Hayes Engineering Works and Homestead

Marvel at a fully operational Victorian workshop where Ernest Hayes invented devices still used today, and imagine his wife Hannah, in full skirts and corset, pedalling through Central Otago selling them!

Bike stands at Hayes Engineering
Great stop on the Rail Trail. Image: Heritage New Zealandexpand/collapse

The story of Hannah Hayes in her ankle–length skirts, on her push bike in 1895, venturing on selling trips of over 129kms never ceases to amaze people and is in sharp contrast to today’s bikers. They traverse the Otago Central Rail Trail in comparative comfort with gear-assisted bikes complete with comfortable seats and fancy bike pants.

A genuine example of ‘Kiwi ingenuity’ in formerly isolated and tough conditions, Hayes has something for everyone. The inventive mind of Ernest Hayes is evident in his well-preserved 1890s workshop, and restored 1920s homestead. 

Hayes developed and marketed products to improve farming life, like wire strainers, cattle stops and pulley blocks. 

His mud brick family home was fitted with modern inventions like electricity (generated by a water-driven pelton wheel), piped radio, and quirky laundry and bathroom facilities. 

Seeing the machinery operating in the workshop is a truly memorable experience and a tour of the house, garden, a spot of shopping and a morning / afternoon tea or lunch completes the visit.

A real example of Kiwi ingenuity, invention and resourcefulness.
  • Rail Trail cyclists

    A popular rest spot on the Otago Central Rail Trail, Hayes Engineering Works and Homestead remains a genuine example of Kiwi ingenuity in formerly isolated and tough conditions.  Image: Heritage New Zealand

  • Overview of Hayes Engineering

    Hayes Engineering consists of several buildings, one of which has been re-purposed as a cafe - make sure you make time for an awesome coffee and snack!

  • Open day at Hayes Engineering

    Don't miss our live days when you can experience the Works in full operational mode.  Image: Heritage New Zealand

  • Starry night at Hayes Engineering

    Tranquil by night.  Image: Simon East

  • Picnic tables at Hayes Engineering

    Padding on the benches makes for a very comfortable picnic!  Image: Heritage New Zealand

  • Vintage cars at Hayes Engineering Works

    Make Hayes Engineering a stop for your next car (or bicycle) rally.  Image: Hayes Engineering

  • Hayes Homestead

    A welcoming light from the Homestead shines at night.  Image: Simon East

  • Stars over the Hayes windmill

    Big, starry skies over the windmill at Hayes Engineering.  Image: Simon East


  • Hayes Road, off Ida Valley-Omakau Road
  • Oturehua
  • 9387

Contact Information

Opening Hours

  • Daily, November-April.
  • 10am - 5pm
  • Wednesday-Sunday, September, October and May
  • 10am - 5pm
  • Closed June-August and Christmas Day.


Adult: $12 (self-guided tour); children (primary school age): free. Guided tours of the works in operation on operating days: $20 per person. Please understand that surcharges may apply at times of special events.