A car rental from Dunedin Airport is the best way to enjoy the picturesque mountain views, wild beaches, and historic buildings. VroomVroomVroom has partnered with the country's leading suppliers such as Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz and Thrifty to provide the best rates. Start comparing car hire deals now to find the cheapest vehicle.
The Dunedin Airport (DUD) consists of one terminal building with five gates; two with air bridges, and other amenities such as family entertainment areas, food and beverage outlets, and a Koru Lounge, Air New Zealand's premium lounge . They also have a car park which is open 24 hours a day and two shopping areas that are located in the departure area and arrivals hall.
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Dunedin Airport serves the city of Dunedin and the regions of Southland and Otago. It is approximately 22 kilometres away from Dunedin CBD and is New Zealand's fifth busiest airport. To get to the car hire counters, you need to go out of the main terminal, and into the adjacent building. Is it your first time to drive in New Zealand? Take time to read our driving tips.
Dunedin is a fantastic year-round destination, with convenient driving links to many highlights of the South Island.
Drive Dunedin to Queenstown:
This is an easy 3 and a half hour trip, along State Highway 8, with the chance of stopping at the historic town of Cromwell on the way.
A Dunedin Road Trip in Winter
In July each year, Dunedin hosts the Cadbury Chocolate Carnival, and last year I got to tick it off my bucket list. We arrived on the coldest morning of the year, it had started at zero degrees Celsius, but crept up to seven by the time we cleared arrival procedures. There was a bit of a delay when we picked up the car, as we de-iced, scraping off the thick frost from the windscreen. We were taking the opportunity for a long coastal drive, from Dunedin in Otago to Lake Tekapo in Canterbury. Along the way, we stopped at the surreal boulders littering the beach at Moeraki for photos, and refuelled with bowls of excellent mussel chowder. Another thirty minutes' driving time took us to the historic white-stone buildings of Oamuru.
Steampunk HQ in Oamuru
This was a surprising treat amongst the austere limestone buildings on Oamuru. Outside is a stunning 'steampunked' locomotive, spitting fire balls and billowing smoke, that can't help but draw you in. Inside is a fantastical art collaboration portraying a quirky and industrial version of steampunk. This attraction opened in 2011, and last year was awarded a Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence.
What exactly is Steampunk? It's a sub-genre of science fiction and fantasy, inspired by 19th Century steam-powered machinery. It's how Victorian people envisaged the future, and started with the ideas in the works of writers such as Jules Verne.
Oamaru is just under two hours driving time from Dunedin Airport.
Dunedin to Tekapo
It was another three hours steady driving on to Tekapo; skirting Timaru, before turning inland to the classic Canterbury landscapes of braided rivers and mountains. This is not the most obvious way to go, Timaru and Christchurch are closer airports, but my thinking was this was a journey that combines both coastal and inland views. Tekapo is a pretty alpine village, known for its lake, and the most photographed church in New Zealand, that of the Good Shepherd. It's also home to the Tekapo Springs Resort, where you can soak in hot pools, outdoor ice-skate, and ride a tube down an icy slope for kicks.
The Cadbury Chocolate Carnival
Our return journey back to Dunedin was a solid four and half hours' drive. The Chocolate Carnival was in full swing, halfway through the second week of New Zealand's July school holidays. We rode the Crunchie Train on the historic Taieri Gorge railway, and watched giant Jaffa's being raced down Baldwin St, the steepest residential street in the world.
What's the Crunchie Train? For those of you who didn't grow up in New Zealand in the 80s, it is a train ride based on this iconic TV ad, hence the costumes. Watch out for them bandits!
The Dunedin Cadbury Chocolate Carnival is held in mid-July each year.