Dunedin labelled must-see tourist destination

Robert Blank is absorbed in the workings of the Bryan Donkin Booster during an open day at the Dunedin Gasworks Museum. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
Robert Blank is absorbed in the workings of the Bryan Donkin Booster during an open day at the Dunedin Gasworks Museum. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
An influential Asian travel site has picked Dunedin as one of six must-see destinations for 2012.

The city joins Bagan (Burma), Langkawi (Malaysia), Mui Ne (Vietnam), Gili Islands (Indonesia) and Cairns (Australia) as the "great Asian travel destinations for 2012" on the TravelwireAsia website.

The Christchurch earthquake and aftershocks have made Dunedin "the new tourism centre on the South Island".

"And visiting Dunedin is certainly a means of supporting the South without feeling you are in danger of tremors and liquefaction," the authors note.

"It's Dunedin's turn to shine and they have plenty to offer."

The article described the city's historic centre as quaint, and highlighted a visit to Cadbury and the Dunedin Gasworks Museum.

"Or you can venture out about 30km to the splendid Otago Peninsula to see wildlife such as seals, penguins and albatross. There are also fine beaches here to explore."

For an extended trip, the website recommended taking the Taieri Gorge Railway to Middlemarch, where visitors could hire a bike and explore the Otago Central Rail Trail for a day trip or the full journey.

Tourism Dunedin chief executive Hamish Saxton said the website's recommendation backed up the work the regional tourism organisation and tourism operators had been doing in the Asian market.

"We are certainly seeing a number of tourism companies coming to Dunedin or extending their stays in Dunedin ... as an alternative to Christchurch."


Make hay while the sun shines

Well, this is good news, but we need to act on it.  This city has done little to introduce new large visitor attractions in the last 20 years, and is now stunted by a huge debt with a few with a driven fetish for a roofed stadium, and its enormous legacy of debt, against the will and better judgment of most, for which it is now proving itself. 

Christchurch had been doing the right thing, trams, cable way up Mt Cavendish, adventure attractions and has/had large interactive heritage theme parks like Ferrymead, great for all interests.  We can easily do the same as they did, all at a fraction of the cost of expenditure down Awatea St for the huge empty box.


We unfortunately now have the stadium and its crippling cost, but, despite that, let's hope somehow the 'Phoenix can rise from the ashes' (of debt), despite this huge millstone and start getting inventive, from large private enterprise organizations and firms, now the only way.  For otherwise this upsurge of visitors, be they Asian or Caucasian, will forget about us, and this popularity will become nothing more than a 'honeymoon period'.  As a frequent visitor to Asia myself, the public transport system there with its height frequency in most places, and things to see and do, leave this place far behind.

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