Olveston Historic Home


5 Rankers Reviews

4 Face-to-Face

16 Heritage Attractions

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The Billiard Room
Olveston Historic Home from the gardens
The Theomin Family 1922 Fiat 510 Tourer motor car
The Great Hall


A ‘must visit’ for lovers of arts and culture; a visit to Olveston offers a unique glimpse into the extraordinary lives of one of New Zealand’s wealthiest and generous families.

‘Olveston’ was the home of businessman, collector and philanthropist David Theomin. Designed by the English architect, Sir Ernest George, the house was built with every modern convenience including central heating, a gas generator for electricity, a shower in each bathroom and heated towel rails, an internal telephone system and service lift. A passionate collector, the house was extensively and lavishly furnished with exotic artefacts and furniture, prized artworks and antiques, carpets and rugs, ceramics, bronze statues and weaponry all purchased during the families many travels around the world.

Set within a 1-acre ‘Garden of National Significance’, at on the hill above George Street, Olveston at 42 Royal Terrace, is within walking distance from the Octagon.


Feature Value Info


South IslandCoastal OtagoDunedin


  • Heritage Attractions

Business Times

Olveston is open 364 days of the year, 9am - 5pm, (Christmas Day only by prior arrangement).

Visiting Olveston is by guided tour only; tours of the house reveal the extraordinary lives of the Theomin family and allow a glimpse of one of New Zealand’s wealthiest families with strong artistic and community focus.
1-hour public tours commence daily at: 9.30 am, 10.45 am, 12 noon, 1.30pm, 2.45pm and 4pm. (reservations are recommended). To fully appreciate the garden in the season, the outside architecture and the family motor car (a 1921 Fiat 510 Tourer) and browse in the gift shop, then approximately 1 hr 15 min is recommended.

Tours are conducted in English. Pre-booked group tours (8 people or more) can been booked at any time during the day and are available English, Cantonese, Dutch, French, German, Spanish Japanese and Mandarin speaking.

Car parking is available around Olveston. We have visitor parking permits for use around the house (120 minutes). Please enquire at reception upon arrival if a permit is required.


Martin Bakker's avatar

Martin Bakker


Ranking: 9/10

Being introduced to the house of the family by an enthusiastic guide feels like a privilege. Great collection of all sorts of things.

Reviewed almost 6 years ago

Thank You - to the thousands of travellers that have contributed to our Top Voted NZ Activities Map - it's free from Rankers.

Linda Morey's avatar

Linda Morey


Ranking: 9/10

This was one of the highlights of our 2 week trip. We arrived about 5 minutes late because we decided to walk from the town centre - allow plenty of time, the streets are steep. Fortunately we were able to join the tour that had begun. It is a beautifully preserved home and gardens. The tour was very informative and friendly. We were able to stay behind after the tour and were taken back to the bits that we had missed. Thanks.

Reviewed over 7 years ago

Alexander Zimmer's avatar

Alexander Zimmer


Ranking: 9/10

$15, great house, impressive and fair price.

Reviewed over 7 years ago

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Bev Stott's avatar

Bev Stott

New Zealand

Ranking: 8/10

Fascinating glimpse into the past.

Reviewed over 8 years ago and experienced in February 2013

Gabriel Faber's avatar

Gabriel Faber

United States

Ranking: 7/10

Didn't really like the girl taking the tour.

Reviewed almost 14 years ago