St Clair Saltwater Pool. © Bryce Edwards Creative Commons

Loved by the locals: Dunedin city

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1. Inch Bar

'Cosy' does not quite do this tiny bar in the North East Valley justice. Let’s be honest, Inch Bar is not for the claustrophobic, but squeeze in here on a Friday night and you’ll enjoy a roaring fire and the raucous company of suburban locals and Dunedin creatives.

There is live music here every weekend and a good selection of craft beer on tap at great prices. The bar doesn’t serve much in the way of food, but there are numerous eating options close at hand in the little North East Valley village.

2. Otago Farmers’ Market

The heart of Dunedin’s Saturday morning is the weekly farmers’ market, held beside the city’s glorious railway station. Even if you’re not in the mood for shopping, it’s an essential stop for a coffee and a crepe and a wander of the stalls to chat with local food producers.

Don’t forget to throw a few dollars in the buskers’ tins — many of Dunedin’s best musicians come down here to play.

The market is not just about stocking up on groceries; it’s a vital social hub for the Dunedin community and one of the most energetic farmers’ markets in the country. 

From here, stroll up Lower Stuart Street to the Octagon for a wander around the Dunedin Public Art Gallery.

3. The St Clair Saltwater Pool

This much-loved institution is frequented by locals who love immersing themselves in its heated waters, so close the pounding waves of St Clair Beach.

You really feel close to nature here, without the sting of Dunedin’s sub-10 degree water to contend with.

Even the wildlife loves the pool — recently a young sea lion found its way in and started swimming lengths, to the delight of national media.

Finish off your afternoon dip with an ice-cream and a stroll around to nearby Second Beach, or find a seat on the Esplanade and watch the surfers tackling the waves off St Clair Beach.

4. Scotia, Plato and Eureka!

Dunedin’s dining options are many and varied, and these are three of the many good restaurants in the city. Scotia offers exquisite fine dining but its star attraction is the teetering wall of whiskey bottles in the upstairs bar. Some of these single malts have to be sampled to be believed, but watch out for the price tag!

Further afield, Plato, hidden from sight in the city’s wharf district, has wonderful food and is a long time local favourite.

For pub food of a very high standard and a fantastic range of beers, you can’t beat Eureka! on Albany Street, a favourite hangout for academics from the nearby university.

5. Dog With Two Tails

This characterful café/bar on Moray Place has in the last year become a humming local spot and was recently awarded New Zealand Café of the Year. The Dog covers all bases with great coffee, food, beer and live music all through the week.

There is always something on here, be it poetry nights, open mic nights, swing dancing or jazz groups. If there’s one spot everyone in Dunedin can agree on, this is it. An ideal place for a late-night coffee and slice of cheesecake.

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