Just north of Dunedin at Waikouaiti, the beach is a beautiful spot for a walk or a picnic. At the north end of the beach there is a road that leads to an interesting group of buildings known as Matanaka Farm. The five buildings are the oldest surviving farm buildings that are still in their original position in the country.
The farm was founded by the Australian whaler Johnny Jones, who bought the land and an adjoining whaling station in 1838. In April 1840, he brought out about twelve families from Sydney to settle the farm. The first buildings, including the stables, were built in 1840, using materials brought from Sydney.
When the settlement of Dunedin began in 1848, Jones supplied the new settlers with produce. The Jones family moved to Dunedin for the better education opportunities for their children in 1854.
After several changes of ownership, in 1965 the farm was purchased by the Ericson family and in 1976 the family gave the Matanaka Farm buildings to the New Zealand Historic Places Trust.
The building aren’t locked so you can wander around, just be aware that these building are in a paddock which obviously has sheep in it from time to time, so watch where you are walking 🙂 It was a nice day when we were there but you get the sense of what it must have been like living there, in the middle of winter, quite isolated and with the cold winds coming straight off the sea.
Closed for lambing – 14 August – 14 October. Viewing daily 8am-6pm. Access to the Matanaka buildings is through private property so please stay on the track. No dogs (even on a leash).
How to get there:
About 40 minutes north of Dunedin travel through Waikouaiti turn right (on the north side of town) into Edinburgh Street, follow this road then turn left at the beach into Matanaka road and follow the sign.
The small building in the middle is a three-seater privy (toilet).
Waikouaiti Beach looking north