Port Chalmers (Dunedin), New Zealand Cruise Port

Tucked within New Zealand's sparkling Otago Harbour is the cruise destination of Port Chalmers, Dunedin, flanked by green hills and a pair of small islands. With around 1,400 residents, the town is approximately nine miles northeast of Dunedin's city center. Although Dunedin is the larger city, most port action takes place in Port Chalmers, as it’s more accessible to large ships. Originally called “Koputai” by the indigenous Kai Tahu, this was an important area of trade during the 19th century. Famous as the port of call for several notable Antarctic expeditions during early 20th century, there’s a stone monument overlooking the town, dedicated to explorer Robert Falcon Scott (who set off for his final expedition here). Today, the area has a thriving cultural scene, with plenty of artists and musicians making Port Chalmers home. Here are some of our favorite experiences for the cruise port of Port Chalmers, New Zealand:
 
  • Nautical History buffs will enjoy the Port Chalmers Regional Maritime Museum, located in the historic former post office building. Here are items and exhibits showcasing commercial fishing, shipping, Antarctic explorations, and more. Although a small museum, it packs a lot of information into its space.
     
  • One of the most striking sights in town is the Iona Church, begun in 1871. The town clock was installed in the tower around 1885, and extensive renovations have taken place to make sure the structure remains intact. The modern interior is an interesting contrast to its exterior, thanks to its colorful stained glass windows and bright walls.
     
  • Around four miles from town via the main road is the Orokonui Ecosanctuary, a predator-free nature reserve that creates a mainland refuge for species usually found on the nearby islands. You can use a guide or go alone to see rare birds and reptiles such as kiwi, tuatara, and Otago skinks.
     
  • With five hotels in town built before 1880, the walking Port Chalmers Heritage Pub Tour means getting an earful of local tales while tipping back a pint (or several). There's food as well, should you need to offset a glass of wine with a Ploughman’s Platter.

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