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Waitaki Tales

Have a read of some short, local stories highlighting the wonders of the Waitaki District.

Fleurs Place, is a restaurant café and bar right on the waterfront in the small fishing village of Moeraki; one of the earliest European whaling station settlements (1836) in N Z. Today a Southern Right whale can visit the bay and is in no danger, free to enjoy the migration north.

Fleurs place is world renowned for serving fresh fish caught by the local fisherman who deliver their catch from the boats to the kitchen door. In all weather you can see Keiran filleting a variety of fish destined for the pans, the smokehouse, or the stockpot. Or you could be lucky enough to see our friendly sea lion “big boy” waiting for his share of the catch, we love it, so do the diners who are all here to enjoy  “naturally good food”.  Nau mai, haere mai.  Restaurateur Fleur Sullivan has made a reputation establishing regional restaurants and has numerous awards for her contributions to the hospitality industry , heritage and tourism. Fleur was inducted into the New Zealand Restaurant Hall of Fame and received the O.N.Z.M from HRH Queen Elizabeth 1991.  In 2011 Fleur was chosen to film a masterclass on Australia’s Masterchef programme, Australia’s highest rating non sporting programme of all time 


FLEURS PLACE: At The Old Jetty, Moeraki

PHONE: 0064 3 439 4480

www.fleursplace.com

More info from the Oamaru i-SITE, Cnr Thames Highway and Itchen Street

Believe it or not, in the mid-19th centruy, more people lived in Oamaru than in San Fransisco. It's true! Gold, wool, wheat and meat made Oamaru the place to be though, apparently, San Fransisco's caught up since.

Oamaru grew by its harbour and today those grand old limestone buildings still stand proud, proof of the wealth that built them. The area's starred in numerous films and ads and attracts lots of visitors too.

Many discover it by chance and can't believe their eyes. "We hear the same thing over and over again," says bookbinder Michael O'Brien, who's worked here for years. "People tell us every day, ‘We came here to see the penguins. No-one told us about these amazing craftspeople. Why weren't we told about this?' "

Well, now you have been. So check it out. Because there's plenty to check, folks; coffee shops, cafes, a bakery, wine shop, New Zealand's only local whisky, an old style pub, vintage clothing, beads, Retro Funk, 3 art galleries, 3 second-hand book shops, two stone sculpting studios, an artist working in iron, penny farthings, The Pounamu Gallery (‘The Place of Greenstone'), Lazycat Pottery and tileworks, Miss Chaffey's Curiosity Shop, sweets, Lavish Soaps (if you fancy a posh wash), furniture, a car museum and the brand new Loan and Merc carvery - founded by Fleur, who's waterfront restaurant in Moeraki attracts diners from around the world. That's a another place you should visit. But see the Precinct first. Remember, this time you have been told!


VICTORIAN PRECINCT: Itchen, Tees, Tyne and Harbour Streets, Oamaru
WEBSITE: www.victorianoamaru.co.nz
More info from the Oamaru i-SITE, Cnr Thames Highway and Itchen Street

Okay, you want to see Mt Cook. Everybody does. And you've heard about Queenstown. Hey, everyone's heard about Queenstown; bars, bungy, luge, the lot. And you checked out the ski fields on line before you came here. So you've got everything sussed - maps in the rental and you're ready to roll, south, maybe on the inland route, because that's the way to Mt Cook. All good. Except we don't know what we don't know, do we?

And chances are you won't know about a little country junction with a very cool name; Omarama - "The place of Light". And plenty more; cafes, shops, cafes and shops, like the Wrinkly Ram, which also features a sheep dog and shearing show (Minimum number 6, booking necessary). Weary travellers can bliss the bod at Omarama Hot Tubs and, if you're a sword and sandals fan, you'll want to see Totara Peak Gallery's display of costumes from Xena - Warrior Princess and Hercules. Boondocks it is not. Totara Peak's also got some of the coolest collectables you'll find anywhere and an impressive selection of old books. So when you're driving and see the sign - Omarama - don't pass through. Pause through. Then you can say you've seen the light. 

...And the place of (f)light

It's the silence you notice. All you hear is the air. There's no engine, no propellors, no rattling, no roar, just a bird's ear view. You're in a machine as streamlined as a shark, perfectly adapted to its environment. The composite wings flex as they catch a thermal. You rise. Down below, you see the jagged peaks that mark the buckled edge of the Pacific rim. Turquoise rivers run to the sea. Great lakes fill the valleys. No-one else is as lucky as you are, right in this moment.

Omarama is one of the best places on the planet for gliding. World championships have been held here. Ace glider pilots come to ride these updrafts. And you can too. There's three flight options; the 30 minute Valley Explorer, the 1 hour Mountain Adventurer and the 2 to 3 hour Great Alpine Adventure. If cattle class is as close as you've come to flying, it's time you tried the real thing. Cruise the silent skies - it's a trip like no other.

P.S. If you get the bug, stick around and do the Learn-to-Fly course. You can go from novice to solo in just seven days. 


GLIDE OMARAMA - OMARAMA AIRFIELD: Twizel-Omarama State Highway 8
WEBSITE: www.glideomarama.com
More info from the Oamaru i-SITE, Cnr Thames Highway and Itchen Street, or the Omarama i-SITE - in the Hot Tubs complex