Dunedin, named as a Gaelic translation of Edinburgh (Dun-Edin), is a small university city on the eastern coast of the Otago district of New Zealand's South Island. Despite having a population of only about 125,000, it's the second largest city on the South Island, and both historically and geographically, one of the important centres of population in the country.
The area was settled by the Maori in the 14th century, while the European settlement dates to the beginning of 19th century, when sealing and whaling were the main activity. The town of Dunedin was founded in 1848 as a special settlement of the Free Church of Scotland (a breakaway branch of the Scottish Kirk dating to 1843). The town was designed specifically to resemble Edinburgh down-under and the result is still both enchanting and grand. Dunedin's population exploded when gold was found in Central Otago soon after the city was established, and it became New Zealand's largest city and a location of the country's first university, daily newspaper, art school and more. Although long overtaken in size and importance by cities further north, Dunedin is still a major cultural and academic centre, and in the 1990's it has position itself as a heritage location and a tourism centre.
The modern city (if a place that small can be referred to thus) is a pleasant and interesting place to spend a few days, and if used as a base to explore the wider area, it can easily occupy at least two weeks' period.
Dunedin, as befits its name and origins, is rather Scottish in feel, though the architecture is in fact mostly 19th century Neo-classical, with very Italianate and even Flemish (the train station) touches. It is also very young & studenty, with over 20 thousand students in the total of 120 thousand population. There are many bars, cafes, off-beat shops and several take aways of every corner. The city centre, focusing on the plaza of the Octagon, is easily negotiable on foot and all town attractions can be walked to. The most notable include:
== Otago Museum (a great regional museum with good displays on the geology of the island, Maori artefacts and kids' attraction of the Discovery World);
== Otago Settlers Museum, with an emigration theme;
== Dunedin Public Art Gallery;
== Cadbury's world;
== the world's steepest street (Baldwin Street);
== Dunedin Railway Station (the terminus for Taieri Gorge Railway);
== Dunedin Chinese Garden;
== Botanical Gardens.
Within half an hour drive from Dunedin are unspoilt beaches and the rural and wildlife idyll of the Otago Peninsula.