Clutha District

Goldrush to Brewery to Daffodil Dayze

A beautiful picnic spot surrounded by the ruins of the Black Horse Brewery, 100 year old Rhododendrons, and over a million daffodils! There are also open mine shafts about — this was a mining boomtown after all — so watch your children. These old buildings were built in a time when they measured their beer in hogsheads and mashed their bushels of barley with real horse power.


From Lawrence, take Irvine St. out of town. It eventually becomes Waipori Road. Pass the golf course, then take the left-hand turn onto Weatherstons Road. As the road approaches a fork, take the right side onto private property. There should be signs indicating Weatherstons opening hours. The property is only accessible on select Spring days. Learn of those days > here < Once you have paid the entry fee, you can then walk around the brewery ruins and enjoy the established trails through the bush.

Helpful links

Harts Black Horse Label

Weatherstons was named after the Weatherston brothers, John and Will, who were pig hunting in the valley in 1861 and decided to prospect on the river flat. The first hole they dug turned over 30 ounces of gold. They agreed to keep it quiet as they combed the richest grounds nearby. But whilst in town collecting supplies, they raised some suspicion and were followed back to their site. The news spread very quickly as Gabriels Gully was just a stone throw away, and in no time at all, Wetherstones (yes, it was officially misspelt), developed into the largest population on the goldfields at the time. They say there was a population of 5000 and more gold was pulled there than Gabriels Gully. When the Dunstan was rushed in August of 1862, Wetherstones was abandoned.

The town of Weatherstons was surveyed in 1865 and the streets were named after the main streets in Melbourne. The population slowly returned to rework leftover ore, and soon there were hotels, stores, a post office, newsagent, watchmaker, blacksmith, ironmonger, a drapery, butcher, two banks, and others that typically go with a mining town, much like the Wild West. And of course, the famous Black Horse Brewery opened in 1866!

The Black Horse was Otago's most successful provincial brewery. It started brewing at the site in 1866 and went through quite a few owners in the coming years. It was an incredibly good brew, and grew a reputation all over the goldfields. In 1880, Mr. H. Clayton bought the brewery and expanded with several more buildings to keep up with demand. But in 1884 his master brewer, Mr. J. K. Simpson, and fellow Ben Hart, bought it. They established what we know it as today. The brewery changed names several times throughout it's life, but ended up the Tuapeka Brewery during the prohibition, which at the time was the most successful provincial brewery in Otago. But in 1923, the NZ Breweries bought it out and closed up shop. The workers at the time moved to Dunedin and started working for Speight's.

As for the Daffodils, that was Ben Hart. He traveled the world in search for the finest daffodils around. He then set out to work, planting them all over the brewery grounds, having his employees plant as well. They say over 1,000,000 bulbs were planted, and currently it's open to the public each spring. You can walk amongst the flowers and gaze upon the blankets of yellow fields.

Now I totally feel like a beer - Stu