Olveston House, an unmissable Dunedin attraction, was constructed in the early 1900s and is still decorated as when it was built. The original owner collected unique items worldwide, making this not just a house but a museum. Visitors can view the interior and the large, beautiful gardens.
An Olveston House tour is like touring the world through the eyes of the original owner, businessman and philanthropist David Theomin. He collected items from across the globe, which are now on display. Theomin family members lived in the house until 1966, after which the house was gifted to the city of Dunedin. It’s been a historic house museum ever since.
A guided tour of the house and gardens is a good way to learn about the history and culture of Dunedin, one of New Zealand’s most important cities. Travelers often visit as part of a full-day tour around Dunedin. Such tours usually include a few city attractions, followed by an excursion to see wildlife on the Otago Peninsula.
Things to Know Before You Go
- A guided tour is necessary to see the interior of the house, but the gardens are free.
- Dunedin is a very hilly city and Olveston House is located on a hill, so walking there may not be suited to travelers with mobility issues.
- Not all of Olveston’s guided tours are the same. You can join a tour with morning tea, an art collector’s tour, and other themed options. Check the website for timings.
- Tours operate in English, Mandarin, Cantonese, French, German, and Japanese.
How to Get There
Olveston House is in Royal Terrace in North Dunedin, a suburb quite close to central Dunedin. It’s about a 20-minute walk from the Octagon, the Otago Museum, or the University of Otago. Guided bus tours take you directly to Olveston.
When to Get There
Olveston House is open 9am to 5pm daily year-round, except Christmas Day. Guided tours run six times per day. As this is mostly an indoor activity, and Dunedin sees a lot of rainy days, a visit to Olveston House is an ideal activity when the weather is bad.
Edwardian Games at Olveston
Olveston, built from 1904 to 1906, is an Edwardian-era house. For a fun morning or afternoon with friends or family or to celebrate an event, such as a birthday, book the “Edwardian Games” tour at Olveston. You’ll get the regular guided tour, followed by croquet in the manicured gardens, with a cup of tea or coffee. Bookings should be made a week in advance.