Dunedin (Edinburgh in Gaelic) is a university city. We arrived on Waitangi Day, New Zealand’s National Day. The University of Otago would get underway seriously the next day. It was built as a “little Scotland” by immigrants but it grew to prominence as the supply depot for a gold rush in the interior of the South Island around the end of the 19th century. It has a Chinese population imported to work on the railway to the goldfields and the railway to the gold fields. One of the most popular stops for visitors in Dunedin, especially the crew of Amsterdam is the Cadbury chocolate factory. We passed on that to ride the Taieri Gorge Railroad, which I will discuss in another post.
The railroad station we discuss in this post. It was completed in 1906 but took 20 years to build on reclaimed swamp land near the end of Otago Bay. The architect was George Troup, known as Gingerbread George. Looking at the pictures I think you can understand why. The main foyer had tiles made for New Zealand Rail by Royal Dalton, a mosaic floor celebrating steam, and stained glass windows. It is a beauty and I spent a lot of time looking at the detail. The station does not see regular passenger service to anywhere in particular, but it is the terminus for two tourist trains, run by Dunedin Railways, The Taieri Gorge Railroad, which we took, and The Seasider, which travels 126 kilometers up the scenic coast past port Chalmers through Palmerston to Oamaru. Part of the museum is also the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame.
After visiting our train ride we had a little time to wander Dunedin, through the Octogon at the center of town, past the town hall and St. Paul’s Cathedral. (I like Brew Bar because Brew is my mother’s maiden name.)