Dunedin Botanic Garden, Opoho Road, North Dunedin, Dunedin, 9016

Type of Course – Two sets of two laps

Shoes Required – Road

Things to know

There is limited free parking in the car park, and ample free street parking along Great King St and Opoho Rd, which is also suitable for motorhome parking.

There are two public toilets in front of the New World car park as well as in the Botanic Garden below the Croque-O-Dile Café. Also in the Botanic Garden is a play area not far from the finish line and further up the hill there is aviary. Botanic Garden info available here.

Note: No dogs or buggies allowed. 9am start in New Zealand Standard Time (winter), 8am in New Zealand Daylight Saving Time.

Forgot your barcode? Email the RD

Low risk of cancellation

Not permanently marked

No showers nearby

Cafe: Croque-O-Dile Café

Location of start:

The run starts in the lower garden near the Croque-O-Dile Café.

Getting there by public transport

Bus: Orbus routes 5, 6, 8, 10, 11, 15 all stop at the Botanic Garden. See the Otago regional council website for details. 

Getting there on foot

The starting point is in the lower garden just near the cafe, toilets, glass house and information shop. From any entrance of the lower garden, head straight to the buildings in the middle.

Getting there by road

From the centre of town follow State Highway 1 northwards. Stay in the right hand lane, turning right at the stop sign onto Cumberland St. The Botanic Garden car park is on your left.

From State Highway 1 southwards, on driving into Dunedin, down the hill, the Botanic Garden car park is on your left after a left turn to Northeast Valley. Alternatively there is street parking along the Northeast Valley turn, Great King St.


First run: January 11, 2014

Inaugural attendance: 68

Record attendance: 276 (01/02/2020)

Course records 

Women: Rebekah Greene 18:57 (14/07/2018)

Men: George Hamilton 16:42 (24/07/2022)

The Story Behind Dunedin parkrun…

Emma Laurence, founding event director

The idea came from my parents, Ross and Carol Haddow. Dad was a run director at Sheringham parkrun in the UK at the time. My husband and I were into our sports, like running, triathlon etc and mum said we needed a parkrun in our area.

We didn’t have one so she suggested we set it up. I thought that was crazy but then we thought we could do it. I got in touch with Noel and Lian and it took a while to get it together. The main thing was finding a good venue because Dunedin is quite hilly.

The flatter places needed more laps and there was no cafe. There was another out and back with no cafe and it was quite exposed. The parks in Dunedin aren’t huge so would need to be five laps.

The botanic gardens meant we could do two laps of the bottom and two of the top. There’s toilets, a cafe and it’s sheltered. It ticked all the boxes for us.


When we started we got about 80 at the most and it’s flourished. We had no idea what it was about when we started. It was before we had children and I felt unfulfilled and like I had too much time on my hands.

I thought it would be fun. I liked the idea of a community while running, that it was free and run by volunteers.

Adrian and I were the main run directors for our first 18 months and then he got a job in Auckland so we moved up there.

We’re back in Dunedin now with two children aged three and five – I certainly don’t feel unfulfilled now.

I’m grateful for it keeping on so I can tap into it. It’s fun to see it from the other side.

Tania Hollis, event director

About eight years ago I was doing Couch to 5k, I was living in Rockingham in Australia and looking for somewhere to do my 5km.

Parkrun had just started up there, the first time I went I volunteered to see what it was all about. Then I did my first 5km.

It was such a nice community.

Then in 2015 I moved back to Dunedin. I knew for about a year that I would be coming back, there wasn’t a parkrun here and I thought I’d have to start it up.

Shortly after I had that thought the parkrun started up here. I contacted the ED (Emma Lawrence) to say I would be happy to help out. She and her husband then moved up to Auckland and I joined the group who volunteered to keep it going.

I’ve never mentioned this before but the thing with parkrun is you don’t need the confidence to be an event director.

By doing parkrun you ease into it by doing a little bit of volunteering. By the time you become ED you’re very familiar with how it all works.

I feel I’m the caretaker for Dunedin parkrun, when there comes a time when I want to step back the next caretaker will step in, it’s nothing to do with me personally.

The course

Dunedin is a bit hilly. We’re very lucky to be in the Botanical Gardens. However Emma managed to swing that is amazing. In Dunedin there aren’t many places you could do a 5km that would fit parkrun’s requirements.

Doing our loop-the-loops certainly works. Because we’re restricted in the garden we do two laps in the bottom section and then you head over the river into the top section, which is where the hills are and the stairs of despair. You go twice around that.

It’s amazing the people who don’t listen to the first timer’s briefing, often they try to get out of doing the second lap on the top hilly loop!

parkrunners should come here to enjoy the Botanic Gardens and do the hardest parkrun in New Zealand – and meet up with a great parkrun community down here.

While in Dunedin…

Baldwin St, steepest street in the world

Royal Albatross Centre

St Clair beach

Toitū Otago Settlers Museum

Otago Museum

PHOTO: Dunedin parkrun facebook page