Why go to Mitchell’s Cottage?
The barren earth and extreme shifts in temperature made Central Otago a tough place to survive. They didn’t have heat pumps and under floor heating back in the late 1800s / early 1900s, a fact I learned on my recent visit to Mitchell’s Cottage. This century old house on a hill close to Alexandra is a nice place to take a break from the road and look around a piece of New Zealand history.
The Grounds of Mitchell’s Cottage
This tiny stone cottage is set on a fairly large section. It’s worth walking around a little to see the cottage from a few different angles and to get a glimpse at the surrounding countryside. There are massive rocks scattered around the property — it’s something you’ll see a lot of in Central Otago!
Inside the cottage
Mitchell’s Cottage is pretty small and isn’t really decorated — I guess if they put things inside people would just steal them (or am I getting a bit cynical?). It took us about a minute to check out the interior as there isn’t much going on, but it was still good to see inside (I assumed it’d be locked so it was a nice bonus). Towards the back of the house there are several unattached stone rooms which you can peek inside.
The history of Mitchell’s Cottage
Construction started on this small dwelling in 1880 and was finally completed in the early 1904. The Mitchells (John, Jessie and their 10 kids) lived there — I have no idea when they left but it was turned into a historic reserve in 1980. There are heaps of old stone structures scattered around Central Otago and Mitchell’s Cottage is one of the best preserved — most of them are in ruins these days.
How to get to Mitchell’s Cottage
Mitchell’s Cottage is around 13 km from Alexandra (heading towards Dunedin) in an area known as Fruitlands. It’s a great place to stop off if you’re travelling between Dunedin and Central Otago (and beyond) but it’s also worth venturing there from Alexandra if you happen to be staying there.
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