Olveston is one of New Zealand’s best-known stately homes and if, like me, you have a passion for grand old homes, it should definitely be on your agenda. Designed by London architect Sir Ernest George, the 35-room, Jacobean-style mansion was built between 1904 and 1906 by the much-traveled and very prosperous Theomin family. It sits on an acre of tree-sheltered grounds, and since it was bequeathed to Dunedin in 1966, it has been carefully maintained in virtually its original state. David Theomin had a passion for Eastern decorative arts, and he filled his home with bronze, cloisonné, ivory, ceramics, jade, and over 250 paintings. On top of its unique interior finery, the house itself is a work of art and pays homage to the skills of 19th-century craftsmen. Those with reservations are given preference; house viewing is by 1-hour guided tour only. Reservations are required for the 2-hour painting tours.