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Kiwi towns

What's so great about Milton, what to do

  • 2 minutes

BEST THINGS TO SEE

In a small town,  located on SH1 the elaborate art deco former post office is now the Tokomairiro Museum. A substantial collection of Milton Pottery, as well as artefacts retrieved from a sailing ship that wrecked near Milton in 1907, are on display.

Milton is home to a butcher’s museum. The museum’s historic equipment and photographs dating back to the early 20th century are managed by Rex Spence.

As you drive through the town perhaps you will notice an odd kink in the road. There are several theories why Milton has a decided bend in its main street, the favourite being two surveyors were heading towards town from different directions and weren’t quite on the same page regarding direction.

For holiday ideas check out Ten family walks near Milton what to see and do

Tokomairiro Presbyterian Church, Otago, New Zealand @NZPlaces
Tokomairiro Presbyterian Church, Otago, New Zealand @NZPlaces
Tokomairiro Museum, Otago, New Zealand @NZ Museums
Tokomairiro Museum @NZ Museums

WHAT TO DO, HIGHLIGHTS

Milton heritage trail highlights

  • Gothic-inspired Tokomairiro Presbyterian Church (1880s)
  • Sod Cottage, a stopping place for gold miners on their way to Tuapeka goldfields
  • McGills Flour Mill & Bruce Woollen Mill heritage buildings
  • Butchery Museum with historic equipment and photographs dating back to the early 20th century, managed by Rex Spence who is a practicing butcher (South Kill Abattoir)

Milton Butchery Museum is the work of  South Kill Abattoir owners, Rex and Joy Spence. Fascinating and definitely not suitable for vegetarians.

Butchery Museum, Otago, New Zealand @Milton District Butchery Museum @Milton District
Sod Cottage, Otago, New Zealand @NZPlaces Sod Cottage @NZPlaces

WHAT TO DO NEARBY

  • Sinclair Wetland boardwalk trails understand what the landscape looked like before massive drainage schemes created the current pastoral landscape. The region was known to pre-European Maori as Tokomairiro, “poling a canoe through reeds.’ The Sinclair Wetlands explains this very apt name and its importance ecologically.
  • Bull Creek estuary on the nearby coast for a summer dip
Bull Creek, Otago, New Zealand @Milton District Bull Creek @Milton District
Sinclair Wetland, Otago, New Zealand @Milton District Sinclair Wetland @Milton District

WHAT TO DO WITH THE KIDS

  • Whale Fossil Lookout where the kids can imagine the marine world at their feet
  • Butchers Museum where the reality of McDonald’s burgers are explained

WHERE TO TAKE THE BEST SELFIE

  • Lake Waihola and Sinclair Wetlands
  • Gothic church in the background
  • Butchers Museum
  • Your find in one of the second-hand shops
Lake Waihola, Otago, New Zealand @Milton District Lake Waihola @Milton District
Whale Fossil Lookout, Otago, New Zealand @Milton District Whale Fossil Lookout @Milton District

SOCIAL MEDIA

TOWN SLOGAN

  • Town of opportunities.

FESTIVALS

  • Tokomairiro A&P Show — December is a classic rural event with equestrian competitions, dog trials where sheep behaviour is the main entertainment, agricultural trade displays, lots of home-baked goodies, and crafted goods from tea cozies to knitted baby clothes.
Tokomairiro A&P Show, Otago, New Zealand @TokoAPSociety Tokomairiro A&P Show @TokoAPSociety
Tokomairiro A&P Show, Otago, New Zealand @TokoAPSociety Tokomairiro A&P Show @TokoAPSociety

WHO TURNED UP AND NAMED THE PLACE?

  • Milton is a town with fervently loyal community supporters. There are interesting independent shops ranging from a butcher, complete with a quirky museum to funky second-hand stores. The local museum is managed by volunteers.

WHAT KEEPS THE PLACE TICKING?

  • Milton is a service agricultural centre for the Clutha District. Its location means the town is a hub for interior Otago, Southland as well as the iconic Catlins tourist route.

Milton was originally known as Mill Town after its large flour and oat mill. That mill later became part of the Bruce Woollen mill and major employer (closed 1999). The main street, named Union Street, wanders an impressive 2.25 km and has its unique bend in the middle of the street. The town’s name honours  17th-century poet John Milton, and the streets are named after British poets or have a poetic inclination.

Bruce Woollen mill, Milton, Otago, New Zealand @Otago Daily Times
Bruce Woollen mill @Otago Daily Times

POPULATION

  • 2000

WEATHER

JUDGMENT

  • Cheeky charm, definitely worth a stop on State Highway 1

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