The Great Hall, Olveston, Historic House, Dunedin, South Island, New Zealand ©davidwallphoto.com

Olveston House: how the other half lived

Olveston House
View the map

TAP FOR MORE INFO:

Designed by a London architect and built in 1904 – well, this was really something. Ostentatious as all hell, Olveston was also lavishly decorated.

From the outside, it could be considered a bit ‘gingerbread-like’ for some tastes, but perhaps that was the point. The ‘over the top is never enough’ school of architecture. Frank Lloyd Wright would convulse.

The remarkable thing is you can see all that historical bling for yourself: the rooms are all exactly as they were left decades ago. The level of detail is stunning across all 35 of them. That is a lot of rooms for one family, it has to be said. And they weren’t the sort to have rellies crashing on their way through to the albatross colony.

The formal dining room is really something to behold, if only to marvel that people actually lived like that – you can almost smell the roast pheasant and hear the tinkle of sterling silver.

The atmosphere is remarkable. And you could swing a number of cats as well as a pool cue in the billiard room, although you’ll feel savagely underdressed in your boardies and ‘I went to Dunedin and all I got was this stupid t-shirt’ t-shirt.

If it all gets a bit stuffy after room #35, take some air in the half-hectare of gardens that surround this splendid piece of architecture. There is a conservatory/greenhouse with tropical plants the like of which you’d never expect to see in Dunedin. It’s actually a gorgeous spot, a more startling side trip than you might have first imagined.

Explore more...


Be the first to comment on this page. You cannot post comments until you have logged in. Please log in or register if you don't have an account.

More stories like this

Find out more

Heritage and history

Larnach Castle: a vision of past and present

Larnach Castle stands proud and bold on the highest point of the entire Otago Peninsula. Read the story . . . 

Find out more

Natural attractions

Port Chalmers: a cradle made of sea

The clatter and clang of the container terminal, shags drying their wings on the transoms of fishing boats, glistening surf beaches and the lingering feel of the hundreds of years of history.  Read the story . . . 

Find out more

Food and drink

Dunedin city: Edinburgh of the south

‘Dunedin’ is an ancient name for Edinburgh and the resemblance doesn’t stop at the names. Read the story . . . 

Where to stay in Dunedin District

Portobello Village Kiwi Tourist Park Visit website

Located on the Otago Peninsula in the seaside town of Portobello, only a short drive from Dunedin. Close to world-renowned wildlife colonies of royal albatross . . . More . . . 

3.0 /5
3.0 /5
Wains Hotel Dunedin Visit website

The Wains Hotel Dunedin is located in an elegant, Victorian-era building situated right in the heart of Dunedin. Within walking distance of the Octagon city . . . More . . . 

4.2 /5
From $105
4.2 /5
Alcala Motel Dunedin Visit website

Gary Perreau would like to extend a very warm welcome to Alcala Motor Lodge. Stay in our cozy, friendly and affordable motel, centrally located near . . . More . . . 

From $105

Book now

Book now

4.7 /5
From $125
4.7 /5
Best Price Around
Longbourne Lodge Motel Visit website

Hidden down a private, tree llined driveway, Longbourne Lodge is set on five acres of park-like gardens It's just a little different... . . . More . . . 

From $125

Book now

Book now