Heidi Renata's Dunedin

I’m a curious wāhinepreneur and business owner of an innovation and entrepreneurial hub in the city. For business and for pleasure, I love the diverse opportunities and landscapes Dunedin provides. We are spoilt for choice with some funky eateries, and stunning landmarks and coastlines. Dunedin has it all for the heritage feels, funk and food.

Discover the Museum of Natural Mystery

61 Royal Terrace, Dunedin Central

This is one of Dunedin’s truly hidden and little-known gems… and no, the title is not a typo: this is a museum of natural mystery rather than history. The Dunedin Museum of Natural Mystery, set up by local artist Bruce Mahalski, spreads across three rooms of a private villa, where walls are adorned with his collection of animal skulls and skeletons, tribal masks from around the world and even a petrified cat. One of the highlights is Mahalski’s own art: fantastical sculptural creations using a whole range of animal skeletons.

Close up of Monarch butterflies in a jar.

Recharge at Doctors Point

Doctors Point Road, Otago

This northern beach is one of my favourite areas to reset, recharge and indulge - especially when the sun is shining on the stunning white sand and coastline. For happy snappers, you can indulge in taking photos of the cave dwellings and majestic cliff faces.

Aerial view of Doctors Point.

Saturday brunch at Kiki Beware

344 George Street, Dunedin Central

One of my new favs, it’s a funky little café for great coffee, nibbles and good vibes. The perfect place for a sneaky coffee to boost the spirit and enjoy the High Street feels. This place is really cute.  It seats about 15, but there’s usually about 100 people trying to get in. I generally catch up with friends here on a Saturday for brunch.

Man standing behind counter at Kiki Beware Cafe.

Espresso martini at Pequeno

50 Princes Street, Dunedin Central

As a cool winter retreat and great way to end an evening, Pequeno's has been one of my special places over the years to enjoy a great night of jazz in front of the fire with an espresso martini. It’s a little back alleyway café with an intimate jazz bar feel. 

A bar staff working at Pequeno.

Starfish Stack on the Esplanade

240 Forbury Road, St Clair, Dunedin

Starfish is a beachy-style café on the esplanade at St Clair, an all time favourite for a Saturday lunch and brunch. The Starfish Stack is hash browns with bacon, tomatoes and this really nice sauce. Nothing beats a Starfish Stack and a coffee to start a great weekend off. I like to sit upstairs or outside and watch the surfers and dog walkers.

The exterior of the Starfish building.

Hit the d-floor at Vault 21

21 The Octagon, Dunedin

You’re never too old to dance and for a wāhine in her naughty forties, it’s always a sure thing to break a few moves after a girls’ night out, at the Vault. By day, this is a yummy Asian-fusion restaurant. By night, it’s more of a party scene, full of students and dance music. I take it as a compliment when students tell us we’re the coolest old people on the dance floor.

Interior view of Vault 21 with customers.

Climb the turret at Larnach Castle

145 Camp Road, Dunedin

One of the postcard experiences of Dunedin and there’s a good reason for it: New Zealand’s only castle is genuinely epic. Take a stroll through the corridors and you’ll feel like you’re in Europe rather than little old Aotearoa. Make time to read the information placards to learn the fascinating history of this almost 150-year-old castle. The walk up the spiral staircase to the turret is steep, but the views are well worth it.

The exteror of Larnach Castle.

Smiles and kai from Precinct

25 Vogel Street, Dunedin Central

An all time favourite for the people and the kai, as a neighbouring venue and for the fact that you can’t grab a coffee or a great meal without the smiles of the wonderful owners and staff.

Workers behind the counter at Precinct Food.

Explore lava mounts at Pyramids

Access is via a gravel road from Portobello

In the depths of the rugged coastlines, where remnants of old volcanic activity now lie, you can travel out to the Pyramids to journey amongst picturesque farmland into the back drafts of these mounds of history and viewpoints on the east coast of the harbour. There are lava mounds left over from volcanoes. It’s remote but beautiful.

Sunrise at the Pyramids, Otago Peninsula

Hunt a good read Dead Souls Bookshop

393 Princes Street, Dunedin Central

If you’re a bookworm or just love the calming space of a bookshop, you can’t miss Dead Souls Bookshop. This small secondhand bookshop will keep you hunting for the perfect read for hours on end, with books stacked on floor-to-ceiling shelves. The staff are read-aholics and always happy to lend a hand with recommendations if you ask.

Books on shelves at Dead Souls Bookshop.