Let's live in...Roslyn

HARBOUR VIEWS: From the top of the Roslyn over bridge the view of Dunedin is pretty fantastic!
HARBOUR VIEWS: From the top of the Roslyn over bridge the view of Dunedin is pretty fantastic!

The suburb is upmarket yet unassuming - a favourite destination for housewives, professionals, and students alike to meet for coffee or stroll its foliage-laden streets.

Why should I move there?

Roslyn has the whimsy of a small town - genteel homes, a shopping village and just enough eateries on offer to keep you happy - but is directly connected to the heart of Dunedin. Zoom down Stuart St and you'll be in the Octagon in under 10 minutes.

RETAIL WONDERLAND NO MORE: The suburb has lost five retailers in less than a year but there are still the necessities on offer - two medical centres!
RETAIL WONDERLAND NO MORE: The suburb has lost five retailers in less than a year but there are still the necessities on offer - two medical centres!

Dunedin is a university city and a visit to sunny, windswept Roslyn can feel like a holiday away from the student ghetto in North Dunedin. Graduates and older students who no longer have anything to prove by living in squalor often move up the hill to Roslyn in search of a more civilised existence, which tends to be a few degrees warmer than life on the flat.

The Roslyn Overbridge offers one of the best views in Dunedin - it looks straight down Stuart St, across the harbour to the sunny Otago Peninsula, and beyond. This piece of humble infrastructure is an Instagrammer's delight

Why it's not for everyone

Though not far by car to the central city or North Dunedin, getting to Roslyn by foot or cycle is something of a labour of love. Once you've arrived, you'll need to take extra care negotiating the main roundabout and narrow footpaths.

However, some may prefer being sweaty and out of breath to the stress of not being able to find a park. Unless you're lucky enough to nab one of the paltry few on offer, you may have to park so far away as to obviate the point of driving in the first place.

Roslyn's rental accommodation is generally pricier than much of Dunedin's, and it has a dearth of public seating and illuminated verandahs. Advice for fashion-apathetic night walkers: wear a head torch.

What's the transport like?

Dunedin is hardly known for its public transport prowess but Roslyn is reasonably well covered. The number 66 and 67 buses runs between Roslyn, Otago University and the Octagon during the weekdays and all day Saturday, and the 68 runs in the evening on weekdays and all day Sunday.


Roslyn is close by to a handful of schools. Columba College is one of the Dunedin's "most distinguished" schools and is best spoken of in a posh accent. Columba is co-ed from years 1-6, and girls-only from 7-13. An integrated presbyterian school with boarding capacity, it is close to Roslyn's border with Maori Hill. 

Nearby is Otago Boys' High School, located on the slopes below Roslyn in Littlebourne. 

The closest primary school is in Kaikorai. Early childhood education options include Roslyn Kindergarten and Little Wonders.


Roslyn is not the retail wonderland it once was. The suburb has lost five retailers in less than a year, including Roslyn Toy and Book Centre, children's clothing shop Cradle and the New World supermarket. Italian restaurant Zucchini Bros and women's clothing store White By Design have both relocated into the city.

However, Roslyn still has a Fresh Choice supermarket, a florist, Erban day spa, a pharmacy, a physiotherapist and a gift shop. Roslyn has two medical centres (not for emergencies) - Roslyn Health Centre and Amity Health Centre. 

The suburb is also a stone's throw from Dunedin's only private hospital, Mercy Hospital in Maori Hill. 

Moana pool and gym is about halfway between Roslyn and the city centre, and has both fitness and recreation facilities (read: hydroslides).

Where to eat out

Roslyn is home to a few iconic establishments, not least the fabled Highgate Bridge Bakery, also known as the "Friday shop". It sells some of the best pastries in the city, but only on a Friday morning. It stays open for as long as it takes for its treats to sell out - the cash-only transactions have been known to set land-speed records. So great is its popularity, the bakery can have lines out the door by 7am even in the dead of winter. Insider's tip: call ahead during the week and place your order - that way you can pick up your treats during daylight hours.

For your baking fix on other days of the week, venture towards Maori Hill to Spelt, whose lackluster exterior belies its brilliant coffee and baked fare. Spelt sells the best sourdough bread in Dunedin, and possibly the best custard squares on the planet. Other favorites amongst regulars are the danishes and pies. Also, Spelt is one of the few places in Dunedin you can buy a cronut. Prepare to take your treats away, however - there is extremely limited seating. 

Luna is the closest you'll come to fine dining in Roslyn - its classy aesthetic is dampened only by TVs on the walls in the bar area. The two-storey restaurant has spectacular views of the city and harbour which can be enjoyed from in or outside, and is a popular venue for birthdays and functions. The meals are of superb quality and decent size - you definitely get what you pay for.

For those keen on Asian flavours, head to Kamome for Japanese, or to Zaika's or Indian Spice for Indian fare. They're reasonably priced and offer a more sophisticated vibe than their genre's counterparts in town. Bonus: Kamome makes sushi fresh per order and takes orders over the phone.

Rhubarb Cafe has a vaguely careworn aesthetic, but is nonetheless explosively popular with weekend brunch-goers. It has a great range of cabinet food.

A Coffee Culture has recently opened on the ground floor of the historic fire station. It has a great view of the harbour, and claims to have the best coffee in the best crockery.  For lovers of chain-store coffee, it can't be beaten.

Head slightly further afield towards Maori Hill and you'll find No. 7 Balmac, not technically in Roslyn but if you're already up that way, you may as well go there for lunch. Their house burger is guaranteed to satisfy the belly and the soul. 

Roslyn also has a fish and chip shop, and a KFC nearby.


Roslyn has both lawn bowls and lawn tennis clubs. The suburb lends its name to one of Dunedin's most prominent football teams, Roslyn Wakari, which is based in the adjacent suburb of Kaikorai.

Where to buy/rent

Roslyn's most iconic real estate has to be the art-deco Fire Station Apartments. The six flats have two to three bedrooms each, and access to a shared roof terrace and spa pool. Rent is between $450 and $600 per week. 

Market values 

Edinburgh Realty general manager Mark Miller said Roslyn's entry-level prices are approximately $250,000. The average value in the area would be in the $400,000 - 450,000. Roslyn has several properties in the "$1 million plus" range.

Best buy:

A two-storey, restored historic home, currently being used as a bed and breakfast. Its rateable value is $330,000 but it's on the market for $427,000. 

What the locals say:

Zoe Sole: Great little distraction from the busyness of central Dunedin, great food and coffee (Rhubarb, Friday bakery and Luna) and beautiful 360 degree views of Dunedin! My flatmates are also obsessed with Coffee Culture up there!

Sharon Cliffe: My mum has an apartment in Roslyn and loves the area. Everything you need is there - cafés, bar, restaurants, doctor, pharmacy and supermarket. The views are amazing and it's very quiet and safe to walk around. Very friendly residents too.

Sylvia Pyatt: We have the cutest little flat beside the Friday morning bakery (yum!). We have a view of the beautiful city below, a gorgeous little veggie garden, and the best coffee shops Dunedin has to offer just 30 seconds away. Being is Roslyn feels like being in a different city, compared to the Dunedin I knew in my early scarfie days!