Sara Munro's Dunedin
I’m a little obsessed with fashion (you can actually wear), plants, vintage t-shirts, vintage fashion magazines and food - especially baking cakes. I’ve lived in Dunedin on and off my whole life, and my love-hate relationship with the city has turned to all love. Especially during lockdown. Dunedin has a rich heritage with an underground culture. We get so excited about music, art and fashion, so much more than any city in New Zealand.
I love to run on the many trails around the city, and I live within a 20-minute drive to at least a dozen beaches. Being near the ocean is so important as there is nothing that calms a busy brain better than a walk on the beach. One of our best Company of Strangers sellers was a sweater I made for walking my dog at the beach when I was sick of wearing a hoodie! Apparently other people needed it for the same reason!
Shop George Street boutiques
320 George Street, Dunedin Central
To really get to know Dunedin you need to see how we dress. Our boutique shopping in Dunedin is renowned throughout New Zealand. Company of Strangers is what I live and breathe. You can’t go through Dunedin without stopping to visit us at 320 George Street. Our clothing is made locally in the South Island and in Dunedin. We also stock our favourite NZ designers who, like Company of Strangers, produce thoughtfully conscious garments and jewellery. Plume is a must for the fashion lover, too, and they are just two doors down from us.
Friday gallery crawl
We are lucky to have so many great galleries in Dunedin. Of course there’s the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, but also independent galleries like Gallery De Novo and Olga (both in Moray Place) and RDS Gallery. These have the best selection of local artists and a huge knowledge of the local scene to share. You might be lucky to fall upon an opening and a glass of wine.
Take a dip in St Clair
The Esplanade, St Clair, Dunedin
The most southern salt water pool in the world. Between Labour Day and Easter you can swim to your heart’s content in St Clair. Occasionally, they do have to close it while they get the odd seal out, but it’s worth the risk. Grab an Aperol Spritz at the Esplanade afterwards and watch the sun come down on the surf.
Find limited edition boards at Pavement
319 George Street, Dunedin Central
The coolest skate shop ever. Evie and Craig tell me there is a growing resurgence of grown ups buying their limited edition boards for artwork. My husband has one on the wall reminiscent of the one he had as a child. Make sure to check out their own Dunedin made linen essentials, designed by Evie. (She won’t tell you that but they are very cool).
Enjoy a divine Moiety degustation
42 Queens Garden, Dunedin Central
This is a must if you’re into food. Book way in advance because they have limited seating. Last time we went there we started with a bottle of prosecco and ordered the pate starter we had heard whispers about from friends. It was sprinkled with freeze dried manderin and was the most divine thing I’ve ever had. That was until we moved through the next five courses, each one so individual, so different and so incredible. We rolled out the door perfectly content and raving about booking another session.
Kill a day vintage shopping
Vintage or op shopping in Dunedin is a must. It’s a cool way to see the different historical influences in a city. I hunt for ugly ceramics or hand-knitted jumpers. Among my favourite haunts is Box of Birds in Port Chalmers which I tag onto a Sunday afternoon drive and walk along Aramoana beach. You’ll spot a few sea lions along the way too, so watch out. In the city, I go to Hospice on Vogel Street or Shop on Carroll (on Caroll Street, of course). I can kill a whole day just on those four locations.
Experience magic at Victory Beach
Access is via a gravel road from Portobello
This one is a trip back in time. Drive to the peninsula and do the walk to the Dunedin Pyramids. You get a great view of the beach from the top. Then wander the various tracks to the most stunning beach. When I’m at Victory Beach, I can almost visualise the early settlers pulling up. It’s magic. Sprinkled with sea lions and seals, it’s a beautiful isolated piece of coastline and one of my favourites.
Get lost in the green at Ross Creek
Ross Creek Reservoir, Dunedin
I start most Sundays with a run around Ross Creek. Running through the greenery of the town belt to the Reservoir is awesome. It doesn’t matter what the weather is doing, pouring with rain or super sunny. You can easily get lost in there but that’s part of the fun. If you take a high track you can end up on the Pineapple track and have views over the whole city. I heard it’s called the Pineapple track because the original guide used to take cans of pineapple for his guests when they reached the top. Cute treat! I have a more modern version of this - a coffee and a date scone at No7 Balmac afterwards. Essential refuelling required.
Find balance at Buster Greens
466 George Street, Dunedin North
Life is all about balance and Buster Greens literally has the balance right. I prefer a more plant-based selection and my husband is the opposite, and so here we can get both options. My husband always gets the most incredible fried chicken bene with housemate crumpets and I swing between the smoothie bowls or freedom loaf and avo. We also like to come past on a Saturday early afternoon for a wee brew too. They have local beers and kombucha on tap. This is the best place to take your fussy friends as you can have fries chased by a green smoothie. See, balance achieved.
Indulge in cheese balls at Woof!
368 Moray Place, Dunedin Central
The saviour of Dunedin nightlife. I grab a booth if I want to hide. When there’s just two of us, I go for the hidden one. It feels like sitting in the back of the bus. Order a cheese ball, which I swear is better than your gran’s in the ‘80’s, and a local beer. I can’t go past an Emerson's bookbinder. This is the friendliest most comfortable place to spend hours. Owners Josh and Dudley work tirelessly to provide a safe place for all. This is your Wednesday to Saturday evening. Seriously do not miss it.