Home of the world famous fence strainer and NZ’s oldest continuously operating general store 

Originally called Rough Ridge, the arrival of the railway in 1907 saw this Ida Valley township change back to its Maori name ‘Oturehua’ (meaning The Sun God). It was also the site of the biggest construction camp on the Otago Central Railway. The land around Oturehua was a source of silcrete, an extremely hard rock Maori crafted into blades to hunt and cut up Moa. On the southern outskirts of town is the historic Hayes Engineering Works established in 1895 and where millwright turned engineer, Ernst Hayes developed the Hayes Permanent Wire Strainer that is used to this day throughout NZ and much of the world. Another Oturehua must-see is Gilchrist's Store, NZ’s oldest continuously operating general store. Opened in 1899, in 1902 the store moved next-door to its current location where brands of yesteryear are displayed alongside today’s favourites. North of the township a few hundred metres detour up Reef Road takes you to the Golden Progress Mine where Central Otago’s last poppet head straddles one of numerous shafts sunk to reach elusive gold-bearing quartz rock.




Population: 27

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Crow's Nest Accommodation

Tagged as: Tourist Park / Camping, Backpackers, Self - Contained

Just 100 m. from the Otago Central Rail Trail.  Multiple Accommodation options in Oturehua. 


Backpacker, cabin, & tent site from $15 to $90 p/p a night.  

Doubles rate for cabins $110 - $145 p/night

Child rates apply – 10 years and under.

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Oturehua Railway Hotel

Tagged as: Hotel, Historic

Whether you are riding or walking the Central Otago Rail Trail or driving through the Ida Valley stop for a while and enjoy the stunning views of Rough Ridge and the Hawkdun Ranges from our large family beer garden or alternatively warm up by our cosy fire on our comfortable couches.


$60.00 per person for two people or more. Single rate $75.00.

This rate includes a continental breakfast.

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Braeside Cottage

Tagged as: Bed & Breakfast, Self - Contained, Farmstay

Previously used as a shearer’s quarters, the cottage has beautiful views over the valley – sunrises over Rough Ridge, the distinctive Hawkduns to the North, and stunning evening skies over Blackstone Hill in the west.


Dinner and Breakfast are provided at Braeside, and are included in your room rate.

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Gilchrists Store & The Old Shop B&B

Tagged as: Bed & Breakfast, Historic

The Otago Central Rail Trail has some wonderful accommodation experiences.  As the name suggests “The Old Shop B & B” was once a store, the original Gilchrists Store in fact that was opened in the 1890’s. What was 'out the back of the shop' now offers comfortable accommodation for up to six people...


2 persons $70.00 per head,  3 to 6 persons $65.00 per head
Includes continental breakfast.

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Hayes Engineering Cafe

There is a cafe in one of the historical mud brick buildings which is part of Hays Engineering Works and Homestead. Closed over winter.

Oturehua Railway Hotel

Situated half way along the Rail Trail we are your ideal stopover and children are welcome. A full range of meals and snacks are available, specialty coffees and Central Otago wines.

Gilchrist's Oturehua Store

This is a working historical general store and has been operating continuously under the name of "Gilchrist" since 1902.They stock fresh fruit and vegies, groceries, pies and sandwiches, ice-creams, lollies, Grahame Sydney prints, and much more.

Hayes Engineering Museum

Hayes Engineering Works was an important hub for New Zealand innovation, with a variety of tools and farm equipment having been invented there. The inventor, Ernest Hayes, is most notable for inventing the Hayes Wire Strainer which is still used on fences throughout the world to this day. See the Engineering Works that still comes to life, or discover the fascinating story of the Hayes family as you wander through the restored homestead.

Contact: ph 03 444 5801

Email hayes@heritage.org.nz


Oturehuas Gilchist Store

Visit Oturehuas Gilchist StoreThis historic building in the centre of Oturehua town is one of the best known stores in Central Otago.  Built in 1899 this store is a rare delight for any nostalgia enthusiast, successfully merging the old and the new.  The shelves boast memorabilia such as the original telephone exchange, an antique bacon slicer, tinned coffee and food from the late 1800’s.  Present day goods are also sold.

Golden Progress Mine

A good opportunity to stretch the legs, the Golden Progress mine can be found ten minutes off the Rail Trail by following the sign-post on the town’s outskirts on the way to Wedderburn. Note that the mine is normally closed to the public in spring time due to lambing.

Oturehua Tennis Courts

There are community tennis courts on the edge of town which are available to the general public.


Curling on the Ida Burn Dam can occur during the winter months if the ice is thick enough. The dam hosts the ancient curling Bonspiel tournament.

Ph: 03 444 9878


Hays Engineering & Homestead 'Live' Operating Days

Experience the remarkable belt- driven Hays Engineering Works in operation wander the grounds and the view the interior of the grand homestead.

Where: 39 Hays Road, Oturehua

Guided tours of the Works (45 minutes)

On the hour from 10.30am - 3.30pm


The Rail Trail Guide Book

The single most important resource when travelling the Central Otago Rail Trail

A beautifully crafted book with amazing photography by Peter Andrews showing Central Otago as it truly is, one of the most rugged, extreme and beautiful locations on the planet. Stunning scenery, amazing and important historical and current information, detailed maps, lists of accommodation, frequently asked questions, where to eat, how far between towns, etc. It’s all in here.

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