Port Chalmers has much to offer for such a small town. There are three historic churches in Port Chalmers alone. The Anglican Church is over the road on the corner of Grey and Scotia Streets and the Catholic Church is on Magnetic Street. All are beautiful buildings.
The only stretch of the harbour that does not have a State Highway running alongside it is Back Beach. This is a lovely stretch of the harbour for a morning walk. It takes around an hour to walk the full loop and has the added bonus of being able to view the Russell Moses sculpture or waka at low tide.
Again at low tide a walk to Deborah Bay will take you past the bones of old boats on the shoreline. This walk takes you past the Carey’s Bay Historic Hotel which is a lovely place to stop for a drink/coffee/bite to eat.
There are a number of lovely bushwalks on the hills above Port Chalmers as well. A visit to the original cemetery or the current cemetery taking in the Lady Thorn Rhododendron Dell is a lovely walk at any time of the year.
Scott’s Memorial sits above the town looking across Port Chalmers and over to Taiaroa Heads.
The Ralph Hotere Sculpture Garden, Oputae, is a short walk from the Manse Bed and Breakfast at the top of the hill. The Sculpture Garden houses four impressive works. Ralph Hotere, Chris Booth, Russell Moses and Robin Kahukiwa each have representative works installed.
The Port Chalmers Maritime Museum is well worth a visit and can be found at the bottom of the hill opposite the Library. The museum is open seven days a week. Visit www.portmuseum.org.nz
St Martins, or Quarantine Island as some call it, lies off Back Beach and makes for an interesting visit. Trips can be arranged provided the weather is fine.
For those who are interested in fishing Coastal Otago Charters operates out of Port Chalmers – bookings are essential. Visit www.coastalotagocharters.co.nz for more information.
Aramoana has two of the most beautiful beaches around. Aramoana is a 15 minute drive from Port Chalmers. In the evening penguins can often be seen coming in for the night and seals are usually lounging around on the Mole (Breakwater at the entrance to the harbour).
Long Beach, Murderers Beach, Purakaunui Beach and Moputahi are also all lovely beaches in close proximity.
The Orokonui Ecosanctuary (one of the most recently established in the country) is a ten minute drive up the hill and is open daily. For more information visit www.orokonui.org.nz
Seaport Tours offer tours either on foot or by van and customise trips to suit your needs.
The Otago Peninsula has many attractions as well including Larnach’s Castle, the Albatross Colony and Penguin Place.
The Chinese Garden is in the Central city and is the only garden of its sort built by Chinese labour and to a Chinese design in the Southern hemisphere
There are a number of local eateries which provide a good range of meals.
The Carey’s Bay Historic Hotel serves lunches and dinners seven days a week and specialises in seafood. www.careysbayhotel.co.nz
The Tall Poppy serves brunch/lunch Wednesday to Sunday from 10am and dinner Friday and Saturday from 6pm.
The Small Poppy serves pizzas Wednesday to Sunday evenings.
The Port Royale Café is open seven days a week for breakfast and lunch .
The Portsider is open seven days a week for dinner and on weekends for lunch. The Portsider specialises in craft beers, rims and whiskeys.
Chick’s Hotel is a popular alternative music venue and the Carey’s Bay Historic Hotel has regular music events.www.chickshotel.co.nz