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The Houses

As you explore the gardens surrounding The Abbey, you will discover a hidden delight. Dotted amongst the foliage are miniature houses. These are made by Annie on the premises and have been a labour of love since 1989. In that time they have been featured on Television New Zealand, in the New Zealand House & Garden magazine, The Southland Times and Southland Express.

Annie explains a little of the background to the houses

“I built my first house in 1989 and never for a moment did I believe I would end up with a garden filled with Old English houses. I had a memory of seeing a house in a garden, when I was about nine and I fell in love with the idea of discovering hidden treasures within a garden. The first house was simple, a small miners cottage, then a small village and over the years as my skill level grew, so did the size and difficulty of the houses. The creation of the houses has became a winter labour of love. My workshop is filled with materials for use in the building process. I am always on the hunt for different shapes and textures that I can adapt and use. Kept warm by a pot bellied stove, surrounded by pets, it’s been great to fill in the winter days. I am continually adding to my collection, being inspired by what I see and read. I usually create three new houses each year and spend time giving the others maintenance as the exposure to the elements takes its toll.”

Summer in the gardens at The Abbey

During the summer months the garden is filled with different groups. School children love exploring and picnicking in the grounds, their joy at discovering some hidden, almost magical within the grounds is always a pleasure to watch. We regularly host gardening enthusiasts, walking groups, car rallies and retirement groups.


We are also home to a hidden Geocache and to date have had over 100 geocaching enthusiasts visit.

View the Geocache Website »

The miniature village is open all year round but is enjoyed best during the summer months.

Bring your own picnic

Hot water is available upon prior arrangement and visitors are welcome to bring their own picnics.

Seating is placed around the garden but a café style arrangement can be set up with tables, chairs and umbrellas for large groups. Access to a fully enclosed entertainment area can be arranged upon request.

Pricing For Guided Tours

Guided tours cost $5 per head and bookings are essential.


Miniature Houses Gallery