The Great Critic Suburb Review

The Great Critic Suburb Review

The journey from hall to flat is like from womb to breast; it involves sweat, tears, and a lot of involvement from your mother. But where to even start looking? Let’s say you hop onto TradeMe Property, ready to search - but what suburb do you pop into that little box? Consider looking beyond the obvious Castle Street spots, Dunedin has a lot of suburbs that are treasures waiting to be opened. God, I feel like I’m advocating for gentrification. Thankfully, students are poor, so it’s almost like the opposite. Go forth and lower house prices with your partying.

The prices listed is data I stole from ENZ, who looked at the 2018/2019 average weekly rent for a 3-bedroom unfurnished house in Dunedin. I then divided that by three to figure out a single room price. Maths, baby. Now, obviously, a studio room will be more expensive than a single room you share in a flat of six or whatever. Prices might also have risen since then. Don’t take these prices as gospel, they’re just a vibe about the differences between suburbs.


North Dunedin:

Pros: Close to Uni, you’ll never feel more like a student than when you live in North Dunedin. Fatty Lane, the prized gem of North Dunedin, boasts more takeaway options than you could shake a baby at.

Cons: Broken glass on the street, loud parties at night. If you’re not living for the sesh, you might not want to live here. Often located awkwardly halfway between New World Centre City and New World Gardens.

Average Rent: $133


North East Valley:

Pros: Probably some of the cheapest rent in Dunedin and another student hub. Walking through the botanical gardens to get to university is one of life’s little pleasures. And, of course, Beam Me Up Bagels.

Cons: The op shops are devoid of clothes for anyone under the age of 60, New World is expensive and the bagel shop closes at 2:30pm. There are no liquor shops around for kilometres. You will spend the entire year only drinking either wine or cider.

Average Rent: $120


City Centre:

Pros: Close to town (duh) so no freezing walk back from the clubs at 2am.

Cons: Unless by some God-ordained miracle your flat has a garage, there’s no parking. You don’t need to own a car in Dunedin, but my goodness it helps sometimes. Any sort of greenery or garden is hard to come by too, so you better be content with a late afternoon beer by the pot plants.

Average rent: $138


City Rise:

Pros: Nice big ol’ heritage buildings here. If you have lots of friends, and feel like destroying all your friendships in one flatting experiment, live here. You get a house instead of an apartment for town rent, what’s not to love.

Cons: Again, must I say, the hill. But also you are surrounded by highschoolers, who will loiter around your streets with their uniforms and fancy cell phones. 3pm is a headache.

Average rent: $138


Opoho (macron not included):

Pros: Nice view of the valley, with the SPCA in close proximity for lots of cat cuddles.

Cons: Being close to a Knox cult. The Hill! Oh, the hill. You will have good intentions to go to the SPCA, but never actually go and beat yourself up about it. Also, lots of Professors live in this area, which makes for surreal bus rides, but hey, you might consider that a pro.

Average Rent: it’s a mystery. Probably about NEV prices though.


Pine Hill:

Pros: The nice, posh sounding name. Close drive to Mt Cargill for scenic crying/car sex.

Con: The sounds and traffic from State Highway, the fuck-off hill, having to explain to everyone exactly where you live.

Average Rent: $120


Warehouse Precinct:

Pro: The vibe is closest you’ll ever come to feeling like a girl in a NYC romcom. Beautiful, vintage buildings. Vegan coffee shops and microbreweries, it’s a liberal’s wet dream.

Con: I’d have to sell my organs to afford to rent an apartment here.

Average Rent: Another mystery, but probably for the best we don’t know this one.


South Dunedin:

Pros: Excellent op shops and secondhand furniture. Since not many students live out here, it's easier to find things with a more youthful flare. You’re close to Pak'nSave and The Warehouse for cheap shopping and eating, plus only a short walk away to the beach. Fuck, I could be a real estate agent.

Cons: The walk to uni is devastatingly long, but it is flat. Still, I’d shudder at the price you’d pay in Lime Scooters over the year. If you like to party and stay out late but can’t afford an Uber, this isn’t the best drunk walk home.

Average Rent: $118



Pros: Willowbank chips, and good proximity to Uni/NEV shops/Ross Creek. This is where I buy weed. Just a nice vibe overall.

Cons: A bit dark. Your neighbours will be a weird mix of nerds and ex-Castle Street breathers. You will get addicted to cannabis.

Average Rent: $133

Glenleith/Leith Valley:

Pros: Cheap rent, quiet and close to nature. This is where I imagine Ben Affleck would jog in the mornings in a 90’s film, take that how you will.

Cons: Like Woodhaugh but just more shit. This area doesn’t get much sunlight at all, it’s pretty dark and damp so be warned. No shops or culture.

Average Rent: $136



Pro: Inoffensive

Con: Bland

Average Rent: $136


Maori Hill (macron not included):

Pros: Hot soccer moms. One of the richest suburbs in Dunedin, so some privilege might rub off on you.

Cons: Having to explain to my parents why I would want to live in the same neighborhood as them but not move home. If you so much as let the microwave beep, your neighbours WILL call noise control on you.

Average Rent: Somehow only $150


St Clair:

Pros: Hot surfers. The beach. The ice-skating rink for cute Winter dates. A lot of rich people live here so it’s prime dating territory.

Cons: Don’t even think about walking. You’ll either need a car or be really comfortable with the Dunedin bus system. Every time it’s even remotely sunny, the entirety of Dunedin will flock here, take your parking spaces and steal your seats at your cafes. Thankfully, Dunedin is often grey and bleak.

Average Rent: $134

This article first appeared in Issue 6, 2020.
Posted 4:52pm Sunday 10th May 2020 by Caroline Moratti.