photos by University of Otago
11 Dunedin Venues with Stunning Architecture
by Raashka Mannie | 23 Jul 2021
Modern and meticulous, traditional Victorian and Edwardian - Dunedin boasts architecture from the ages, celebrated and preserved in all its many forms of beauty. It comes as no surprise, then, that there’s a charming collection of Dunedin venues that reflect their love for classic architecture and design. Venues such as The University of Otago, dating back as far as 1869, to more secluded options such as Teschemakers Resort show elements of design that have made Dunedin a premier choice for functions framed by history. No matter the nature or size of your upcoming event, they have a space to help you host in style. If you’re after our full list of Dunedin venues, you can find it here.
Olveston Historic Home
Image by Olveston Historic Home
You’ll be adding some historical charm to your function with Olveston Historic Home, New Zealand’s finest historic mansion and Garden of National Significance. Built as the family home of collector and philanthropist David Theomin (a connoisseur of the ‘finer things in life’), the house was gifted to the city of Dunedin in 1966, complete with all the original furnishings and contents. Hosting up to 180 guests, Olveston Historic Home has a variety of rooms and spaces to choose from when planning your Dunedin event, including their immaculate lawn, Great Hall, Drawing Room and more. This Dunedin venue serves as an option for both personal and corporate events, from gorgeous weddings in its sprawling garden to intimate dinners in its timelessly fashionable interior. You’ll have plenty of spaces and styling options to choose from when planning your Dunedin event.
Larnach Castle & Gardens
Image by Larnach Castle & Gardens
New Zealand’s only castle welcomes you to its hallowed halls. Larnach Castle & Gardens is a revered venue in Dunedin that has sat on Otago Peninsula since 1874. Carefully restored over the years, this Dunedin venue now plays host to a large number of fun and fabulous events. With award-winning gardens, luxury accommodation and incredible cuisine, it's an easy choice. They have several spaces to choose from, from the main castle to the green gardens to Camp Estate, hosting up to 350 people. As New Zealand’s only castle, Larnach Castle & Gardens offers an extraordinary and gorgeous experience as a venue option, filled with architecture of old, sparkling chandeliers and marbled floors. The team at Larnach Castle & Gardens is as refined as the venue, with a dedicated Events Manager on hand, as well as on-site catering options. Whether you’re looking to host a themed ball or a luxurious meeting for 20, Larnach Castle & Gardens is the Dunedin venue for you.
Image by Wikipedia
An expansive venue with a multitude of spaces for event hosting, Dunedin Centre epitomises classic architecture and design. It's an ideal venue for showcases, conferences, exhibitions and so much more. This Dunedin venue is flexible and spacious, with 4 breakaway rooms, including 2 dressing rooms, a green room and a choral room backstage. The built-in stage can be extended upon request, with the venue featuring outstanding acoustics and historical touches, such as the barrel-vaulted, coffered ceiling on the ground floor or their symphonic organ built in 1919 (affectionately dubbed ‘Norma’). You can pick between Glenroy Auditorium, Municipal Chambers to host your event. There's a variety of other conference rooms, meeting rooms, lounges and bars to suit your event. This all-encompassing Dunedin venue is located centrally and is 30 minutes away from Dunedin Airport, hosting over 200 guests and considered, rightfully, to be one of the architectural masterpieces of the city.
Toitū Otago Settlers Museum
Image by Visit Christchurch NZ
Just moments away from the well-known Octagon is Toitū Otago Settlers Museum. This Dunedin venue features floor-to-ceiling windows (that give expansive views of Dunedin’s Heritage District), Rimu floors, and so much more in their many function spaces. Choose between Josephine Foyer, Auditorium, NZR Foyer, Social Hall and NZR Lounge. Each space is full of personality, standing as sleek and modern function spaces that can accommodate up to 515 guests. Depending on the nature of your event, you have access to state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment. Surrounded by stunning art deco design, or taking in fascinating exhibitions from New Zealand’s past, the choice is yours. A breezy drive from Dunedin Airport, Toitū Otago Settlers Museum is a malleable and fun venue choice for any event type. With unlimited access to fountains of information and avenues of learning, as well as tours, displays and more, this Dunedin venue makes for the perfect choice for events in its stunningly-designed space.
Dunedin Public Library
Image by Dunedin Public Library
Dunedin Public Library was first opened in 1908 and serves as an essential cornerstone in the city’s history. It functions as a network of 6 libraries and 2 bookbuses. This learning hub offers itself as a venue for meetings, conferences and seminars in the comfort of the library. They have 4 different spaces to choose from across the locations. Available for partial or full hire, Dunningham Suite includes a breakout room for your convenience, as well as a kitchen for your caterer to set up in. Blueskin Bay Library Meeting Room and Rolfe Room charge by the hour and are both perfect for smaller gatherings. The Downes Room is an excellent pick for intimate conferences, seminars or meetings. Dunedin Public Library does not charge individuals or groups who are unfunded or provide a community service. Dubbing themselves “A Literary City,” Dunedin Public Library is a wonderful example of a venue that carries the spirit of the city within it, through both practices and its historical appearance.
University of Otago
Image by University of Otago
The University of Otago is New Zealand's longest-standing university - and it shows, with its historical presence, traditional architecture and revered ranking worldwide. It was founded in 1869 and still has many Victorian-style buildings on campus, some of which are available for hire. The University of Otago has a variety of event spaces for rent, all equipped with modern technology. With a wide range of lecture rooms and meeting spaces of varying sizes, you’ll be spoilt for choice. They have an events team who can help you decide which space is most appropriate and available at the time. This Dunedin venue has a range of historic buildings which can also be booked out for events, bringing your Dunedin event a semblance of the elegance of the days gone by.
Image by Regent Theatre
You’ll be raising a truly fashionable toast at Regent Theatre, one of Dunedin’s favourite and most flexible venues. If you’re after a unique Dunedin venue experience, look no further than this masterfully-designed space. The Regent Theatre is abundant with history: it opened on 1st June 1928 as a 2000 seat cinema; the interior is still elaborately decorated capturing the essence of the theatre scene at the time. This Dunedin events centre has detailed high ceilings, a grand staircase and dining area. The venue frequently hosts weddings, performances, product launches, shows, conferences and cocktail functions. With their ample theatre space, they have a variety of rooms to host more intimate gatherings. The events team at the Regent Theatre would be delighted to make your day as glamorous as possible, reflecting the nature of this breathtaking Dunedin venue.
Image by Graham Warman Photography
Lan Yuan is Dunedin’s revered Chinese Garden is situated in the centre of the city but feels miles away, designed by a team of artists from Shanghai to reflect serenity and traditional Chinese architecture. Full of character, this Dunedin venue features hand-made wooden buildings, tiles, bricks, lattice-work and hand-finished granite paving stones. Unique and stunning, this space is perfect for more relaxed and open meetings of varying sizes, accommodating anywhere from 10 to 100 guests. Lan Yuan’s spaces include the Courtyard, Tower Room and Tea House, available for exclusive hire after hours. They bring you intimacy and privacy in a gorgeous setting, with a traditional, high garden wall that encloses you and your guests in a bubble of seclusion - perfect for Dunedin events of every kind, from conferences and meetings to cocktail nights and product launches.