Port Chalmers, with neighbouring Careys Bay, Sawyers Bay and Roseneath is 14 km north-east of Dunedin, on the north side of Otago Harbour.
The locality, known to Māori as Kōpūtai, is where local Ngāi Tahu sold the Otago block to the New Zealand Company in 1844. A European town was founded there when Otago was settled in 1848. It was named after Thomas Chalmers, the Free Church of Scotland leader who had died the previous year.
The Union Steam Ship Company started there in 1875, and one early building – a pumphouse – still survives to this day at Port Chalmers.