A must-visit for lovers of history, architecture and gardens, this rambling Gothic mansion is the legacy of early colonial Alfred Buckland – businessman, farmer and father of 21 children – who made a lasting contribution to provincial Auckland during the 19th century.
Situated on a rise that originally overlooked the expanding township of Newmarket – now Auckland’s premier shopping district – Highwic was built in 1862 as Buckland’s family home. An English immigrant who thrived in this land of new opportunities, Buckland’s wealth and social status is evident in the property’s grand design.
His enthusiasm for the New World is reflected in Highwic’s American Carpenter Gothic architecture, hallmarked by light, airy rooms, although later extensions lend other interesting period features. The mansion’s numerous rooms include a kitchen with a coal range – the heart of the house, even today – as well as the ballroom and boy's dormitory that always prove popular with modern-day visitors.
Stables and a billiard house number amongst various outbuildings, set amidst extensive Victorian-themed grounds, high hedges, mature specimen trees, a fern house, lawn tennis and croquet courts, as well as a meandering ‘Lovers Walk’.
A self-guided tour of Highwic not only offers a captivating trip back in time to the days when the house bustled with Buckland family life, but also insight into the rapidly changing landscape of colonial New Zealand. After a brief introduction from your Highwic hosts, wander around the property at your leisure. Children will love the ‘House Hunt’ discovery tour and the Whimsical Garden.
Try to time your visit for the first Wednesday of the month when the coal range fires up, and check the Events page for other special occasions throughout the year. Highwic is also an atmospheric venue for private functions.
Highwic is the first stop on the Waikato War Driving tour taking in sites from this episode (1863–64) of the New Zealand land wars. Buckland & Sons profited from the wars by supplying the Imperial troops with horses and other general supplies.
Step back in time to colonial New Zealand through one of its original ‘grand designs’.
- 40 Gillies Avenue
- Enter from Mortimer Pass
- Wednesday - Sunday
- 10.30am - 4.30pm
- Closed Christmas Day and Good Friday.
Accompanied children: Free.
Unaccompanied children: $3.50
Please understand that surcharges may apply at times of special events.