Built by David Theomin in 1906 and bequeathed, with all its contents, to the city of Dunedin in 1966, the beautiful 35-room Olveston House is a stunning example of the stately architecture created for the privileged families of Dunedin’s high society.
Your tour provides an intimate glimpse of an era’s elegant lifestyle and the dreams and achievements of the family who lived out its days in this graceful Jacobean-style brick and plaster mansion.
Merchant, piano importer, music lover and art enthusiast, David Theomin poured his heart and soul into the creation of this grand estate and its beautiful manicured garden. With the help of his wife, who hailed from a distinguished Melbourne family, the home grew resplendent with massive fireplaces, colorful stained glass windows and an impressive art collection.
Both David and Marie were passionate patrons of the arts and during their extensive travels they collected some 240 paintings and brought back numerous artifacts from China and Japan. They still grace the 21 rooms that your guide will highlight during your comprehensive tour.
Also featured on this intriguing half-day excursion are the glorious gardens, ponds and meandering paths of the internationally renowned Dunedin Botanic Garden. Let your imagination run wild as you explore New Zealand’s oldest public garden, sited next to New Zealand’s oldest college, the prestigious Otago University.
Established in 1863 and extensively enlarged during the early years of the 20th century, this 72-acre oasis forms part of Dunedin’s Town Belt, a circle of green that surrounds the inner city. The lower gardens feature rose and herb plots, a duck pond, band rotunda, Japanese garden and the rippling waters of Lindsay Creek.
Split by Lovelock Avenue, a winding public road, the upper gardens are home to the famed Rhododendron Dell, which has graced the southeast corner of the garden from its earliest days. Also found are an African garden, wetlands garden, and small aviary.
In addition to your house and garden tour, a narrated scenic drive showcases expansive views of lovely Otago Harbour and its colorful beach communities plus photo stops at two of the city’s most notable attractions.
Visit the Octagon, an eight-sided plaza that forms the core of Dunedin’s imposing business district, and the Dunedin Railway Station, a jewel in New Zealand’s architectural crown.