Matanaka reddish-brown pitsawn timber farm buildings across the paddock on a stormy day

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.

Please note that Matanaka Farm Buildings are located on a private farm, and access may be restricted at short notice.

Opening Hours

Closed Aug 12th - Oct 1st

10.00am - 4.00pm

Please no dogs, not even on a leash. Some walking required, sensible shoes recommended.

parking no-smoking




Private road - Matanaka Drive,
off Edinburgh Street,

+64 27 499 4848

Accessibility Accessibility

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.

Cafe 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.

More info

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.

Explore Ōtākou | Otago heritage
The Otago Central Rail has it all – four to five days of cycling through the most stunning scenery, safe, easy and mostly off-road trails, historic pubs and gold mining sites, and great kiwi hospitality throughout.

Photo: Tim Hawkins / Otago Central Rail Trail Trust

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