Dunedin Railway Station. © DunedinNZ

Tohu Whenua: Dunedin Railway Station


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Dunedin’s city centre has heritage buildings at almost every turn, and the grandest of them all is the Dunedin Railway Station. 

Dating back to 1906, it’s an architectural masterpiece. Built in an eclectic, revived Flemish renaissance style, the station features an ensemble of arches, pillars, copper-domed cupolas and an ornate clock tower that can be seen from most parts of the inner city. The combination of black basalt rock and creamy white Ōamaru limestone give the station its characteristic ‘Gingerbread House’ appearance. No wonder it’s touted to be New Zealand’s most photographed building!

The interior is just as lavishly decorated. The grand booking hall features a mosaic floor of almost 750,000 Minton tiles and a frieze of Royal Doulton porcelain runs around the balcony above it.

It’s fun to spot the many ways in which trains are depicted, the most impressive of which are the vibrant stained glass windows featuring a locomotive. Even the public toilets are decorated.

In its early days the Dunedin Railway Station was the country's busiest, handling up to 100 trains a day. These days the station’s most lively day is on a Saturday morning, when the carpark and platform transform into the Otago Farmers Market. It’s a great place to mingle with locals and stock up on locally-produced treats including cheeses, pastries and fresh produce, with buskers adding to the festive feel.

The Dunedin Railway Station is recognised as a Tohu Whenua, one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s most treasured heritage places. 

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