Dunedin provides the usual range of lodgings, from backpacker hostels to motels to fine hotels. But what I love most about the area is its fine choice of heritage homestays and B&Bs, many of which are in exquisite Victorian-style buildings. At certain times of the year, midrange options are heavily booked because of university activities, so make your reservations early. Rates given below include the 15% GST and free off-street parking.
If you’re looking for a smart motel close to town, Motel on York, 47 York Place (www.motelonyork.co.nz; tel. 0800/006-666 in NZ, or 03/477-6120), should do the trick. Just two streets off The Octagon, its 24 nonsmoking units offer all the comforts of a good little boutique hotel for NZ$155 to NZ$255. You’ll also find very reasonably priced, modern apartments in the heart of the city at Quest Dunedin, 333 Cumberland St. (www.questdunedin.co.nz; tel. 0800/470--1725 in NZ, or 03/470-1725), where 42 apartments go for NZ$135 to NZ$265. Check the website for special online deals and note that it’s located on a north-running one-way street.
There are modest B&B digs at Tower House, 9 City Rd., Roslyn (www.thetowerhouse.co.nz; tel. 03/477-5678), where the price is from NZ$110 to NZ$150. Backpackers, meanwhile, will be well taken care of at Manor House Backpackers, 28 Manor Place (www.manorhousebackpackers.co.nz; tel. 0800/477-0484 in NZ, or 03/477-0484), where dorm beds go for NZ$30 per person. There are also excellent, new, budget accommodations at Living Space, 192 Castle St., Dunedin (www.livingspace.net; tel. 0508/454-846 in NZ, or 03/951-5000), which offers the nicest budget rooms in the city. Hotel rooms are NZ$99 to NZ$109; studios NZ$109 to NZ$129; and premiums NZ$144 to NZ$155. Another well-priced central city stay at George Street Hotel, 526 George St., Dunedin (www.hotel526.co.nz; tel. 0800/779-779 in NZ, or 03/477-1261), which offers 14 very tidy rooms in a beautiful old home, formerly a surgeon’s residence, for NZ$120 to NZ$190.
At St. Clair Beach
There are very stylish bed-and-breakfast lodgings at the classic 1900s villa, Hazel House, 50 Hazel Ave, Hazelhurst (www.hazelhouse.co.nz; tel. 03/487-6550), which is a short drive from St. Clair Beach. Brent and Sandy Ward have two rooms in their beautifully restored home for NZ$165 to NZ$175.
On Otago Peninsula
There are certainly enough things to see on the peninsula to justify an overnight stay. At ecofriendly Nisbet Cottage, 6A Elliffe Place, Shiel Hill (www.natureguidesotago.co.nz; tel. 03/454-5169), hosts and nature guides Ralf and Hildegard Lubcke can advise you on the area’s natural history and unique bird life. They specialize in nature-based accommodations packages that enlighten visitors to conservation issues and practices, in which you tie up 2 or more nights’ stay with guided wildlife tours of Dunedin, Otago Peninsula, and the Catlins. There are two lovely suites with en-suite bathrooms and stunning views over Dunedin Harbor. Two-night tour packages start around NZ$645 and include breakfast, tour, and picnic lunch. Their Sunrise Penguin Walk is a great experience but you need to be fit for the 4-hour tour, which sees you climbing giant, steep, sand dunes and walking the length of a beach at dawn.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.