Walk, swim, surf, fish or simply relax in these picturesque villages on the coast north of Dunedin.
Waikouaiti sits on State Highway 1 thirty minutes north of Dunedin. To the east the Hawksbury Lagoon Wildlife Refuge provides an ideal habitat for birds, particularly wetland species. An easy walk around the lagoon leads to the Waikouaiti Beach which stretches between two headlands, Cornish Head to the north where you can visit the oldest farm buildings in New Zealand at Matanaka Historic Farm, and to the south Huriawa Peninsula, a historic Maori pa site.
In the main street you’ll find good food and coffee, a history museum, and quirky shops selling modern and vintage homeware. You are welcome to play a round of golf at the Waikouaiti Golf Club situated off Edinburgh Street or simply visit the local historical places.
The small seaside settlement of Karitane, set in rolling country near the mouth of the Waikouaiti River, is a popular holiday retreat for Dunedin people.
Karitane is renowned for its scenic beauty, golden beach, tranquil environment, and Maori and European history. Today, Karitane is a base for various ocean activities, including kayaking and fishing charters. A walk along the beach and the walkways of the Huriawa Peninsula will often provide encounters with fur seals or sea lions, as well as the wide range of sea birds.
To the keen surfer, the Dunedin coast offers uncrowded beaches with plenty of surf breaks. There is a consistent swell, white sand and clear waters.
Hawksbury was the site of Dunedin’s Cherry Farm Psychiatric Hospital, and the name Cherry Farm is still widely used within Otago for the hospital’s former site. The name Hawksbury (often misspelled Hawkesbury) was an early English name for the settlement at Waikouaiti, and is still applied to the nearby Hawksbury Lagoon and several businesses there. The developers of Hawksbury Village probably changed the name from Cherry Farm because of the social stigma attached to psychiatric hospitals. The area’s association with mental health care is maintained in the name of the Hawksbury Community Trust a service set up in 1992 to rehouse former hospital patients, which has since opened 10 further homes in Dunedin and Christchurch. Hawksbury is sometimes erroneously referred to as Evansdale owing to the prominent signage on the Evansdale Cheese factory, which moved to Hawkesbury from Evansdale in the 1990s.
The nearby Matanaka Farm which contains New Zealand’s oldest surviving farm buildings, was first settled by the pioneer whaler Johnney Jones in 1840. Cherry Farm was named for Captain Cherry, the master of one of Jones’s ships.
This area is now home to a number of residents. The original indoor swimming pool is still onsite and used by residents and locals alike.
If you have any questions or want more information then please feel free to give us a call or drop us a line and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.
Community Engagement Manager – Sonya 027 253 9205
Editor – Rachel 022 023 1175
The Progress of Waikouaiti Area
Hours: Tuesday and Thursday 10am – 3pm – or by arrangement
East Otago Events Centre
203 Main Road