Totara Estate

New Zealand is said to be founded on the sheep’s back, and Totara Estate is central to this history.   Situated south of Oamaru, the historic farm is the birthplace of New Zealand's billion dollar frozen meat industry.

Totara Estate

Once a grand estate covering 15,000 acres, today Totara’s restored farm buildings are a tribute to the courage and determination of New Zealand’s early pioneers who helped shape this country and make it great.

Totara Estate is where New Zealand’s first shipment of frozen mutton was prepared and sent to the other side of the world on the SS Dunedin in 1882.  It was the beginnings of New Zealand’s multi-billion dollar frozen meat industry. 

Hear about the big idea that launched New Zealand farming onto the world stage and changed its fortune forever!  

Visitors may come face to face with a swagger from the past - the likes of Ned 'The Shiner' Slattery or Barney 'Whiterats' Winters. See heritage New Zealand sheep breeds. Take 'billy tea' and scones around the swaggers’ campfire (by arrangement).

Add another dimension to your visit to Totara Estate by visiting nearby Clarks Mill

Early entrepreneurs made a killing, shipping frozen lamb to the dinner tables of England.


  • State Highway 1
  • 8km south of Oamaru
  • Oamaru
  • 9492

Contact Information

Opening Hours

  • Daily, September-May, closed Christmas Day and Good Friday
  • 10am - 4pm
  • Closed June-August except by prior arrangement.


Adult: $10 Student (tertiary): $5 Children: free Please understand that surcharges may apply at times of special events.