Technology attractions of New Zealand - back
Many New Zealand technology developments are now fascinating visitor attractions. Unusual railway engineering, examples of steam power,
hydro electric schemes and transport museums all hold interest for the technically minded visitor.
You can see gold mining relics and bush tramways from the era of forest exploitation.
Early engineering works were geared to supplying farmers' needs and a
plethora of museums contains farm machinery highlighting farming's economic importance.
An initial reliance on coastal shipping for which lighthouses were important gave
way to railways that required significant engineering feats before they could surmount the country's rivers and hills. Notable examples
are the Lyttelton Rail Tunnel, the
Raurimu spiral on the North Island Main Trunk line (NIMT) and several
Our rail heritage is celebrated though the "Rail Heritage Trail", which includes a number of railways with working
steam locomotives, scenic railway trips, bush railways, heritage railway
stations now serving as bed and breakfasts or restaurants, and railway routes now
used for walking and cycling. One museum preserves a unique Fell locomotive,
originally used on a steep triple-rail mountain route, another preserves memories of a very steep gravity-powered system regarded by
locals as one of the world's wonders.
Tunnels and bridges, not always built
for the railways, are a significant part of the industrial heritage and many of them now form a part of walkways.
Steam power is celebrated in several museums devoted to stationary engines
- often rescued from their role as prime movers for refrigeration plant in the meat industry.
Several locations pay homage to Richard Pearse, whose pioneer flying efforts
virtually paralleled those of the Wright Brothers.
Hydro power has always been important for electricity production. The first State-built
schemes, at Lake Coleridge in the South Island and
Mangahao in the North, although now 80 years old, are hardly museum pieces,
both being still in production. By visiting the underground power station at
Manapouri a technology DayOut can be combined with a scenic trip. Another scenic trip is associated with the
Upper Waitaki scheme. The development of this scheme as with that at Manapouri
followed their initial identification by P S Hay in 1903.
Visitor Centres at Marsden Point Refinery in Northland and at
Oaonui and Motunui
in Taranaki provide insights into oil and gas projects that
took billions of dollars to build. Also in Taranaki at Hawera, one of the world's biggest dairy factories has an involving
display to tell you about the industry.
And then there are several motor museums. In Nelson, one has recently been opened in conjunction with that city's collection of
while near Paraparaumu a well-established museum contains cars whose past owners
are as interesting as their engineering.
Last but not least there are science museums with educational intent in Hamilton and Christchurch, while
Discovery World at the Otago Museum in Dunedin is of universal interest.
Many museums have a technical focus so we recommend you include these in your DayOut search if you are interested in technology.
Panning for Gold
In the South Island there are a number of places where you can have a Day Out fossicking for gold using a goldpan without needing to hold
a license. We have labelled these as Technology sites but in addition many of them are good picnic places, offer walks and can be used as
Search for technology locations