As you may already know from my Instagram posts, I spent last week in Dunedin for iD Fashion Week. The event has been running for the past seventeen years and it’s easy to see why it’s so successful. As New Zealand’s oldest city, Dunedin has such a strong creative community. With New Zealand’s oldest university and local designers like Margi Robertson and Liz Findlay, the city exudes style, cleverness and imagination.
On previous visits to Dunedin with Nick, whose mum is from a town just outside Dunedin, I marvelled at the city’s architecture and steep streets. This week called for a healthy dose of networking and collaboration, two of my favourite activities.
Less touristy than other South Island destinations, Dunedin is often overlooked for the likes of Queenstown, Christchurch and Nelson. But those who venture here will see its striking resemblance to Scotland. After all, Dunedin means Edinburgh in Gaelic.
I was fortunate to spend the week at the Claremont House in Roslyn. This stately private guesthouse was built in 1908. The Edwardian-style house is hard to miss, overlooking the gorgeous city below. Claremont House is all I’ve ever wanted in a B&B and then some. The friendly team welcomed me with open arms, working around my busy schedule and leaving delicious sweets in my room. They also served the most scrumptious organic breakfasts in the elegant dining room every morning. The house itself is perfectly preserved, retaining its original character while feeling comfortably modern. Each room features the comfiest of king and queen-sized beds and an adjacent living room with ample space for lounging and tea-sipping. The Claremont House encompasses luxury and history and I highly recommend booking a stay here on your next trip to Dunedin!
Eat, Drink, Be Merry/
Vanguard Coffee Co.: My absolute favourite café in Dunedin, this place ticks all the boxes. There is ample seating, lots of light, beautiful fauna and florals, and a breakfast menu that runs all day. I sampled the shakshuka (amazing!) and too many flat whites to count. Shout out to the lovely baristas who let us stay late to work (aka take way too many photos!)
Kiki Beware: Visit for the gorgeous interior, but stay for the yummy coffee and inventive menu. The fries here will make you betray your diet. Served with salts and dips of all varieties, you’ll want to go with a friend and share!
Morning Magpie: This place is as eclectic as it is cozy. While I usually prefer minimalist cafes, I couldn’t pass this quirky, haphazard coffee shop. It will remind you of your grandmother’s living room.
Chamber of Coffee: If you’re starting to sense a theme…well, that’s because coffee was in ample supply all weeklong. The Chamber of Coffee also has delightful salads if you’re in need of some greens!
Taste Nature: After a few too many indulgent meals, I was relieved to discover Taste Nature. An organic grocery store that sells everything from kale to kombucha, you’ll be spoiled for choice. If you arrive before 2pm on a weekday, they also have a menu of salads, soups, sandwiches and my personal favourite, green smoothies.
Di Lusso: Easy to miss, this small bar is neatly tucked into Stuart Street, and often overlooked for the more raucous students bars and pubs on this street. For iD, various designers crafted their own cocktails that were served throughout the week.
The Octagon: I’m convinced that every good city has a town square, a place to congregate. In Dunedin, it’s the Octagon. With several cafés, restaurants, bars, galleries and theatres, this is the place to begin your week(end) in Dunedin.
Dunedin Public Art Gallery: Many of the designer presentations were held at the city’s largest art gallery. It’s worth visiting for its extensive collection of local, national and international artwork. Margarita Robertson of NOM*D’s exhibition, 3.33.12. will be running for the next month, so be sure to check that out!
Dunedin Town Hall: Again, many iD events were held at the town hall, but it’s worth visiting even if Fashion Week’s not on your radar.
The Regent Theatre: Located on the lower half of Dunedin’s central Octagon reserve, Regent regularly plays host to live theatre, music, opera, dance, and film. The sign reminds me of the old California theatres.
Dunedin Railway Station: “Gingerbread George,” as it’s affectionately known, the Railway Station connects Dunedin with several South Island destinations. It has also played host to iD Fashion Week for a number of years. Along with being the longest runway in the world, the station provides a unique setting for a spectacular event.
Moeraki Boulders: Though outside Dunedin, you’ll absolutely want to stop by these unusually large, spherical boulders that lie along a stretch of Koekohe Beach. Moeraki Boulders: Though outside Dunedin, you’ll absolutely want to stop by these unusually large, spherical boulders that lie along a stretch of Koekohe Beach. Also, if you’re heading to see the boulders, stop by Fleur’s Place for some of the freshest seafood and best service you’ll ever experience!
Baldwin Street: The steepest street in the world!
Beaches: There are many beaches in Dunedin, so take your pick!
Shopping in Dunedin is surprisingly extensive and very local. Avoid the malls, and meander along George Street. Hit up Slick Willy’s, Belle Bird Boutique, and Plume for unique shops well-stocked with New Zealand designers and beyond. The Ruby shop here also deserves a mention for its fireplace!
Dunedin is such a stunning city filled with so much history! Regardless of how you spend your time here, you really can’t go wrong. I hope you have the chance to visit someday soon!