I am the biggest preacher of saying “explore your own backyard” but not actually doing it, so when I had the chance to visit Dunedin for the annual iD Fashion Week – I jumped at the chance. Don’t worry this blog is not going to be about my love of fashion – but about all the iconic spots that make this place a #dunnerstunner.
Yes the airport seems ages away from the city, but compared to the stop start traffic getting to Auckland Airport, this is nothing – and travelling in a vintage Daimler is not too shabby. Our first stop was to the Barker family’s home for the past fifty years - Larnach Castle. The passion the Barkers have given to this estate is inspiring - from lovingly restoring the castle and creating beautiful gardens….and to beat Australia in having a castle is just choice!
We then headed to the Otago Peninsula to tick off something on my bucket list. Heading out on the old fishing vessel – the Monarch; we had Neil as our spotter. Finding the little blue penguins and seals under a clear blue sky was spectacular. Then we saw them….the Majestic Royal Albatross; these stunning birds are like Ritchie McCaw in a glider – the way they gracefully almost touch the crystal waters of the sea is awe-inspiring.
If you are in Dunedin for a rugby game, cricket test or concert you will have a great time at the Forsyth Barr Stadium. As the world’s only permanently covered stadium, with a natural turf – this Dunedin icon is a world class facility. However……the highlighted for me was discovering the food trucks at the Stadium for a tasty bacon butty and a Southern delicacy the mighty cheese roll. They are to die for! What do you think is their secret recipe?
The next day was all about the history and culture of Dunedin – from the Sottish arriving to the gold mining and now the development of this University City into a town leading the world in technology and innovation. We started at Otago Museum for a history lesson before exploring the tropical forest and the beauty of the butterflies who call this place home. We then headed to the stars in the 360degree Planetarium theatre; which was ideal timing due to the inaugural Aurora hunters flight to see the Southern Lights taking place that evening. Our final visit was to the “Current” exhibition where nine creatives inspired by the museum textiles where on display. It was then off to the Toitu Otago Settlers Museum, where we spent time exploring the history of Otago and finishing with “Slice of Life” - The World Famous Dunedin Study.
After lunch and a strong coffee we meet up with Athol who had us wandering the streets in the revitalised Warehouse Precinct. This area has been redeveloped with innovative businesses, fabulous restaurants, quirky shops and apartment style living taking over many repurposed heritage buildings.
This evening was focused around iD Fashion Week where emerging designers take to the catwalk with leading designers from New Zealand. Taking place on Dunedin Railway Station’s main platform the show even has a place in the record books with the one of the world’s longest catwalks at 120 metres. Prior to use being fashionistas we were privileged to have dinner at the Dunedin Chinese Garden. This authentic Chinese Garden was created with talent and from Dunedin's sister city of Shanghai. Reflecting in the tranquil surroundings made me appreciate the opportunity to visit this stunning venue. Dinner for our small group was in the tea house where our friend Liz created a decadent Chinese inspired meal from dumpling soup to duck and pork.
After dinner it was a short walk to the station for the fun evening of us being fashion police. I must of loved the show a lot – I even ended up buying an outfit straight off the catwalk for an upcoming event – yep….I love fashion!
I loved this weekend away in Dunedin. It reminded me of how much I do not explore our own backyard and how much more I need to explore. Special thanks to Enterprise Dunedin for hosting us.