For such a little place, Wedderburn in Central Otago has a surprising number of points of interest.
Set at the base of the Hawkdun and Mt Ida Ranges, Wedderburn is situated on SH85, 10 minutes from Ranfurly and 50 minutes from Alexandra.
Wedderburn owes its existence to a hotel originally built in about 1862, which provided an overnight stop and changeover for wagoners and coach drivers on their way to the goldfields and sheep runs of Central Otago.
First settled in the 1860s, farming became the main activity in Wedderburn after gold ran out from the early 1900s. It was a base while the railway was being constructed and later in the 1920s and 30s it also provided a base to the Public Works Department.
The township is a convenient halfway stop on the highest point of the Otago Central Rail Trail. It has accommodation, a private information/rest centre and refreshments available at the local pub. There is an irrigated golf course with interesting terrain and an outdoor curling dam, which is used during winter when freezing conditions prevail.
The Wedderburn railway goods shed made famous by acclaimed Central Otago artist Grahame Sydney in his painting ‘July in Maniototo’, had been removed, but was subsequently restored to its original site at the southern end of the township (on the Rail Trail). The only remaining Vogel 5 railway station and ticket office in New Zealand is adjacent to the shed.
Wedderburn is within cycling distance to Oturehua and a comfortable distance to the many country towns on the Maniototo Plains.
Take the time to stop and Wedderburn will reward you with its warm hospitality; restful, peaceful ambience; and a great deal more than you might have expected on your Central Otago journey.