Where the Wild Things Are

by Insiders Dunedin

What’s that you say? ‘Dunedin is a tartan snore, full of the staid and plaid?’ You could not be more wrong. Yes, Dunedin is a great place to snuggle up with a book and a glass of wine after warping the credit card but the city has always been red in tooth and claw, a last bastion before penguins, ever since the first sealers landed at Port Chalmers and waded through hip-high mud to build a pub. A hairy-chested metropolis basking under green aurora’d skies, there’s plenty here to take you out of your comfort zone.

Eat wild: go full cave man oooga oooga with some Red Tussock Venison from the Otago Farmers Market. Or, channel your inner Hunter Gatherer collecting your own cockles at Purakanui inlet (limit 50 per person) to make clam chowder (burp them in fresh water for an hour then add to a soup of potatoes, onions, celery and carrot; splash in some white wine, vegetable stock, lemon juice and finish with a slop of cream. Serve with slices of fresh sour dough made by the little boy who lives down the road and sold at the Potato Point produce stand on Saturdays and Sundays.

Meet wild: come face to face with sea lions, ocean-living land-snoozing dinosaurs in the rough (don’t get too close, at least 10 metres away – or come between them and the sea – the males can be very rough and will chase you up a sand dune if you annoy them, plus they have awful fishy breath) at Allan’s beach on the Otago Peninsula.

Be a wild (life) photographer. Dunedin’s sunrises and sunsets aren’t called ‘Dunner Stunners’ for nothing. Wake early, slam a coffee and take yourself off somewhere with a view, it’ll be worth getting dressed in the dark (your jersey is on back-to-front btw) and your Facebook friends will die of jealousy.

Wander wild: climb an extinct volcano. Grab your pith helmet, pull up your walk socks, Dunedin’s wonderful, humpbacked peninsula is actually an old lava flow pushed up from the ocean floor into a mercurial precipice during violent seismic rumblings millions of years ago. An expedition allows for the experience of an incredible amount of diversity: just 20 minutes from the CBD and you could be exploring ancient forests, tussock-clad summits, rolling farmland and coastal cliffs, with geology igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary (oh my!).

Extra points for: stripping off and jumping in the sea; doing a handstand on a hilltop; remembering to bring chocolate.

Post submitted by Lisa Scott

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