Dunedin with kids: fun things to do

Kids and adults alike will love this compact, historic city.

Two children with bikes at a park bench overlooking the harbour, waving at a boat. Image credit: Dunedin NZ
  • Jetstar
  • June 2022

If you’re thinking of a family holiday in New Zealand, Dunedin is a ripper of a town. Firstly, it’s got New Zealand’s only castle. And, it has Baldwin Street, the steepest street in the world. Plus, it has interactive museums, heaps of bike paths, lots of wildlife and some beautiful beaches right on its doorstep. So, pretty much something for everyone.

Go swimming at St Clair

Swim, surf or or take a dip in the hot saltwater pool at St Clair, a beautiful beachside spot just 15 minutes from the city centre. Heated to 28C, the pool sits right on the beachfront and has sensational ocean views. And there’s a kiddie pool for little ones. Stroll the cafe-lined esplanade afterwards to find the best post-swim treats.

Aerial shot of hot water pool with toddler pool looking out onto the Pacific Ocean, St Clair Hot Saltwater Pool. Image credit: Dunedin NZ
Too nippy out there? Opt for the heated saltwater pool. Image credit: Dunedin NZ

Cycle the city

Dunedin is pretty flat, compact and easy to navigate, so it’s ideal for biking around, and there are plenty of dedicated biking trails. Hire some bikes and ride around the city, the harbour, or even out to St Clair. For a bigger adventure, hit the Otago Central Rail Trail. The popular trail starts in Middlemarch, about an hour from Dunedin, and goes through some amazing landscapes and villages. It’s great for a daytrip or multi-day ride.

A child on a bike on the Otago Central Rail Trail. Image credit: Dunedin NZ
Have a two-wheeling holiday in Dunedin and surrounds. Image credit: Dunedin NZ

Time travel at the Toitū Otago Settlers Museum

Dive into Dunedin’s epic history, from early Māori stories to the present day, at the Toitu Otago Settlers Museum. Time travel through the city’s love of automotives, its creative and music scenes, its fashion and its inventions. There are plenty of hands-on interactive activities, and entry is free.

Two children use an interactive screen in a room of portraits at the Toitū Otago Settlers Museum, Dunedin, New Zealand. Image credit: Dunedin NZ
Check out the interactive experiences at the museum. Image credit: Dunedin NZ

Explore the Botanic Garden

The Dunedin Botanic Garden is home to thousands of different plants (including the famously stinky Corpse Flower – dare the kids) and lots of local birdlife. Kids can walk up an extinct volcano, get quacky with the resident ducks, hit the playground or tackle the Children’s Play Trail.

A close-up of ducks on a pond, Dunedin Botanic Gardens. Image credit: Dunedin NZ
Duck into the Garden. Image credit: Dunedin NZ

Waddle over to Penguin Place

Take the kids on a tour at Penguin Place, a conservation reserve for the endangered yellow-eyed penguin. You’ll take a guided walk to look out for penguins, fur seals and other native critters, and may even get to see penguins in care at the rehab centre.

A yellow-eyed penguin outside a man-made nest, and another inside, at Penguin Place. Image credit: Dunedin NZ
With a bit of luck, you’ll spot the rare yellow-eyed penguin. Image credit: Dunedin NZ