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“A fascinating insight into a previous era”

Olveston Historic Home
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Theomin Art Collection Guided Tour
Ranked #4 of 106 things to do in Dunedin
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: <1 hour
Owner description: A 'must visit' for lovers of art, heritage and history, Olveston is lavishly furnished with exotic artefacts, prized artworks, antique furniture, ceramics and statues from around the world. The 35-room Edwardian mansion was designed for a one of Dunedin's most prominent businessmen, philanthropists and collectors during the early 1900s. The house was gifted to the people of Dunedin in 1966, fully furnished with the original contents, Olveston is a time capsule as little has changed inside the house since it was occupied as a family home. The house and its 'Garden of National Significance', within the city's Green Belt, can be experienced at 42 Royal Terrace, within walking distance of Dunedin's Octagon. Entry inside the house is by guided tour only (1 hour, max. 15 People per group). Tours commence daily at: 9.30am, 10.45am, 12 noon, 1.30pm, 2.45pm and 4pm. Group bookings available at a time to suit the group - available on request. Tours are conducted in English. Mandarin, Cantonese, German, French, Japanese and Dutch speaking guides are available for groups on request. The gardens, listed as a New Zealand Gardens Trust 'Garden of National Significance' and the gift shop are open daily and free to the public.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
77 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“A fascinating insight into a previous era”
Reviewed 22 September 2011

The house has been left, intact with all its furniture and ornaments from the time of the Theomin family, the last member, Dorothy dying in the sixties.
We were very lucky in that we were the only people on the tour on the day we went, so had a very individual experience form a very knowledgeable and enthusiastic guide. With a larger group it would undoubtedly be a very different experience.
The gardens are free and the restored family Fiat a real beauty.
Not sure that there is wheelchair access to the upper floors and young children would probably find the tour and the don't touch' rather a challenge

Visited September 2011
Thank Devala R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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685 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
25 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“WOW WOW WOW - and WOW again”
Reviewed 10 September 2011

I did the tour on my own - 1 hour in a house where you cannot touch anything was not for my husband and 6 year old son. It was so interesting, lovingly preserved, informative. I will go again should I ever get to Dunedin. It was the highlight of my trip.

Visited July 2011
2 Thank CarinJapie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Don't miss this house”
Reviewed 5 April 2011

Olveston was recommended to us by our B&B host Angela and we were every grateful she did. This is a house that does not look like a museum but looks as if the owners have just popped out and will be back any moment.
Be warned though, you must go on a tour so don't leave it to the end of the day - you might miss out. Having said that, the tour was fantastic, our guide was so knowledgeable about the family, the building and its contents we came away feeling like we had really learned so much.

Visited March 2011
5 Thank 2Canberratravellers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
88 reviews
47 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 80 helpful votes
“Hidden Gem in Dunedin”
Reviewed 14 March 2011

Locals recommended this over a visit to Larnach Castle and we just loved it. So unique, the home looked like the family were just in another room, a treasure trove with something for everyone. The innovations used were fascinating for the times. Very interesting tour guide.

Visited March 2011
3 Thank YarraVictoria
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Don't miss this fascinating house of treasures!”
Reviewed 16 January 2011

We thought Olveston House was an exceptionally interesting house to visit. There are so many treasures there and so much history, it is hard to take it all in. The guide was very informative and willing to answer any questions. We wish our City Highlights and Olveston House tour (from a cruise ship) had allowed us much more time there.

Visited February 2010
2 Thank Sandi011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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