Dunedin is known as the coolest student city in New Zealand with its fresh, fun and unique flavor. In fact, when the uni semester concludes, the city becomes a bit of a ghost town and goes through somewhat of an identity crisis. To make the most of a Dunedin trip, it pays to dive into the student culture head first, and luckily for you, school is in right now. So book your flights, organise your Dunedin hotel
and take a deep breath, because here is a guide to the hottest student hangouts!
Macís Stuart St Brewbar
Macís Stuart St Brewbar sits in the heart of the Octagon, Dunedinís main party precinct. Itís awesomely Kiwi with a line-up of local craft beer, good New Zealand tucker and friendly service. Its quiz nights are pretty popular, and itís an awesome place to catch the weekend rugby. After a big session in and around the Octagon, itís also a nice place to recover on Sunday to soothing live acoustic tunes.
Ratbags and Innocent Bystander Gourmet Pizza Bar
Ratbags and Innocent Bystander Gourmet Pizza Bar is a sweet spot to line your stomach for a Saturday night of partying. As well as being full of good things to eat, the Ratbags bar on the street level is also a great bar to chill out and watch the rugga or catch some live music later on in the week. The Innocent Bystander bar on the top level, with its crazy dťcor and awesome terrace, turns into a full-on party spot later in the evening. Take on the student challenge and try and finish one of their infamous one-meter-long pizzas solo.
Carousel Lounge Bar
Carousel is another top-spot on the Dunedin party circuit. Located on lower Stuart Street, just off the Octagon, Carousel is home to a killer cocktail list and winner whiskey menu. The classy dark interior lends itself to a funky and almost sophisticated atmosphere (and what student doesnít want to be considered as sophisticated?!). Being a lounge bar, itís a cool place to either start or wrap up your night.
Copa Bar in George Street is rated as one of Dunedinís best places to party. Open late from Wednesday to Sunday, it hosts a stellar line-up of international and local DJs. As well as its great dance music, its drink specials are also popular with the student crowd. Be warned ó if you end up at Copa you are in for a big night, so buck-up and be prepared to dance into the wee hours of the morning!
Great drinks, good music and brilliant service come together to make Di Lusso an awesome early evening tapas and live-sport bar, and a later-evening cool nightclub. Itís got an awesome DJ set up with great sound and atmosphere and is conveniently located right in the heart of the Octagon. Check out its cool cocktail list with favourites including The Penguin (plum schnapps, kiwifruit vodka, passionfruit, apple juice and fresh strawberries) and the Bloody Feijoa Sour (vodka, Cointreau, limoncello and vanilla-flavoured Galliano).
Carey's Bay Historic Hotel
Carey's Bay Historic Hotel is a seaside institution, popular for Sunday sessions and mid-week beers and renowned for its amazing bar menu. At $13.50 for a fishermanís basket, itís a price even a poor student can afford. The food is super fresh and amazingly good with Kiwi specialties including beer-battered fish and chips, seafood chowder and fish pie. Best of all, the main bar area and pool room are heated with two open fires to help you cope with the cold Dunners winter.
For all things live music you canít beat Mannyís Bar in St Andrew Street. Itís a cool place to catch up with mates, kick-off your Saturday session or chill out with some live tunes. It has a great line up of regular local acts and will often host upcoming uni bands. Its pub-grub is a winner with treats including steak sandwiches, schnitzel and roast.
About the Author: Tom Wilkins is a third-year Otago University student, studying music. He chose to study at Otago because of its awesome atmosphere and cool student scene.