When Maori first moved through the Maniototo, flowing red tussocks covered the valleys and hillsides. On route to the West Coast in their search for Pounamu (NZ Greenstone or Jade) the name Maniototo or ‘Plains of Blood’ was given by Maori. Massive fires have long destroyed most of the tussocks but the name remains.
Discovery of gold opened up the Maniototo and, throughout this vast landscape and scarred hillsides, you will discover mud brick buildings and old coaching inns, stone buildings, fences and cemeteries – all remnants of a once prosperous bygone era. Initially, Naseby was the main ‘center’ of the Maniototo with banks, council buildings and most essential services starting here as the population grew when the search for gold became a hunger. Some thirty years, later the railway came through from Dunedin and a post office and ‘coach stop’ at the Naseby turn-off (then named Eweburn) was relocated to the current site of Ranfurly town. This was deemed a more ‘central’ site and, over time, the main service buildings were brought from Naseby to Ranfurly.
The Maniototo Heritage Trail covers some 200 kms of sealed and graveled roads. You may decided to do parts of the trail or complete it over two days. Visit historic townships, remote country pubs and cemeteries. The trail provides many places to explore and to view the vast landscape.
The Maniototo Heritage Trail brochure includes full map and descriptions and is available at Ranfurly i-site, various locations around the Maniototo or can be downloaded in pdf format here … Maniototo Heritage Trail Brochure 2015
Ranfurly Art Deco Gallery & Art Deco Walk
The Centennial Milk Bar in Ranfurly is a classic building of modernist design and houses the only Art Deco Museum in the Southern Hemisphere, the Ranfurly Art Deco Gallery.
These two buildings house Maniototo’s only historical museum and are well worth the time spent exploring the displays and reading stories of hardship and toil. Learn about the discovery of gold in the 1860’s, the downturn when gold ran out and high country farming.
Gain an insight into a land and people very unique to New Zealand … (more)
Where else can you still buy fresh fruit and veges, pies, drinks, Grahame Sydney prints and stamps for your postcards in a store than has been operating under the same name for over 100 years?
A true Maniototo gem, be sure to buy your ‘staples’ when staying in Oturehua or at least call in for a photo and a pie.