Public Gardens


The Garden

Olveston’ was built in 1904 for Dunedin businessman, collector and philanthropist David Theomin, his wife Marie and their two children Edward and Dorothy and completed late in 1906. The house was furnished with artworks, antiques, fabrics and furnishings from around the word. Set on a gently sloping acre adjoining the tree-covered town belt, the 35-room mansion, was gifted to the city of Dunedin, complete with the original contents by Miss Dorothy Theomin in 1966. 

Olveston's formal garden is structured around original terraces, paths and flowing lawns. The garden features a large conservatory that has been recently restored based upon the original plans of 1904. The heated conservatory features a display of plants all year round. 

The individual spaces that make up the garden include many original plantings of fine rhododendrons and native plants. There are a number of seats around the grounds to allow visitors some rest and relaxation while taking in the special vistas that the garden provides. 

The garden is tended all year round and provides the visitor with another interesting dimension of the life lived at Olveston. A visit would not be complete without a walk around the gardens. 

The garden also contains the garage, with the Theomin Family motor car 1922 Fiat 510 Tourer. This limousine was a classic example of elegant European motoring. 3.4 litres of driving pleasure, the car was used by the Theomin's for many journeys into Central Otago and up the east coast of the South Island.

View Map


Garden Details

42 Royal Terrace Dunedin 9016
Olveston Historic Home Garden is 1k north of the Octagon.

Drive uphill along Stuart Street towards Moana Pool. Take 5th right into London Street, take 1st left into Royal Terrace. Olveston is located on the corner of Royal Terrace and Codben Street.

Note: Free street parking, P30 and P90 parking areas are available around the house. 2hr parking permits are available for visitors from reception.
+ 64 3 477 3320 Freephone 0800 100 880
+ 64 3 479 2094
Contact Person
The gardens and gift shop at Olveston are open every day to visitors from 9.30am to 5pm daily, no entry fees apply. Guided tours of Olveston are available at 9.30am, 10.45am, 12noon, 1.30pm, 2.45pm and 4pm daily, entry fees apply. Group bookings available at other times by request.
Garden Size
Olveston is set in an acre of grounds. Allow 1-2hours for your visit.
Entry to the gardens and gift shop is free.
However there are charges to the homestead.
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.
Yes and disabled toilets as well.
Food Available
Morning and afternoon teas for groups available on request.
Olveston's garden tours are followed by a morning or afternoon tea and biscuits in the Drying room.
$15pp includes tour, tea, coffee and biscuits
There is seating around the grounds for you to sit and relax.
Enjoy a tour of Olveston and learn the finer art of croquet; with the expert tuition of a championship croquet player. Over 2-hours, enjoy the house and grounds of Olveston with tea served on the lawn. Bring your own picnic (or we can arrange for you).
Wheelchair Access
The grounds are wheel chair friendly.
Dogs Allowed
Yes but must be on a lease.
Children Allowed
Yes please supervise.
Plants/Other Sales
The gift shop at Olveston is open to the public free of change.
Guided Tours
Entry to Olveston is by guided tour only.Tours are conducted in English
Cantonese, Dutch, French, German, Japanese and Mandarin speaking guides are available for group bookings (10 or more).

Six 1-hour public tours commence daily at:
9.30 am, 10.45 am, 12 noon, 1.30pm, 2.45pm and 4pm.
(reservations are recommended).

The guided tour of the house takes one hour. 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.

Guided tours of the house are managed up to 15 people per tour.
Function Center Available?
Conference Facilities are available.
Other Facilities

Olveston offers a programme of other events and special tours throughout the year.

Olveston Yoga Classes (Summer Session) - 10 week course Open to women of all levels, including complete beginners.

Join us for tutored drawing classes at Olveston.

Internationally renowned shoemaker Takano Keitaro of Clemitas Ginza' Japan, will exhibit a selection of handcrafted luxury shoes in the Great Hall at Olveston for one night only.

Acquired by the Family between the late 1800s and the early 1960s, the Art Collection contains many prized works by local and international artists.

For an intriguing tour of Olveston, join a member of the Housekeeping team and learn the ‘art’ of keeping a grand home, such as Olveston, in good order. Peek inside the safe and explore areas of the house not generally open to the public.

Enjoy a tour of Olveston and learn the finer art of croquet; with the expert tuition of a championship croquet player.