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Wild Dunedin

LAST YEARS Wild Dunedin Festival Programme

To navigate the programme:  

You can browse events either by date or by subject

Click the magnifying glass symbol at the top of the page to see a drop down list of categories under which you can find themed events, e.g. wild walks or free events.

 You can also find all these areas of interest by scrolling down through the dates of the festival.

Do share events - just click on the envelope symbol for an email, or share via facebook/twitter. 

Go Wild and tell everyone about our festival. 




Ruud Kleinpaste introduces George the tree weta to Callum during the Wild Dunedin festival 2017

Thanks if you were one of the 7,000 that attended the Wild Dunedin festival

by Wild Dunedin

Our second Wild Dunedin festival was a wild success with more than double the attendances of last year's festival. Many thanks to our funders, sponsors, those contributing events and a special thanks to festival guest Ruud Kleinpaste and his weta friends George and Dorothy.

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Crossing the Hindon Bridge on the Taieri Gorge train journey

Get Wild Off the Rails @ Sutton Salt Lake 🏅

by Dunedin Railways and Middlemarch Promotions

Wednesday 25 April, 9.30–6.30pm. All aboard the Taieri Gorge train on ANZAC day for a world class rail experience with the added attraction of a guided walk to Sutton Salt Lake.

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Sebastian and Reilly having a great time finding pesky pests at Glenfalloch during 2017 Wild Dunedin Festival.

Pesky pests hunt at Glenfalloch Garden 🏅

by Otago Peninsula Trust & Otago Peninsula Biodiversity Group

On ANZAC day 25th April 10am–12noon join the 'Pestival' with Glenfalloch and Otago Peninsula Biodiversity Group. Learn about pests. Then armed with your map find pesky pests to win a treat.

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Sea lions and pups at play on Otago coast.

Exploring the Realm of the Sea Lion

by Dunedin Public Libraries and New Zealand Sea Lion Trust

Come along for a great fun kids' workshop presented by the New Zealand Sea Lion Trust at the Dunedin City Library on Monday 23rd April 2-4pm. Learn about our local NZ Sea Lion whanau – discover what they eat, how to tag a sea lion pup, and many more fascinating facts. Workshop is suitable for 8+yrs.** Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult**.

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Little Blue Pukekura

Blue Penguins Pukekura Exhibit

by Otago Peninsula Trust

Every day of the festival 10.15am until dusk at the Royal Albatross Centre, Taiaroa Head, learn how you can get involved with the penguin monitoring and research programme in 2018.

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Little blue Pukekura penguins.

Tracking Blue Penguins Pukekura - free talk  

by Otago Peninsula Trust

At the Royal Albatross Centre on Sunday 22 April at 4.30pm there's a free talk on tracking Pukekura Blue Penguins ... this talk is followed by a family discounted regular tour at Pilots Beach from 6pm. 

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A beautiful photograph of Kotuku taken by Craig McKenzie who won the supreme prize in this year's Otago Wildlife Photography competition . 

Tomahawk Lagoon Bird Watching 🏅

by Birds NZ

On Earth Day Sunday 22 April from 10am to noon see birds close–up on Tomahawk Lagoon using spotting scopes. Birds NZ members will help identify the birds that inhabit this area. Bring binoculars, if you have them.

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Locusts and quail eggs from 2017 Wild Food Dinner

Wild Food Dinner at Glenfalloch ...SORRY SOLD OUT

by Otago Peninsula Trust

Experience wild night dining with a surprising ‘Trust the Chef’ five course wild food dinner on Sunday 22 April from 6pm-10pm in Glenfalloch’s garden setting. Try Wild Dunedin’s nettle beer brewed by Steamer Basin.

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Yellow Eyed Penguin at home on Elm Wildlife's reserve on the Otago Peninsula.

Otago Peninsula Wildlife Adventure 🏅

by Monarch Wildlife Cruises and Elm Wildlife Tours

For half price experience 6 hours of premium wildlife adventure with Elm Wildlife Tours and Monarch Wildlife Cruises on Earth Day Sunday 22 April 12.30–6.30pm. Join knowledgeable experts to see albatross, seals, sealions, yellow eyed penguins and little blue penguins.

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Kayaking at Te Nohoaka o Tukiauau/Sinclair Wetlands, New Zealand's largest privately owned wetland on the Taieri Plain.

Plant and Paddle Day

by Te Nohoaka o Tukiauau/Sinclair Wetlands

On Sunday 22 April from 10am Sinclair Wetlands (Te Nohoaka o Tukiauau) is hosting a "kayak open day" that will appeal to people from a variety of backgrounds with all levels of experience. Kayaking participants need to be over the age of 13. Children under 13 can take part in the tree planting activities. What a great way to celebrate Earth Day.

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In  2017 festival guide Brendan Flack took  25 people on a warm and sunny Saturday morning walking around the wahi tapu, Te Pā ā Te Wera in Karitāne .

Guided Walk on the Dramatic Huriawa Peninsula, Karitane 🏅

by Puketeraki Rununga

Puketeraki Rūnanga is offering a 90 minute free guided walk on Saturday 21 April through the historic Te Pā ā Te Wera on the dramatic Huriawa Peninsula. Walk starts 10.30 am.

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Hoiho - Yellow-Eyed Penguin, Otago Peninsula

Helping Hoiho Penguin Place 

by Penguin Place

On Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 April at 1.30 pm find out what it is like to be a Hoiho/Yellow Eyed Penguin on the mainland of New Zealand. This talk by conservation experts at Penguin Place and will be followed by a visit to the Rehabilitation Facility.

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Underwater images around Otago

Snorkelling adventure at Karitane 🏅

by Dive Otago & Experiencing Marine Reserves Group

Discover the amazing underwater world among the kelp at Karitane with Dive Otago and Experiencing Marine Reserves group on Saturday 21 April from 9am-2pm. Registration essential. Meeting location, times and equipment confirmed on booking.

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Monarch Wildlife Cruises getting close to wildlife at Taiaroa Head with Royal albatross soaring just above the boat.

“Deep Discount” Monarch Wildlife Cruises 🏅 SATURDAY 21st April SOLD OUT.

by Monarch Wildlife Cruises

Monarch will let us know when they will offer another trip on the Monarch for the festiva. Saturday 21st cruise SOLD OUT. Monday 23 April at 3.30pm get closer to nature for half price. Monarch Wildlife Cruises will help you encounter and understand the unique animals of the wild southern ocean.

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Running for lift off of her penguin kite at Wild Dunedin's 2016 kite flying event 

Flying penguin competition (pt2 of kite making event) SORRY SOLD OUT

by Larnach Castle and Dunedin City Lib Library

Can penguins fly - of course they can! Bring your decorated kite to Camp Estate (next to Larnach Castle) between 11–1pm Saturday 21 April. SPOT PRIZES for the best decorated, most inventive, the smallest kite and the Kite that flys the highest.

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Join us at 11 for brunch at Orokonui Ecosanctuary.

Walk for Wildlife 🏅

by Orokonui Ecosanctuary

On Saturday 21 April at 10am start your day with a 12km walk through Orokonui Ecosanctuary forest and estuary. Funds raised will go towards the food for Takahe and Kaka. This will help the Ecosanctuary to overcome their challenge of funding the supplementary food bill of $9000/year.

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Joseph Ruka from Wild Smokehouse not too sure about having Jack our penguin so close to his smoked fish products.

Otago Farmers Market - wild fare

by Otago Farmers Market

On Saturday 21st April from 8am-12pm look out for the producers at the Otago Farmers Market who are selling food with a touch of the wild to celebrate Wild Dunedin.

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Royal Albatross at Taiaroa Head.

Royal Albatross Express Tours 20-25 April 🏅

by Otago Peninsula Trust

Join us at the tip of the Otago Peninsula for a special 30min express tour to see our albatross chicks. Tours run every day over the festival from 10.30am - 3pm, as well as fun-filled activities for the kids.

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Blue Penguin Pukekura close up

Blue Penguins Pukekura Family Special - 20-25 April 🏅

by Otago Peninsula Trust

Discover Korora (Little Blue Penguin), the world’s smallest penguin, in their natural habitat – scurrying up to their cliff-face burrows or feeding their young at Pilots Beach. Half price family pass for $40 during the festival. Tour starts 6/6.15pm but starting time will be confirmed upon booking.

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Otago Jewelled Gecko 

Meet Manawa - The Jewelled Gecko

by Otago Museum

Meet Otago Museum’s living treasure the Jewelled Gecko - Moko Kākāriki. Learn about its lifestyle and cultural significance to local iwi in this fascinating talk at 2.15pm in the Atrium, level 1 daily.

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Otago Wildlife Photography Exhibition

by Otago Museum

Explore the natural world through the finest images and videos from Otago's talented amateur photographers and videographers in Otago Museum’s 2018 Otago Wildlife Photography Exhibition .

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Yellow eyed penguin in full call.

Penguin Place 90 Minute Guided Tours Discounted 🏅

by Penguin Place

Every day during the festival there will be a 25% discounted tour at 3.45pm at Penguin Place. Observe the shy Yellow Eyed Penguins through a unique system of covered trenches and viewing hides.

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Tomtits and Apples (with Fantail) by Kaori Jackson

Wild Nature - Otago Art Society Exhibition

by Otago Art Society

Open every day over the festival from 10am-4pm.  An exhibition  of creative artworks in an array of media depicting Dunedin's 'Wild Nature' by members of the Otago Art Society, 1st floor,  Dunedin Railway Station. 

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Video: A Love Letter from the Leith

#loveyourleith River Trail

by Otago Regional Council

Come explore Dunedin’s very own river, the Water of Leith! It is a small but mighty river that flows through the city and over the years, it has had a huge influence on the landscape. This self-guided trail has been made for kids and families to get out into local nature and connect with the Leith.

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The popular kite making workshop and flying it at Camp Estate, Larnach Castle is on offer again for the 2018 festival.

Pick up a penguin and make him fly! SORRY SOLD OUT

by Dunedin City Library and Larnach Castle

Join us on Friday 20 April from 10am–12noon at the City Library for our special Wild Dunedin kite workshop and make your very own kite. Be in fast and book a place in this free workshop. Every year this event books out fast.

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Explore the Dunedin Night Sky

by Dunedin Astronomical Society

The Beverly-Begg Observatory is an amazing place to come and see the real night sky. We offer laser tours of the sky, to look through telescopes, and go inside the dome. Learn about the solar system from Friday 20 to Sunday 22 April from 7.30 – 9.30pm . Hopefully if it’s a clear night you might even get to see some planets!

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The winning entry in the 2017 Otago Peninsula Photo Competition 

Otago Peninsula Photo contest 1-30 April 2018

by Otago Peninsula Trust

Get out into the wild and capture Otago Peninsula’s magic moments. The Otago Peninsula Photo Contest offers people the chance to celebrate the beauty of the Otago Peninsula’s unique wildlife, scenery and people. #OPT50Pix

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Inaugural Orokonui Challenge on International Earth Day, 22 April 2017

On this SUNDAY 30 APRIL...Orokonui Challenge RUN for Takahe and Kaka Conservation  

by Orokonui Ecosanctuary

The Orokonui Challenge RUN will start at 11.30am and registrations at 10.30 am.   Run a beautiful 18.5 km that includes the Ecosanctuary forest, Doctors Point beach and the McKessar track.  Proceeds from the run will go towards the feeding costs of the Kaka and Takahe.

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"He (Disappeared into Silence)" by Seraphine Pick

 Paradise Found – Art Floor Talk

by Dunedin Art Gallery

Join Alisha Sherriff, Botanic Garden Aviary Curator,  and tour guide Lynda Cullen in a walk through the Dunedin Public Art Gallery Collection exhibition Exploded Worlds as they talk about art and the environment on ANZAC Day 25 April 2.30pm. 

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Anna Bowen conjuring up a selkie

Selkie Song with Kaitrin McMullan

by Kaitrin McMillan

An evening at the Inch Bar – some of Dunedin’s best Celtic musicians, sea lion expert Steve Broni, and wordsmiths will present music, words and wild longings about the legend of the Selkies. Numbers restricted to 25.

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Storyteller Kaitrin McMullan

Where the Wild Things Roar, Flop and Swim

by Dunedin Public Libraries

Lots of sea lion spiel and mermaid tales from Kaitrin McMullan at Dunedin City Library, and a chance to shake flippers with a special guest. Plus, find out who won the Super Sea Lion drawing competition!

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Long finned eel.

This film will give you a new respect for eels  

by Centre for Science Communication, University of Otago

Longfin spotlights the little-known life of an endemic New Zealand freshwater eel and takes you on an epic journey through the life of this intriguing creature. This is one of three award winning short films being screened by the Centre of Science Communication at the College of Education auditorium on Monday 24 April at 7.30pm

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Botanical painting of Adam's Mistletoe by Audrey Eagle in the 1950's

Students won the BBC Best Newcomer Award at WildScreen film festival in 2006

by Centre for Science Communication,. Otago University

Brant Backlund and Thassilo Franke  made an award winning film about an extinct plant - a potentially dull subject into an intriguing detective story.  Their 25 minute film "Exhuming Adams" along with two other student films will be screened  on  Monday 24 April from 7.30pm at the College of Education auditorium. Gold coin entry. 

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Mad Mac is determined that paua will remain here for his children to harvest

by Centre for Science Communication, University of Otago

This is one of the three award winning films from students of Science Communication that will be screened on Monday 24 April at the College of Education  Auditorium at 7.30pm introduced by Ross Johnston who has tracked down where in the world these film makers are working and living now.  Each film is 24 minutes long and entry is gold coin to assist with screening costs. 

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Kowhai (Sophora microphylla) in Leith Valley, Dunedin 

UrbanNature mini expo

by Department of Conservation

Department of Conservation are hosting an expo in Woodhaugh gardens on Sunday 23rd April from 11am to 3pm in conjunction with the Town Belt Traverse.  

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Walkers on the Town Belt Traverse

Town Belt Traverse

by Dunedin Amenities Society

On Sunday 23 April walk the 8.2 kms through Dunedin’s historic and biodiversity rich Town Belt starting at the historic Southern Cemetery and finishing at Woodhaugh Gardens. Check in from 10-11.30 am at the Southern Cemetery and complete the walk by 1.30pm.

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Otago Fish and Game Council operations manager Ian Hadland  and ranger  Ralph Hayburn conduct electric fishing survey on a small Otago stream. Ian will take part in the festival event.

Electric Fishing at the Leith Stream, Woodhaugh Gardens 

by Fish and Game

Otago Fish and Game on Sunday 23rd April at 2pm will give a demonstration of electric fishing. Fish are briefly stunned so that researchers can count the varieties and number of fish living in this urban stream. 

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Orokonui Ecosanctuary Visitors Centre

'Nature Bomb'   

by Orokonui Ecosanctuary

On Sunday 23 April  from 9.30am-4.30pm enjoy a  special family pack rate to enter Orokonui Ecosanctuary. Make your own discoveries. You never know who and what you might meet at the 'Nature Bomb'. Find birds, skinks, tuatara, explore bush trails and special guests.  

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A curious young Jamie Morris and an equally curious kea 

Curious Kids Can Make Wild Discoveries

by Orokonui Ecosanctuary

If kids are curious, they can make truly wild discoveries. Find out how in a free illustrated talk by wildlife storytellers Rod Morris and Peter Hayden at Orokonui Ecosanctuary Visitors Centre on Sunday 23 April from 1.30 - 2.15pm.

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Ruud Kleinpaste covered with killer bees during the filming of "The Biggest and Baddest Bugs"

NHNZ special screening of "The World's Biggest Baddest Bugs" with Ruud Kleinpaste 


 On Sunday 23 April at 7.30 pm at the College of Education auditorium Bugman Ruud Kleinpaste will be there to take us on an entomological odyssey around the globe in search of the biggest and “baddest” creepy crawlies.  NHNZ has been making wildlife films out of Dunedin for 40 years this year, and to celebrate has brought out of the vault from 2004 “The World’s Biggest Baddest Bugs”.

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Recently published local storybook written and illustrated by local women who admired this plucky Yellow-Eyed Penguin.

NatureHQ: "Sharkie Smartie" - an entertaining reading of a children's book about a local character

by Wilma McKay & Pauline Bellamy

On Sunday 23 April at 12.45pm visit NatureHQ to hear the true story of one of the oldest living Yellow-Eyed Penguins on the Otago Peninsula.  Sharkie Smartie's character will come to life with Olly Ohlson's entertaining read of this locally written and illustrated children's book by Wilma McKay and Pauline Bellamy. 

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The Milky Way and Larnach Castle

Night Sky Photography Workshop 

by Larnachs Castle

 Night Sky Photography Workshop at Larnach Castle by Chris Stephenson on Saturday 23 April from from 6.30 -10.30pm with refreshments included. 

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Green bikes - electric powered pedalling at Glenfalloch Garden, Otago Peninsula.

Wild Green Ride

by Otago Peninsula Trust

Take a ride on the wild side on Glenfalloch Garden's green electric bikes throughout the festival from 21-25 April 9am–3.30pm. 

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Observing munida at NZ Marine Studies Centre at Portobello

 Who Eats Who at the Aquarium?

by New Zealand Marine Studies Centre

Discover how local sea creatures are adapted to catch their food, avoid predators and stay alive at the New Zealand Marine Studies Centre at Portobello on Saturday 22 April - 3 sessions to choose from 10-11.30am, 12.30–2pm, 2.30–4pm.

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The tui and kowhai

“An Extraordinary Land” – a free illustrated talk for new settlers to Dunedin

by Wild Dunedin

At 3pm on Saturday 22 April at Toitu Early Settlers Museum, wildlife photographer Rod Morris, and writer Peter Hayden, will present stories from their book “An Extraordinary Land”.  (The Toitu events publication has an incorrect time - the talk will be from 3pm-4pm)

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Volunteers are pulling out an invasive alder tree at Moore’s Bush, Leith Valley, Dunedin during Wild Dunedin festival 2016.

Moore's Bush weeding and picnic 

by Dunedin Branch of Forest and Bird

Celebrate Earth Day on Saturday 22 April from 10.30–1.30 pm  by joining the Forest and Bird team at Moore’s Bush reserve in Leith Valley to release native plants from long grass. Then enjoy a picnic lunch in a lovely spot so close to our city.

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The beautiful laburnum archway at Larnach Castle Garden


by Larnach Castle Garden

Guided Larnach garden tour and talk by Fiona Eadie on how they encourage insect life into the garden on Saturday 22 April at 2pm followed by afternoon tea. 

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Kiwi Guardian Explorer medals sponsored by Toyota can be redeemed by attending events at this year's Wild Dunedin festival.

Kids Scavenger hunt - a  pop up Kiwi Guardians event led by university students  

by AAPES, Dunedin Botanic Garden and Department of Conservation

A fun scavenger hunt and pop up Kiwi Guardians event exploring nature from New Zealand and around the world at the Dunedin Botanic Garden  on Saturday 22 April running 11am-3pm from the top carpark, off lovelock Avenue.  Allow  30-45 minutes for the scavenger hunt to earn a Wild Dunedin explorers medal.

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Over the festival we are asking people to take part in our Insta-blitz while out and about in Wild Dunedin.

‘Insta-blitz’ at NatureHQ 

by Wild Dunedin

Share your Instagram photos using the hashtag #wilddunedinfestival while out and about in Wild Dunedin over the festival. Insta-blitz images will be shown on screen at NatureHQ located in the Community Gallery, 20 Princes Street. Best images featured on the #wilddunedin Instagram.

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Video: Jago A Life Underwater

 International Award winning film "Jago: A Life Underwater"   

by Wild Dunedin and Jackson Hole WILD on Tour

This independently produced film won the top prize, the Grand Teton Award, at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival  in 2015. Wild Dunedin in partnership with Jackson Hole WILD are presenting this film at the inaugural Dunedin Wild Film Festival on Saturday 22 April 7.30pm at the Teachers College Auditorium.  Price of admittance a gold coin.

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Dr Lance Richdale and his research assistant and wife Agnes (pictured above) were the early pioneers of protecting the Royal Albatross at Taiaroa Head. 

Otago Peninsula Trust 50th Exhibition - Golden Peninsula Guardians 

by Otago Peninsula Trust

Learn of Otago Peninsula Trust’s pioneering ecotourism ventures and 50 years of preserving and enhancing the flora and fauna on Otago Peninsula in an exhibition at the Royal Albatross Centre, Taiaroa Head. 

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Jewelled gecko

Let’s Go Wild – Pop-up Science 

by Otago Museum

Are you brave enough to go wild? Experience life as a jewelled gecko and discover the wilderness of Dunedin at the Otago Museum hourly from 11.15am to 4.15pm every day during the festival. Meet the museum's moko kākāriki and eat, move and breathe like a gecko.  

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Giant XTC JR 2 24" child's bike valued at $405.00 has been sponsored by Bike Otago as the grand prize for #lovetheleith social media competition. 

#lovetheleith river trail- share your adventure on social media to win a bike

by Otago Regional Council

Share your adventure on the self-guided river trail on social media from 18 March until 30 April with the hashtag #lovetheleith to be in to win a kid’s bike (sponsored by Bike Otago) and weekly prizes of a family pass to Orokonui Ecosanctuary. Grand prize winner will be announced 1 May.

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Ruud and Ruby the Falcon.

Festival Opening and Ruud Kleinpaste

by Otago Museum & Wild Dunedin

 "Messages from below - how biodiversity runs this planet" Our biodiversity allows us to learn from nature. The organisms that are around today are the product of evolution over 3.8 billion years. New Zealand’s bugman and environmental advocate Ruud Kleinpaste opens the Wild Dunedin Festival at 6pm on Friday 21st April at the Otago Museum. 

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Ruud Kleinpaste very relaxed face to face with a giant weta

Nature-time Teaching - Curious Minds Outside  

by Otago Museum

Wild Dunedin Festival guest Ruud Kleinpaste leads an educators' workshop at the Otago Museum at 3pm Friday 21st April using nature as a context for education. If you're an education professional – including nature nerds, artists, linguists, historians, economists, or teachers interested in taking new inspiration from nature – this is for you.

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"Humpback Whales" on until end of School Holidays

by Perpetual Guardian Planetarium, Otago Museum

The Perpetual Guardian Planetarium, Otago Museum will be screening "Humpback Whales" at 11.30am daily from Friday 21 to Sunday 30 April.  Narrated by two-time Golden Globe® nominee Ewan McGregor, this film is an extraordinary journey into the mysterious world of one of nature's most awe-inspiring marine mammals. 

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 Book online at

Making Wild Thing Sticks with theartdept. 

by NatureHQ, Wild Dunedin Festival

On Monday 24 April at NatureHQ we are focusing on activities for children. A highlight will be two hands-on art workshops making ‘Wild Thing Sticks’ run by artists and art educators - theartdept.

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Looking towards Otago Harbour across the publicly owned Hereweka Harbour Cone property.

Releasing of plants in a native revegetation project and a walk up Harbour Cone

by Hereweka Harbour Cone Trust

On Sunday 23 April from 10am - 1pm and ANZAC Day from 9.30-12.30pm  you have the opportunity to play a part in the survival of recent native plantings at the base of Harbour Cone. After a couple of hours of releasing the plants you may like to hike up Hereweka to splendid  views of the Otago Peninsula while having your picnic lunch.

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"Dunedin is a greedy wildlife hogger. Some of the south's best wildlife experiences are within easy reach of downtown Dunedin." Claire Finlayson

Guidelines when encountering our wildlife and plants  

by Wild Dunedin

"Dunedin is a greedy wildlife hogger. Some of the south's best wildlife experiences are within easy reach of downtown Dunedin." Claire Finlayson

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Our city base during the festival open Sat 22 & Sun 23 10-4 and Mon 24 10-3.

Our festival base from Saturday to Monday

by Wild Dunedin

Come and see us, we’d love to see you at NatureHQ in the Community Gallery (20 Princes St) next to the Octagon. From 10am - 4pm on  Saturday 22nd - Sunday 23 April and 10am - 3pm on Monday 24 April we will be focusing on activities for children. Check here closer to the festival to see what will happening at NatureHQ.  

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Patti the sea lion and her pup at the Mole, Aramoana

‘Bold and Beautiful’ writing competition

by Dunedin Public Library and NZ Sea Lion Trust

The New Zealand sea lion is a beautiful but endangered creature. Take us into the world of our native sea lion with a piece of writing: fiction or non-fiction. Open for ages 10 to adult, the competition will be judged by writer Raymond Huber. Prizes presented at a grand prize giving at 4.15pm on Monday 24th April at the Dunedin City Library.

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Patti the sea lion and her pup at the Mole, Aramoana

Super Sea Lion Drawing Competition  

by Dunedin Public Library

Sea lions are a Wild Dunedin treasure to be proud of. Draw a picture to show what makes them special. Pick up an entry form from your local library. Open to children 5-9 years. Closing date 12 noon, Friday 14th April. Winners will be awarded prizes at our special sea lion story time at 11am on Monday 24th April at Dunedin City Library.   

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