I lived in Dunedin 8 years and loved it, its just a bit miserable if you have a shit flat/house. We kept our beer in the hallway in winter since it was a comparable temp to the fridge
If you are job hunting get started asap since the students will take up a lot of the part time jobs. There are jobs in retail and restaurants but not a lot else. Also becoming a bit of a tech town if you have some experience there.
Keep an eye out on trademe.co.nz
where most jobs are listed these days.
Try not to live in North Dunedin if you want to save money on rent - this is where all the students want to flat and so the price is high - check out south of the 'Octagon' or even south Dunedin if you have your own transport. Then you can afford to be a bit picky about having a non-mouldy/damp/cold room.
Restaurants are not the greatest, but the Japanese isnt too bad - I went to Jizo a lot since its cheap too. Otherwise Tokyo Garden is okay. Mexican food is crap, Thai Hanoi is pretty good for Vietnamese. The best Indian I had was at Indian Spice (North East Valley) but I may be biased since I lived around the corner for a year.
In general Chinese food in NZ is not great, I haven't tried the Korean places.
Within a days drive
- Moeraki Boulders is worth a look - turn right not left at the entrance so you dont go through the shop and use their staircase (apparently they charge to use it?) You can park down the right and walk there in 5 mins easy instead.
- Katiki point light house: There is a penguin and seal colony there which is free to bview, its just a bit of a gravel road to get htere but is near Moeraki so worth doing both in a day.
- Tunnel Beach: A right of passage to do this walk, though avoid hot days as it is steep in places and a fair walk, bring lunch and your togs for a swim.
- Lots of walking tracks around not far from the central city (ross creek, signal hill) and further out
- Ask the locals for their favorite places