Aotearoa New Zealand’s oldest surviving European farm buildings are set in an exposed paddock high above the Ōtākou, Otago coast, five reddish-brown pitsawn timber structures stark against a slate-grey sea. Visit the schoolhouse, beautifully simple and unadorned barn, the little storehouse, stables and crowd favourite, three-seater communal privy – the ultimate loo with a view.
Matanaka may close in High Winds
Matanaka is a group of one-storey farm buildings, with single steps and uneven surfaces. The buildings are located off a short track (approximately 400m) through trees and across a paddock making it difficult for those with mobility issues. Unfortunately, there is no access for people in wheelchairs.
Food and Drink
Matanaka is located within a working farm. We ask that visitors respect the farm owners and animals on the farm and don’t picnic within the grounds. If you would like to picnic nearby, we recommend the beach nearby or Hawkesbury Lagoon. There are also a selection of cafés and eateries located a short drive from the farm in Waikouaiti.
This is a smoke and vape free site.
Children and whānau
Both inside and out, there are plenty of things for kids to do. Inside, you can explore the farm buildings and schoolhouse, imagine what life would have been like on the rural coast as a kid. Check out the boat inside one of the buildings. How did it get there? Or investigate the famous three-seater toilet (just remember it’s not a working toilet).
Outside, there is plenty of spaces to stretch little legs, but watch out for the joys of farming life with farm animal poo throughout the paddock. Gumboots are always a good idea!
Please remember to supervise children.
Things to remember
Matanaka is located within a working farm, when visiting we ask that you respect the farm owners and animals. Dogs especially are not allowed at Matanaka as they can endanger the health and welfare of livestock on the farm.
As the farm buildings are set in a paddock at times the ground can be wet and muddy. Remember to wear appropriate footwear, as well as a hat, sunscreen and jacket to prepare for four seasons in one day.
There is no toilet located at Matanaka.
We care for some important taonga (treasures) in our collection and our heritage buildings have lived a long life, so some rooms or items may be off limits at times for conservation and maintenance.
Some rooms may be dimly lit and cold depending on the weather and time of year.
Not sure where to start?
There’s plenty of heritage throughout the stunning Otago landscape. We’ve put together some ideas to get you started.
Photo: Tim Hawkins / Otago Central Rail Trail Trust