Grand Entrance
In the 1860’s John Reid, a successful land developer moved from Scotland to New Zealand and worked for the New Zealand Company. He managed to acquire large tracts of prime land in Northern Otago which became the 35,000 acre estate known as Elderslie.
John Forrester Reid was the eldest of the twelve Elderslie children. He inherited the Burnside Homestead when he turned 21, and the homestead which was built in the mid 1890’s as his wedding present from his parents. The gardens are both extensive and equisit. The landscaping for the house actually started two years before the building began, and has been described as a “Slyvanian enchantment”. John, his wife and two children, plus a household of seven servants lived here until he died in 1928.

The Hudson family (think biscuits and chocolate) bought Burnside in 1930, and in 1974, the Albistons took over the estate. Since 1995, Brian and Alison have run the property as a country lodge. Today, when you arrive at Burnside you will be met by the Albistons at the homesteads grand entrance. The front door is framed by a gabled roof and a veranda that circumnavigates the living areas.

The main house has twenty rooms, which encircle the Great Hall. This octagonal hall is not only remarkable because it has eight sides, but because it is cloistered like a cathedral, complete with its own rose glass windows.

I was intrigued by the historic artefacts set right throughout the homestead. There are Edmonds baking powder tins in the kitchen, antique linens and even an ‘old school’ porcelain toilet. I could have sat and listened to both Brain and Alison tell stories of the Reid’s and homestead life for days. I think I will have to go back if only to try some of Alison’s homemade cheese and chutney and hear some more stories.

Stately dining Room
Antique lines in one of the guest rooms