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Thread: Dunedin - Neighborhoods - Family, walking friendly

  1. #1
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    Default Dunedin - Neighborhoods - Family, walking friendly

    We're a family of 2 adults, 1 baby, soon to be 2 babies. We're relocating from Nelson to Dunedin for the second baby, and will try to stay there for a while.

    We want to rent a house or apartment, and are wondering what neighborhoods would best fit us.

    Here's what we'd like:

    1) Within ~30 minutes walking distance of city center and the botanic garden.

    2) Preferably not too hilly, since we'll be with a stroller. (I know this might be difficult in Dunedin)

    3) Neat, quiet neighbors. (So, not those trashy student streets.)

    4) Warm (for the babies); I guess this means we need sun, unless we can safely rely on heat pump and/or oil heaters.

    Which neighborhoods would you recommend?

    I've heard Maori Hill mentioned repeatedly as a nice place, but that's up a hill. We drove up it once a couple months ago. I don't remember if there was a nice sidewalk (or trail) into town or not. Saint Clair is supposed to be nice, but that's a bit long of a walk to city center.

    How often does it get frosty and icy in Dunedin? And when does, are those steep sidewalks unsafe for a pregnant women with a stroller? Can people rely on buses in those conditions?

  2. #2
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    We lived in Dunedin for 4 years, started off outside town, on the way to Waldronville. It is a 20 minutes drive into town, but a lot longer to walk, so probably not the right place.
    Maori Hill has a good reputation, but a fried who used to live in Dunedin and now lives there again reckons it is one of the coldest places!
    The problem you might have is that you would like to be close to the Botanical Gardens and the towncenter, but since the nicer areas (in my opinion), without that many students, are on the other side of the CBD, it might be either- or.
    I personally think St.Clair is one of the nicest places around, it is close to the beach, you have quite a good bus system - of course the walk to the Botanical Garden takes a bit longer. On the other hand you can walk along Portsmouth Drive, there is a walk/ cycle way into town.
    We lived in Andersons Bay for the last two years, a very sunny place, but again, a bit further out and on a hill, as well.

    The hills, if you are on the right side of them, might, on the other hand, be good for catching a lot of sun- very important in Dunedin!

    Maybe you could have a look at trademe- if you are not looking especially for a house and garden, I remember there were some apartments closer to town which, at least from the photos, looked like they were modern and new?

    About the winter/ ice..., there are some days where places like Maori Hill get snow and ice and the buses don't run, you very rarely get any snow or severe ice on the flat. There were days were there was frost on the sidewalks, but as soon as the sun comes up, it will be gone.

    Good luck with your search- do you have the opportunity to spend some time in a motel or something like that and look around for the right place?

  3. #3
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    Jun 2009
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    Thanks for the info!

    I've been looking at lots of houses on trademe, and the sheer number of options is overwhelming! I know from experience that it's hard to get a "feel" for a place based on photos, so that's why I wanted to get some first-hand advice about neighborhoods.

    We'll be staying in a hostel for a couple weeks at least, maybe even a month or so, while looking at places.

    How are the rental agents down there? Are there any that you'd recommend (or recommend against), or are they all pretty much the same?

  4. #4
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    We rented through century 21 and ...., actually forgot the first! Our last place was a private rental with the landlord living about 30m up the road from us- a lovely elderly couple, who used to live in that house and raise their 4 children there, before they built another, slightly easier to manage, house! We had absolutely no problems with them and I would go for a private rental any time again, to be honest!

    I can't really recommend any agency or warn you, we did not have bad experiences. Except for the fact, that the last agency thought they argue about two days rent with us, after we left the house in a 100% better condition than when we moved in , but after some open words they saw our point.
    Considering the fact that we arrived in Dunedin as total strangers without any income and without any knowledge about the rental market etc. the agents were all quite helpful, I have to say!

    If you're staying in a hostel, make sure to go and look at different neighbourhoods at different times of the day to see where the sun is!
    Another suburb which came to my mind would be Roslyn, apart from the fact that it is on the hill, as well......

  5. #5
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    I've noticed that there are a lot of real estate agents in Dunedin.

    Does it make sense to contact real estate agents before hand, asking them which houses fit our profile? Or will that just waste our time?

    We found that in Nelson, real estate agents were unhelpful, indifferent, and often downright rude; we ended up renting directly from an owner, which worked out very well for us. Are the real estate agents in Dunedin nicer, smarter, and more customer-oriented? Or is it a duck duck goose game like in Nelson?

    Thanks!
    Last edited by denalipop; 27th April 2010 at 07:44 AM.

  6. #6
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    Where do the professors in Dunedin tend to live? Do they live near the student area (north of the octagon)?

  7. #7
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    Real estate agents- the ones we dealt with were ok nice, I think..., and seemed to be helpful enough, as well..., a lot comes down to personal impressions.....
    Probably it can't hurt to contact different agencies, leave your profile with them and see if they come up with something helpful, but at the same time I would try to look for myself. I think that renting privately has some huge advantages, but someone else might prefer to deal with an agent.

    I don't know that many professors.., we know someone who lived in Musselborough, another lecturer in Maori Hill, someone who works at the hospital in St.Kilda.
    So I guess it has more to do with your idea of how long you wish your commute to be- and of course someone with a family would have other preferences than a single person.
    I am pretty sure that none of them lives in the actual "student areas" like Castle street, though

  8. #8
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    Roslyn wasn't too bad when we visited Dunedin. I think most places are hilly though. There seemed to be a reasonable range of places to walk to in Roslyn though. Sun exposure is going to vary by street though I'm afraid.

  9. #9
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    An agent wrote me back and said the following areas were the most family-friendly and popular:

    - Roslyn
    - Maori Hill
    - St Clair
    - Andersons Bay
    - Musselburgh
    - Mornington ( Some areas )

    Looking at a map, it seems like Roslyn and Maori Hill are closest to the Octagon. The others seem quite a long walk away.

    We talked to a couple of Dunedinites last night. One of them recommends we check out the areas north of the botanic garden (near Baldwin St). I don't know much about that area, and haven't seen many houses for rent there. Is that still part of the student ghetto or is it too far away from the University to attract them?

  10. #10
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    As far as I Know there are some student flats still north of the botanical garden, in the Baldwin Street area. But, and this is my opinion only, you have to be extremely careful with where you go there as the hill takes at lot of the sun away and there are some places which don't get any sun in winter at all. But having said that, you will find these places more or less throughout Dunedin, because it is so hilly.
    We lived in St.Clair ("border' of) for a year and the house was freezing cold in winter, as the lounge/ kitchen area had about two to three hours of sun every say during the winter months. Would we have been on the opposite side of the road, it would have been different.....

    I guess that you will find people who love where they are in every part of the town, it all depends on what your expectations are.
    As mentioned before, a friend of mine said that Maori Hill is one of the coldest places, because of some winds, as far as I remember..., but it is definitely one of the more pricey areas and has a good reputation, as far as my knowledge goes.
    St.Clair, St.Kilda and Andersons Bay are definitely further out, but not inaccessible.
    If you try to research the areas beforehand by looking at Trademe, for example and then, when you're actually in Dunedin, try to go to different areas at different times of the day, that should give you a pretty good impression, I think?!

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