Dunedin to Kurow
A big part of NZ's magic is the laid-back charm of its small towns and their many tourist attractions. Kurow is one of our favourite examples. Hidden away beneath the Saint Mary's mountain range beside the gently flowing Waitaki River, secluded away from the stresses of urban life, Kurow is quintessential small town New Zealand.
Larnach Castle and gardens offers a castle experience, and is one of New Zealand's premier visitor attarctions.
The world's steepest residential street is a must climb when visiting Dunedin at a leisurely 19 degree slope.
Moeraki's spherical natural wonders litter Koekohe beach, weighing as much as several tonnes and 3 metres in diameter.
Home of Cadbury Chocolate, this is a must for all chocoholics!
Whether you’ve just touched down in Dunedin’s International Airport, made your way south from the Caitlins, east from Central Otago or south from Oamaru, you need to make your way to either of your accommodation options; the Dunedin Holiday Park or the Portbello Village Tourist Park. Base yourself from here as you take in the many sights of Dunedin before officially getting underway.
So much to do, but here is some of the potential activities to undertake:
- Larnach Castle
- Cadbury Factory
- Walk through town viewing the Octagon, and some of the best-preserved Victorian and Edwardian buildings, including New Zealand’s oldest University and the Railway Station
- Royal Albatross Centre and penguin colonies
- Taieri Gorge train excursion
- Walk up Baldwin Street – the world’s steepest residential street
- Speights Brewery Tour
After experiencing Dunedin, it’s time to hit the road and travel north up State Highway 1. Take your time and enjoy the ride as your destination is only an hour up the road!
Once at Moeraki, walk the beach to experience the strange series of enormous round rocks at Koekohe Beach, some of which weigh several tonnes. These are an iconic photographic sight, and simply cannot be missed. Head to the famous Fleurs Place’ Restaurant for lunch before taking advantage of Moeraki Fishing Charters who offer you the chance to catch blue cod, crayfish and paua for your dinner later.
Your accommodation at the Moeraki Boulders Kiwi Holiday Park is centrally located, with the boulders and a yellow eyed penguin colony a short stroll away. Hire a kayak or bike and explore the surroundings, or simply sit back and let the waves mesmerize you.
You’re only on the road north for 20 minutes before you get to experience the largest town in northern Otago, Oamaru. This township is the hub of the Waitaki district, and includes shops and art galleries abound here, surrounded on all sides by some of the country's best examples of 19th century architecture.
At the town's waterfront is the Blue Penguin Colony, home to the world's smallest species of penguin. The birds here make their homes in the cliffs by the Oamaru foreshore, and you can tour the facility to see their nesting boxes or, at night, the feathery critters themselves as they waddle back to shore (they feed at sea all day).
Just north is Pukeuri, where you can turn of SH1 and onto SH83, which winds its way inland to Kurow. You'll be transfixed as twisting coastal beaches open up into vast farming plains, flanked by a backdrop of distant mountains. Soon you'll be enveloped by these craggy peaks, and closing in on your final destination – Kurow, and your accommodation, the Kurow Holiday Park.
Kurow is a quiet town where you can leave behind the hustle and bustle of city life and simply enjoy being amongst good-natured people and a fantastic view. Up the road you'll find the triple lakes of Waitaki, Aviemore and Benmore, perfect for a refreshing adventure holiday activity, or a dazzling road trip. Indeed, you can cross the Aviemore Dam on car, then sweep around the back of the lake upward to Benmore Dam to see the massive scale of Kiwi hydropower, and some genuinely astounding views.
Kurow isn’t just a destination – but a starting point for further discovery. The Canterbury plains and Mt Cook to the north, and Wanaka and Queenstown to the south – which way will you go?