Waikaia owes much of its history to gold which was discovered here in 1862. At the peak of the rush Switzers (the town’s original name) had a population of around 2,000 including a large number of Chinese miners. Today gold mining is confined to recreational panning in Winding Creek. At Switzers Museum, Waikaia’s heritage is proudly displayed. Adjoining the Museum is the focal point of the town - a bottle house constructed of 20,000 wine bottles.