Set amongst golden, tussock clad hillsides of the Maniototo Plains, Waipiata is a popular recreational destination on the Taieri River.
Waipiata is situated on the Otago Central Rail Trail, 6km from Ranfurly and 30km from Hyde. This corner of the Maniototo Plains was once a thriving railway camp servicing the Central Otago Central Railway line.
Originally named Komako, meaning ‘Bellbird’, the name was later changed to Waipiata, which means glistening water.
A feature of the town has been retained in the iron bridge known locally as the Green Bridge, built in 1896. It is the only flood free crossing of the Taieri River in the Maniototo.
The first school opened in 1891 and a rabbit factory employed 100 people from 1919 to 1921. Even when prices slumped it continued to operate until the 1930s. A further economic boost came with the construction in 1925 of the Waipiata Sanatorium on the Orangapai/Hamiltons Road for patients with tuberculosis. It was later used as a correction facility for first time offenders until becoming En Hakkore (Place of Refreshment), a private religious retreat.
Further up the road is Hamiltons goldfield and the recently restored historical Hamiltons Cemetery.
On the north side of the rail yard is Waipiata Domain. The large sheltered area provides camping facilities, tennis courts and backs onto the popular bowling green. It is also the site of the annual Waipiata Country Ute Muster.
Take a stroll past the old Presbyterian and Anglican churches, manse, workers’ cottages and the Waipiata-Hamiltons Community Library. There is a popular Country Hotel (1899), several self contained holiday homes and Bed & Breakfast accommodation.
Enjoy the peace and tranquility of Waipiata; the perfect place for swimming, fishing and kayaking on the meandering Taieri River.