DUNEDIN (Port Chalmers)
The south-easterly coast of New Zealand's wild southern island is a haven for outdoor adventures, with masses of raw scenic beauty and thrilling coastline. Heading the Otago Harbour, Dunedin is a cosmopolitan city of culture and architectural splendour, with a distinctly tartan flare. Settled by the Scots in 1848, the romantically misty valleys and moody landscapes, continue to capture the hearts of visitors to these distant shores.
Searing bagpipes echo down the streets in the Edinburgh of the South, which wears its Scottish origins proudly. Gothic revival architecture is scattered liberally, including the magnificent university - with its glorious clocktower - and the city's grand cathedral. Head to the elegant Octagon to see the statue to Robert Burns, whose nephew was a city founder. The railway station is perhaps the pick of this city's many artistic structures. Its glowing gardens and pretty mosaics add extra detail to the elegant, gingerbread building. It's also the perfect jumping-off point for romantic rail adventures along the coastline.
The melodramatic coastline of the Otago Peninsula boasts dramatic cliffs and sea-sprayed beaches, as well as an abundance of animals. Explore cliffs laced with tunnels and hidden walkways, to get you up close and personal with Yellow-eyed penguins. Sea lions and seals also sprawl out on windswept beaches, drifting in and out of indulgent dozes.
The south island's second-largest city regularly receives a top-up of youthful energy thanks to its healthy student population. Not that Dunedin is lacking a distinctly quirky personality of its own, as showcased by the event where locals race thousands of chocolate orbs down the world's steepest street - Baldwin Street. Museums in the city tell of Chinese influences, as well as the stories of early Maori settlers. Round off an active day sampling a South Island institution - an icy beer from Speight's Brewery.