Take a journey off the beaten track to this amazing area, which celebrates nature and history. Soak up the rich heritage in the lovely town of Lawrence where Otago's gold rush began.
Clutha District Museums
- Owaka Museum, The Catlins | Owaka Museum is a popular palace of memories, similar to walking through a 3D storybook. Tales of Maori settlements, shipwrecks and pioneer settlers is a true reflection of The Catlin’s rich history. Click here to visit their website
- Tuapeka Goldfields Museum, Lawrence | This museum provides a great source of the discovery of gold by Gabriel Read in 1861 and fascinating displays depicting the lives of the early settlers to Tuapeka. Genealogy material and Miners’ licence names available for researchers. Click here to check out their Facebook Page
- South Otago Museum, Balclutha | This museum has extensive collections on display of domestic and industrial heritage reflecting 150 years of pioneer endeavor on the fertile plains and river deltas of South Otago. Click here to check out their Facebook Page
- West Otago Vintage Club, Tapanui | The museum has a diverse range of items including vintage tractors, a steam engine, and a display of many household goods and collection of historical information from the West Otago area. Open weekends from 2 p.m. - 4 p.m. Click here to check out their Facebook Page
- Tuapeka Vintage Club, Lawrence | A display of Tuapeka’s mechanical heritage, open every Sunday from 1pm to 4pm. Click here to check out their Facebook Page
Goldmining: Otago’s first gold-rush town was Lawrence. During the height of the goldrush the town’s population was around 11,500; which was double that of Dunedin at the time. Here are some of the key sites:
- Blue Spur - Blue Spur once was one of the most noted mining settlements in Otago.
- Gabriels Gully Interpretation Walk - This is where the Otago Gold Rush officially started. Named after Gabriel Read who found the first nugget.
- Gold fossicking/Gabriels Gully - Click here to learn more about gold fossicking
- Lawrence Chinese Camp - The camp was established during the Otago goldrush in the 1860’s, with an influx of Chinese miners
- Sod Cottage, Milton - Built in the 1860s as a stopover for miners seeking fame and fortune on the goldfields
- Weatherstons Brewery Heritage Site and Daffodils - Open seasonally during September/October.
- Lawrence Cemetery - the resting place of many early settlers and gold mining pioneers.
Coalmining: Coal was first mined in Kaitangata back in 1869, coal was then taken through to Dunedin by rail. In 1879 there was a significant explosion at the mine in which it killed 34 miners. The last underground coal mine closed in 1970.
- Old Southern Cemetery and Tuckett Coal Box Memorial, Kaitangata - a memorial in the old southern cemetery to the men killed in the explosion.