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7 Best Things to Do in Milton

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What to Do in Milton: “The Town of Opportunities”

When leaving or entering The Catlins from the north, you’ll struggle to miss the Milton town sign welcoming you to “the town of opportunities”. There are certainly opportunities when it comes to opportunity shops, a.k.a. “op-shops”, which the town is full of! Additionally, the town boasts some eye-catching architecture, from the Gothic church to the Art Deco museum. You also have the opportunity to scout out some real hidden gems, like the whale and dolphin fossil display, a mysterious railway tunnel and glorious unspoiled beaches. Find out more with this list of things to do in Milton.

While you’re here, you might also be interested in 10 Must-Dos in The Catlins and 10 Hikes in the Catlins and Clutha District.

1. See Whale Fossils and Lake Waihola

See whale fossils 170m (558ft) above sea level at the Milburn Whale Fossils & Lookout. A small exhibition displays the pictorial history of the lime and phosphate working in the area, as well as displays of 24-34-million-year-old whale and dolphin fossils found in the nearby lime quarries. The area also has a lookout over Lake Waihola.

Location: McNeil Road, 9km (6 miles) northeast of Milton

Pexels © Pexels

2. Visit the Mt Stuart Reserve

This reserve that was popular for picnics in the 1870s has been recently restored for visitors to enjoy the freshwater fishing grounds, walks and, picnic area among flourishing daffodils in spring. Walk the Woolshed Valley Track (40 minutes return) along the Tokomairiro River which features lush native bush and fish easily seen swimming in the river. The walk ends are Woolshed Valley where you’ll need to return the same way. Check out more walks in the area with our 10 Best Walks in Balclutha.

Location: Signposted off State Highway 8, 11.5km (7 miles) northwest of Milton

Pixabay © Pixabay

3. Check Out the Mt Stuart Tunnel

Another attraction of the Mt Stuart area is the Mt Stuart Tunnel/Glenmore Tunnel. The tunnel was constructed in 1875/76 for the Tokomairiro-Lawrence Railway. Find the tunnel down a 40-minute return walkway just off Rhodes Road. While the 442m (1450ft)-long tunnel has prohibited access, it’s still possible to see glowworms.

Location: Rhodes Road, 12km (7 miles) northwest of Milton©

4. Snap Up a Photo of the Tokomairiro Church

You can hardly miss this Gothic-inspired church on the main road through Milton. The Tokomairiro Presbyterian Church opened in 1889 and is listed as a Category 1 building with Heritage New Zealand.

Location: 34 Union Street

Grutness at English Wikipedia© Grutness at English Wikipedia

5. Visit the Tokomairiro Museum

Situated in the grand Art Deco building of the old Milton Post Office, the Tokomairoro Museum is a great way to spend a rainy afternoon in Milton. See old collections of Milton Pottery, as well as artefacts retrieved from a sailing ship that wrecked near Milton in 1907. There are also temporary exhibitions, which can display anything from fashion pieces to early pioneering domestic relics. See more museums worth visiting in the area with our 6 Best Museums in Clutha & The Catlins.

Location: 53 Union Street, Milton

Mattinbgn on Wikipedia© Mattinbgn on Wikipedia

6. Head to the Beach

Milton is nearby three unspoiled beaches, which are well worth stopping by to stretch your legs and take photos. Bull Creek is a small beach backed by lush native forest, while Chrystalls Beach boats a long stretch of golden sand. At the Toko Mouth, it’s common to spot birds and the occasional sea lion.

Location: Bull Creek – Russell Road, 20km (12 miles) east of Milton, Chrystalls Beach – Chrystalls Beach Road – 17.5km (11 miles) east of Milton, and Toko Mouth – Toko Mouth Road, 17km (10.5 miles) southeast of Milton

iTravelNZ on Flickr© iTravelNZ on Flickr

7. Do an Alpaca and Llama Farm Tour

Meet and feed the pack of friendly alpacas and llamas at Windermere Alpacas & Llamas. You’ll get to walk among these adorable animals and learn all about them on a farm tour. There will be plenty of photo opportunities.

Location: 759 Adams Flat Road©

More Things to Do Near Milton

That’s it for the best things to do in Milton. Find more activities for your travels in the 51 Best Things to Do in the South Island.


The information in this guide has been compiled from our extensive research, travel and experiences across New Zealand and the South Pacific, accumulated over more than a decade of numerous visits to each destination. Additional sources for this guide include the following:

Our editorial standards: At NZ Pocket Guide, we uphold strict editorial standards to ensure accurate and quality content.

About The Author

Laura S.

This article has been reviewed and published by Laura, the editor-in-chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Laura is a first-class honours journalism graduate and a travel journalist with expertise in New Zealand and South Pacific tourism for over 10 years. She also runs travel guides for five of the top destinations in the South Pacific and is the co-host of over 250 episodes of the NZ Travel Show on YouTube.

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