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In a season of resolutions, my own include making better use of all the great amenities that our city and its surrounds have to offer. Here, in no particular order, are 10 good reasons to live in and enjoy Dunedin in 2011.
1 St Clair Salt Water Pool: Nothing beats an early morning dip in this outdoor facility, the sometimes bracing outside temperatures counterbalanced by the always warm water of the pool. There's a respectable caffeine fix to be had at the attached cafe, and the walk back to the car or bicycle, with its sweeping vistas of St Clair and St Kilda beaches to the peninsula beyond, is a reminder of the stunning physical beauty of the city's backdrop.
2 Allans beach: Speaking of the Otago Peninsula, what an array of beautiful, wild beaches to explore. A personal favourite is Allans beach, the long silver curve of sand ever changing with the tides and the weather, and the almost inevitable basking sea lion a constant reminder that you are strolling amid nature's playground.
3 Otago Farmers Market: Bringing the best of the region's artisan food producers into town, and combining with the city's more interesting chefs, cooks and culinary creatives, the Saturday farmers' market in the Dunedin Railway Station car park is not just a great advertisement for Otago produce, but a great place to stock up for the week.
4 Friday Shop: Speaking of food, can there be a better purveyor of classical patisserie anywhere in the country than Roslyn's Highgate Bridge? A personal favourite is his lemon tarts, but a last-minute lifesaver for us this Christmas was his chocolate mousse, which is certainly going to become a hardy annual: with fresh raspberries from Outram, gobsmackingly good.
5 University Bookshop: Every self-respecting town must have a decent bookshop and for Dunedin, UBS is it - complete with its service counter from which helpful individuals dispense advice and don't look at you as if you are from outer space when you ask for a title by Alain de Botton or Jim Flynn.
6 A university town: Of course if Dunedin was not a university town, there would be no USB. And there would not be the array of fascinating public lectures by visiting or resident academics to attend; nor the multicultural and cosmopolitan edge that university staff and senior students lend to the city. All too often the antics of a handful of juveniles are decried: in truth, the colour they lend the city streets, and the vibrancy and the buying power they bring with them for nine months of the year, add more to Dunedin than many are prepared to admit.
7 Cafe culture: Dunedin has a number of funky and friendly cafes, some of which roast their own coffee. Each to his or her own, but for my money the friendly folk and great coffee at Strictly Coffee in Bath St are a treasure; the coffee, wall art and magazines at Mazagran in Moray Pl make it an indispensable caffeine addict's haunt; and Nova in the Octagon is invariably welcoming, does excellent coffee and a fine array of slices to assuage those low-blood-sugar pangs. If you ask nicely, you will be provided with the latest New Yorker to muse on over your flat white.
8 The Fortune Theatre: What town worth its salt does not have a professional theatre? Anyone fortunate enough to have caught the excellent production of The Pitmen Painters last spring will have been reminded of what the local theatrical community is capable. With a new artistic director at the helm, as well as a new manager, 2011 augurs well for theatre in the South. Let's hope for an innovative, entertaining and arresting season, well patronised, as the theatre strives to keep its funding, and status, as one of the country's top theatre producers.
9 Forsyth Barr Stadium: Admittedly not everyone's cuppa, but set to be a huge boon to the city - whether attracting major musical acts, providing a covered venue for community events or a world-class stadium in which to watch the Rugby World Cup later this year.
10 The Otago Daily Times: Yes, I know, a shameless plug for the organ that keeps your columnist fed and off the streets, but what other city can boast a major newspaper that is not owned in Australia or elsewhere, and which in 2011 celebrates 150 years of providing the news and covering the issues for Dunedin and Otago? Happy reading!
Simon Cunliffe is deputy editor (news) of the Otago Daily Times.