As a result of the Otago gold rushes of the 1860s Dunedin developed from a small community of rather impoverished settlers into the most progressive town in New Zealand.

Companies built impressive buildings in the town and successful businessmen built grand mansions. With gold money flooding the town and being spent on goods and services, more residents had money to spend and demanded entertainment. In those days, picnics were a popular way to socialize and the Otago Peninsula became a destination of choice for these grand picnic outings. Since roads on the peninsula were non- existent, boats were used to cross the harbour. These vessels quickly became an essential part of the town’s transport network and ran between Dunedin and Portobello, Broad Bay and Macandrew Bay, as well as Port Chalmers. read more