Image: DunedinNZ ©


The proof of a pioneering nation

Otago’s Tohu Whenua are places that tell stories of our people’s pioneering spirit, marking some of the cornerstones of our economic and entrepreneurial livelihood. Experience the innovations and inventions born out of necessity, the wealth evident of an era, and appreciate the industries that set us up to be the self-reliant and prospering country we are today.

TSS Earnslaw

The TSS Earnslaw is one of the world’s oldest and largest remaining steamships and has graced Lake Wakatipu since 1912. In the days before any roads existed, she ferried people, sheep, cattle, mail and supplies to remote lakeside destinations.


This charming town reveals the stories of two very different goldrush communities: the preserved avenue where wealthy European banks and merchants traded, and the restored huts of Chinese miners who lived a much more modest lifestyle.

Bannockburn Sluicings

The Bannockburn Sluicings are a spectacular landscape of cliffs and pinnacles that remain from large-scale water blasting during the 19th century search for gold.

Kawarau Suspension Bridge

Historic Kawarau Suspension Bridge is an innovative feat of engineering that has withstood notorious canyon winds for over 140 years.

Otago Central Rail Trail

Aotearoa New Zealand's original Great Ride, this popular 152km cycle journey follows the Otago Central railway line that once connected isolated communities in Central Otago with Dunedin.

Hayes Engineering Works

Hayes Engineering Works and Homestead belonged to a 19th-century pioneering couple who developed and marketed ingenious labour-saving inventions for pastoral farming, defining the spirit of 'Kiwi ingenuity'.

Totara Estate

It was from this once grand estate just south of Ōamaru that the first shipment of frozen mutton was sent to England in 1882. This marked the start of an export industry that has underpinned New Zealand’s economic prosperity and is now worth billions.

Historic Ōamaru

Ōamaru’s remarkably intact and distinctive Victorian streetscapes reveal a once majestic colonial outpost that played a key part in Otago’s industrial and agricultural heritage.


Built for the wealthy Theomin family who lived here from 1906, Olveston has been loved by visitors since it was gifted to the City of Dunedin in 1966.

Dunedin Railway Station

Ornate and flamboyant, the Dunedin Railway Station is today considered one of the world’s best.

Larnach Castle

Larnach Castle is the ultimate expression of ‘my home, my castle’, where William Larnach spared no expense to build his grand vision.

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