a natural wonderland

Pure Nature

Nature-lovers will feel right at home the Waitaki District.

Unique wildlife, striking mountain scenes, glacier-fed lakes, rolling farmland and beautiful coastline...take your pick - we’ve got it all! Marvel at the wondrous geological landforms, witness the vibrant autumn colours that light up the Waitaki Valley or visit our local wildlife including the world’s smallest penguin. Come experience pure nature so good you’ll want to see more.

Come visit, come explore.

Natural Wonders Waitaki

Marvel at natures creations as you journey along the coast and up the valley. 
  • Moeraki Boulders
    Climb the large spherical boulders strewn along the beach near Moeraki - a fun photo stop!

  • Elephant Rocks
    Walk among the massive limestone outcrops at Elephant Rocks and Earthquakes. These impressive rocks featured in movies such as Narnia: the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe!

  • Clay Cliffs
    Visit this natural rock formation just outside of Omarama. Be humbled as you walk among the towering Clay Cliffs

  • Fossils
    There are also wonders of the prehistoric kind. Along with well-preserved fossils at the Vanished World Centre & Trail in Duntroon, the largest dinosaur fossil in New Zealand was also discovered along coastal Waitaki. A 70 million year old plesiosaur fossil was discovered at Shag Point in 1983. The fossil is on display at Otago  Museum

Waitaki Wildlife

Coastal Waitaki is home to some rare and unique wildlife.
  • Blue Penguins
    The worlds smallest penguin, the little blue penguin (korora). Head along to an evening viewing at the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony for the best penguin viewing

  • Yellow-eyed Penguins
    Coastal Waitaki is home to a small population of yellow-eyed penguins (hoiho). This is one of the worlds rarest penguins!

  • Seals
    Head to Shag Point near Palmerston where you can see New Zealand fur seals lounging on the rocks. Scan the sea and you may get lucky spotting whales or dolphins

  • Sea Birds
    Seabirds adorn the Waitaki coastline from our southern boundary up to Oamaru and beyond. There are always plenty of birds keeping the seals company at Shag Point and you will be amazed at the number of Shags on the old wharf in Oamaru Harbour!

  • Whales and dolphins
    We often have dolphins and whales pay us a visit along Coastal North Otago, so if you're out on the water or at the beach, keep those eyes peeled!

Waitaki Gardens, Parks and Reserves

Waitaki has a great variety of parks, gardens and reserves, providing plenty of opportunities to enjoy the beautiful outdoors with your family and friends.

These beautiful gardens and distinctly reflect the unique style and heritage of Oamaru and the Waitaki through Oamaru stone and other features.

The garden and house are within large hedges that afford a warmer micro-climate with views of ocean, farmland, wetlands and mountains.

  • Shag Point Picnic Area

A great stop along Coastal North Otago, stretch your legs with a walk along the beach or explore the rock pools. Head into Shag Point for seal viewing.

At Lookout Point reserve, you will have stunning views over the gorgeous coastal town of Oamaru. You will gain a completely new perspective up here. Head for a short walk from this reserve.

Enjoy walks through native bush, crossing streams and up to rocky bluffs that look out to sea. Camping sites available with toilets and picnic spots a-plenty!

  • Duntroon, Kurow and Otematata Wetlands

These various wetland walks are great opportunities to wander through existing natural wetland areas that have gained a new lease on life through dedicated teams of hard-working volunteers. With trails being built, maintained and added to, there are plenty of networks to explore and discover hidden picnic areas, rest areas and in some cases that perfect swimming spot!