photo by Travis Wiens [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]

In the surrounding area:

A little further afield are some truly spectacular attractions and experiences… you’ll likely need some sort of transport, like a taxi or Uber, to reach these places (there are also a number of tours that visit these sites).

Larnach Castle is one of Dunedin’s premier tourist attractions. The Castle and grounds have been lovingly restored over the years, and are truly a sight to behold! Note, there is a fee for visiting the Castle or walking the grounds, so plan accordingly.

Taking a drive along the Peninsula will offer beautiful views of the city, and will eventually lead attendees to the Royal Albatross Centre. There are wildlife reserves and cruises aplenty down this end – albatrosses, sea lions, and penguins are all on offer (although you may want to check some sites for info on what is likely to be seen at the time of year you are visiting). For the more adventurous outdoorsy types, Sandfly Bay is home to wild sea lions – right on the beach! Stay back a safe distance, and you can snap some truly unique pictures for the folks back home! There is a small hike over the sand dunes needed, but not too demanding, and well worth the effort…

Dunedin Sea Lion

Dunedin Sea Lion – photo by Tomas Sobek on Unsplash


Out of the city:

If you have never been to the South Island before, it is highly recommended that you stay a few extra days if possible. There are a number of nearby places that make for excellent day trips!

About an hour North of Dunedin are the Moeraki Boulders. These giant, spherical stones are fascinating to behold, and is a popular tourist destination. Maybe stop for a meal at Fleur’s Place while you’re out this way, and sample some of the delectable local seafood.

Moeraki Boulders

Moeraki Boulders – photo by Daniel Lienert on Unsplash

Queenstown is a 4-5 hour drive West of Dunedin. Queenstown is home to all manner of adventure sports and activities, from skiing to jet boating to Bungy Jumping! It also offers some of New Zealand’s most beautiful scenery, replete with snow-capped mountain ranges, crystal clear lakes, and dense bush (a lot of major motion pictures are filmed here because of the pristine natural landscape).

Central Otago is also worth a visit, notably areas such as Naseby and St Bathans which sport old world charm with their authentic 1900s buildings and gold mining history (the infamous Vulcan Hotel dates back to 1882, and is supposedly haunted!).

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