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South Island map showing Port Chalmers
Port
Chalmers

Port Chalmers

Port Chalmers is an historic township roughly twenty minutes' drive from the centre of Dunedin city. The port was established because larger ships cannot into the city sail through the shallow waters of Otago Harbour. Port Chalmers is the docking point for visiting cruises ships.

Port Chalmers is where Dunedin's founding ships the John Wickliffe and the Philip Laing anchored in 1848. In 1846 Charles Kettle surveyed the area to become the deep water port for the adjoining Otago Association settlement which became Dunedin. Port Chalmers was named after Scottish Free Church leader Rev. Thomas Chalmers.

Port Chalmers Main Street

In 1882, the ship Dunedin left Port Chalmers, embarking on the first refrigerated voyage. The ship successfully carried 5000 frozen animals and 250 kegs of butter to London; the other side of the world. This was New Zealand's first meat export, today a major part of the country's economy.

The thriving export industry in Port Chalmers led to a very prosperous latter part of the 19th Century. Many of the town's ornate historic buildings date from this period. These were often were built from the locally quarried stone known as "Port Chalmers Breccia".

Port Chalmers container port and cruise ship

Today the township is known for its arts and culture; with various cafes, galleries and quirky shops dotting the main street of the town along with Chick's Hotel, an iconic performance location for Dunedin musicians and touring bands.

Above the township is what is known as the town belt, a planned area of bush that hugs the township. The belt boasts various walking tracks to places such The Lady Thorne Rhododendron Dell as well as the track that leads to the Scott memorial. Captain Scott left for his Antarctic expedition to the South Pole from Port Chalmers in 1910. Scott and his crew tragically died on the return journey.

Port Chalmers with Iona Church


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Port Chalmers News

 18 Sep 2017 

Otago Daily Times
Port Chalmers in for noisy 9 months
Otago Daily Times
Port Chalmers residents are in for a noisy nine months of daily hammering as Port Otago begins installing 138 30m-tall concrete-filled steel piles at the town's multipurpose wharf. Each pile will take about a day to install as it is driven deep into ...

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