Moving to Dunedin

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Planning a move to Dunedin, New Zealand?

Known as the Edinburgh of New Zealand, Dunedin is the second-largest city on the South Island, located in the Otago region. With spectacular landscapes, untouched natural wonders, rare wildlife, rich history, and culture all on Dunedin’s doorstep, it’s no wonder many newcomers choose to settle in Dunedin.

Home to the world’s steepest street and New Zealand’s only castle, Dunedin’s is one of the Southern Hemisphere’s best-persevered cities full of Victorian and Edwardian heritage attractions. If you’re relocating to Dunedin, read on to see what this amazing city has to offer.

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Cost of Living

Dunedin is ranked as a highly affordable city, with the cost of living being more affordable than other major New Zealand cities, Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and Queenstown.

As a hub for students, rent is very affordable, with house prices in Dunedin 25% lower than the New Zealand average. The average house price in Dunedin in 2020 was $552,297 compared to $1.2 million in Auckland.

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Whether you’re renting or buying, the city offers a wide variety of different types of housing to suit your requirements. These range all the way from family homes with beautiful gardens to sleek, modern city apartments.

However, an important thing to mention here is that the neighborhood you’d like to live in can significantly affect the cost of both renting and buying a house. It also affects factors such as shops, schools, access to work, and public transport.

Search and compare average house prices and find roommates at websites such as,,, and

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Dunedin is overseen by the Southern DHB (district health board), who provide and manage healthcare for the whole Otago region.
Located in the heart of the city-centre, Dunedin’s main hospital is undergoing a $1.4 billion rebuild, the biggest rebuild a New Zealand hospital has ever untaken and is due to be completed in 2026.

Currently, the 388-bed hospital employs over 3,000 staff and services the wider Otago region (181,500). The hospital has a range of services, including intensive care and coronary care units, radiology, maternity, neonatal and paediatric services, and operates the regional helicopter retrieval service.

What’s more, the Dunedin Hospital works closely with the University of Otago and the Otago Polytechnics students.


Now is a great time to move to Dunedin as it’s currently undergoing a huge transformation, including the new state-of-the-art hospital there are waterfront upgrades, central city and tertiary predict developments, and environmental protection projects. Because of this, there is huge demand for healthcare and construction workers.

There is also high demand for tech, legal, finance, engineering, and education workers. If you’re looking for work in New Zealand, we recommend visiting seek., work here or New Kiwis.


With a population of 135,000, Dunedin truly encapsulates their nickname, “The Great Small City’ with 85% of residents saying they have a good quality of life.

What’s more, the number of residents in Dunedin with no qualification has declined 4.8% from 2006 to 2018. It’s no wonder with world-class education facilities at its centre. Dunedin is a hub for students, with over 25,000 calling Dunedin home. As a result, this means Dunedin has the youngest population in New Zealand, with 45% of residents being under 30.
Dunedin’s population is also becoming more diverse. However, Europeans make up the largest ethnic group with 78.9%, followed by Māori at 8.5%.

Expats make up roughly 22% of the population, with the majority relocating from Britain, Australia, and Asia.

Getting Around

Making your way around Dunedin is super simple thanks to an extensive bus network that connects the outer suburbs with the city centre. This is the most common form of public transport in Dunedin, with very affordable fares.

As Dunedin is a relatively compact city, Taxis are also reasonably cheap in Dunedin.

For all cycling enthusiasts the centre city contains dedicated bike lanes making it easier to navigate. Although the city centre is flat, the surrounding suburbs can be hilly. However, many Dunedin locals do not rely on public transport and simple walk.


Famous for its student culture, Dunedin is a quintessential student city, with over 70 education facilities in the area.
New Zealand’s education system is made up of 13-year levels, with primary school education starting at age 5 (year 1) and finishing at age 12 (year 8). From there, you attend secondary school with is year 9 to year 13.

Schools popular with expats include Columba College, Dunedin’s highest-rated all-girls secondary school, John McGlashan College (boys only), King’s High School, and St Hilda’s.

However, the main attraction is the tertiary study options in Dunedin. With students around New Zealand and overseas relocating to Dunedin to study at the University of Otago and the Otago Polytechnic.

The University of Otago is ranked in the top 300 universities globally and is New Zealand’s leading post-graduate research university and has an internationally accredited business school.

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When it comes to things to do in Dunedin, you’ll never run out, from eco-attractions, historic buildings and museums, beaches and art trails… the list goes on!

NZ Wildlife

Wildlife Encounters

The wildlife capital of New Zealand, Dunedin is filled with unique wildlife, some of which you can’t find anywhere else in the world.

It is possible to see sea lions, yellow-eyed penguins, dolphins, royal albatrosses, and more!

The best way to see the wildlife is through a guided tour or sanctuary. Orokonui Ecosanctuary is a sanctuary north of Dunedin that protects over 17 types of native birds and tuatara and is open three days a week to the public.

The Otago Peninsula also has multiple different wildlife tours available.

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biking trails

For the cycling enthusiast, The Otago Central Rail Trail is a must. The 150 km track from Middlemarch to Clyde follows the former railway line showcasing the rich history and stories of communities in the Otago region.

What’s more, Dunedin has a multitude of mountain biking routes, with tracks to suit all skill levels. The most popular include Common Ground, National Track, and The Emerson’s Big Easy.


Dunedin’s coastline isn’t just filled with unique wildlife but breath-taking beaches. Many of which are great for surfing, swimming, and picnics.

The most popular is St Kilda’s beach, the go-to for Dunedin locals. With cafes and restaurants lining the esplanade, playgrounds and changing facilities, and surf patrols during the summer, St Kilda’s beach is the perfect place for a family outing.

If you’re a keen surfer, then Whareakeake Beach is the place for you. With world-class swells, you’ll be sure to get your surfing fix.
We cannot forget the Otago Peninsula, home to breathtaking views, giant swells, yellow-eyed penguins, sea lions, and sharks.

Dunedin Cuisine

With cosmopolitan cafes, contemporary eateries, and timeless restaurants lining the streets, whatever you are craving, you’ll find it in Dunedin.
An immersive seaside dining experience crafted by famous chef Hannes Bariter, Tītī is one of Dunedin’s most popular restaurants. With an ever-changing “Trust the chef” menu inspired by fresh, local, and seasonal produce, you don’t know what you are receiving until it arrives in front of you.

Another popular restaurant is The Press Club, located in the Wains Hotel. An art deco-inspired establishment with a menu focused on local produce.

The bespoke bar and restaurant pays homage to Dunedin’s original haunt for editors and publishers in the 1870s.

Other Dunedin eateries worth mentioning include Two Chefs Bistro, Moiety, Bacchus, Salt, and Vault 21.

Shipping to Dunedin New Zealand

If you’re sold on moving to Dunedin, get in touch with New Zealand Van Lines, New Zealand’s No.1 international relocation company. With over 35 years of experience in moving individuals, families, and corporates too, from and within New Zealand, they will make your move to Dunedin stress and hassle-free.

Our global network of FIDI accredited partners throughout the world ensures that wherever you’re moving from, you’ll receive the same standard of service and professionalism from your home to your new residence in Dunedin.

Our team will help you throughout the moving process, from the pre-move survey to unpacking the last carton at your new residence in Dunedin.

Covering the entire Otago region, we can provide a complete solution for your international move to Dunedin. Get a free no-obligation quote today.