Generic filters
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Search in excerpt

Kiwi towns

What’s so great about Tuapeka

  • 3 minutes

@Tuapeka Mouth Ferry


Tuapeka there are plenty of things to do.

Tuapeka’s fame

  • River punt
  • Residents heritage trust

What to do in Tuapeka, highlights

  • Punt across the river on the free ferry
  • View the Tuapeka Mouth Presbyterian Church built 1909, contact the trust for opening hours
  • View heritage apple tree ‘Warners King’ planted late 1880’s by Brown family
@Tuapeka Mouth Ferry
@Tuapeka Mouth Ferry

Tuapeka Mouth Ferry, (The Punt) operating since 1896. Now a Historic Places Trust Category 1 the punt is officially part of the road, hence its free to use. The punt at Tuapeka Mouth is the only one of its kind in New Zealand. It operates using the strong currents of the Clutha River to navigate.

The punt operates between 10.00 to 2.00 and is dependent on river levels. Tuapeka Mouth Ferry check for up to date information. Tuapeka Mouth was an inland port for paddle steamer boats up until 1939.

Where to take a selfie in Tuapeka

  • The punt
  • Heritage buildings
  • The ancient apple tree (viewed from the road)

Tuapeka for kids

  • The punt, perhaps you will be asked to cross the river again, repeat the experience and laugh
  • Talk about how the area had two pubs and several thousand people contrasted to today
  • Point out the Tuapeka West School memorial gates, the only evidence kids went to a local school
@Tuapeka Mouth Ferry
@Tuapeka Mouth Ferry

Social media heroes in Tuapeka

Welcome to Tuapeka Mouth ‘Heritage Hub’ Dedicated Tuapeka residents formed the Clutha Valley Heritage Trust. Heroes for drudgery of cleaning the former Tuapeka Mouth 1909 Presbyterian Church which they purchased under the name of the Clutha Valley Tuapeka Heritage Trust. They have carried out a massive cleanup of the neglected property and the grounds have been given a makeover with plans for painting and building maintenance on the 1909 building to bring it back to its former glory.

Tuapeka’s heritage buffs

  • Wander through the historic Tuapeka Mouth cemetery
  • Walk to the historic gold mining dam

Who turned up and named the Tuapeka?

In the 1860’s gold miners worked all the way down the Tuapeka River to Tuapeka Mouth in search of gold. Tuapeka Mouth was an inland port for paddle wheel steamers to and from Balclutha for about 30 years until 1939. “At the Tuapeka junction with the Clutha River a typical goldfield’s town soon sprang up. Initially known as Dalhousie, the township boasted the usual amenities including hotels, stores and sly-grog shanties.Tuapeka Mouth has always been the official post office address. The Tuapeka made this it’s inland port of call in 1863; In the same year two hotels were built, and A McBeath opened a store. Taylor brothers had an orchard above the Surveyed sections” Residents trust. Tuapeka River is a tributary of the Clutha River.

The Tuapeka Mouth Goldfield @Tuapeka Mouth Ferry
The Tuapeka Mouth Goldfield @Tuapeka Mouth Ferry

Getting to Tuapeka


Every town adds to the richness of things to do and see. For more details about the region check Dunedin & Otago Region nearby attractions and events.

Tuapeka Mouth is a beautiful area at the Junction of the Clutha and Tuapeka Rivers about 33.5kms up River from Balclutha and 26.5kms from Lawrence. The area is a great way to get to Central Otago – via Lawrence or Beaumont (use the Clydevale Bridge w.hen punt is not operating. See LOCATION MAP page.

The area is well known for its healthy sheep, beef and dairying country.

In 1852 the intrepid Thomas Archibald navigated the Clutha as far as Beaumont in a whaling boat. Following the gold rush at Lawrence in 1861 crowds of miners worked all the way down the Tuapeka River to Tuapeka mouth in search of gold and later the Clutha River was dredged for gold for many years with indifferent results. Tuapeka Mouth was an inland port for about 30 years until 1939 for paddle wheel steamers to and from Balclutha. As late as 1945 the Tuapeka mouth gold mining company still employed two or three men.


Next time you’re planning a trip to the South, be sure to visit the area and take advantage of the  Heritage Hub POP and meet some of the locals who are keen to tell you about the area and what they believe is New Zealand’s best kept secret. Memorial gates outside Tuapeka West School. The school no longer exists, however, the plaques were removed about 2006 and installed in the memorial gates of the Tuapeka school.



Best Bits travel guide is published by Owned and managed by PacificJane Ltd.

Related articles





If you have a query about content, travel deals or anything else, our team is happy to answer all your questions 🙂

    Your information is secure, no third party involved.
    100% Safe, secure, privacy guaranteed. Privacy Policy.