The North Coast into Dunedin

January 11, 2020
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CARRYING ON from last week, I turned right at Palmerston and down the coast road to Dunedin.

The coast north of Dunedin’s a really attractive area, with lots of beaches.

Looking out to sea from Matanaka Farm

Waikouaiti Beach, Karitane Headland and Karitane Beach, looking north from Seacliff

The coast north of Dunedin. Background imagery ©2019 CNES/Airbus, Landsat/Copernicus, Maxar Technologies, Map data ©2020 Google.

At Palmerston, I stopped to take a picture of the historic St James’s Presbyterian Church, built all the way back in 1876, and the adjacent Clark Sunday School Hall. Pretty impressive for a small town! Otago’s like that.

At the little town of Waikouaiti, which sports a nature reserve, I turned left to go to Matanaka Farm. This is thought to be the oldest surviving commercial farm in New Zealand, dating back to 1838. The buildings were erected in the earliest days of the farm and are really historic by New Zealand standards.

Matanaka Farm Buildings

I had a beach to myself down the hill. Here’s a quaint little guesthouse which I came to on the Coast Road, just before Seacliff, as well.

The best place to park when you make it to Dunedin is in the industrial area east of the the railway station. And then you can walk to the city by way of the overbridge over the railway lines.

The industrial area east of ‘Dunedin Railways’, Thomas Burns St and St Andrew St is the best place to park. Map data ©2020 Google.

Railway station overbridge looking west

I walked around the middle of the city, which I never get tired of visiting, and went inside the Presbyterian First Kirk of Otago, which was in scaffolding when my father and editor visited Dunedin and took photos before.

The First Kirk

Inside the First Kirk

I checked out the nearby St Paul's Anglican Cathedral as well:

St Paul's Cathedral, Dunedin

Inside St Paul's Cathedral

A tendency to invest in gobsmacking architecture really is a feature of this part of New Zealand.

Map data ©2020 Google

I went to St Clair beach south of Dunedin for a while, and then to the Art Gallery, which I could get into for free. They had an exibition of the paintings of Frances Hodgkins, a noted New Zealand artists of the early 20th century. Hodgkins was famous for her later cubist works, but I liked her earlier, more naturalistic paintings better.

More exciting, perhaps, was the Warrior Museum. This is full of really lifelike and expressive statues of warriors from around the world. I don’t know whose idea this was, I suspect it’s some kind of spinoff from the whole Lord of the Rings thing.

They didn’t have any Vikings or Scotsmen if I recall correctly, but I suppose they’re coming.

While I was there I also attended an exhibition about the Polish connection with Dunedin. The highest mountain in Australia, Mount Kosciuszko, is named after a famous Polish freedom fighter of the late 1700s, and there are connections in Otago as well. While I was there, the grave of a Polish prince, Alois Konstantin Drucki-Lubecki, who died in Dunedin in 1864, was being restored and consecrated. There’s a Facebook group called PolesDownSouth.

In my next post, I’ll talk about the great Dunedin Town Belt and its highlight, Olveston House. And the connection between Olveston House, Frances Hodgkins and Dunedin’s early social reformers.

My first book, A Maverick Traveller, is perma-free on my front page,, as a PDF and epub. If you liked the post above, check out my new book about the South Island! It's available for purchase from this website, as well.


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