Enjoy Spring in the Waitaki

Spring is well sprung, and there’s nothing quite like seeing the Waitaki in a blanket of lush green and blossom. Springtime is a lovely time to visit, it’s so easy to be swept away as the district has come alive, the air is warmer, and there are plenty of spots to stroll.

While you’re here take a tour of the most flower-filled and striking spots (by day and night).

Start your spring getaway off at a spectacular spot where social distancing comes naturally—the sheltered valley of Anatini. The other main drawcards here are the ancient kowhai believed to be between 800 and 1000 years old and the partially exposed fossils of a baleen whale, placed under plexiglass to ensure its protection. Millions of years ago, Anatini was at the bottom of the sea, and now the curious limestone outcrops and caves make the perfect backdrop for a picnic.

2 - Jones Park

In the heart of Ōamaru, Jones Park is a small and beautiful place to stop and smell the roses. The entrance, Memorial Arch with the inscription to notable Ōamaruvian George Jones, is a popular place to snap a wish you were here photo.

From the moment you step through the classical main gates of the Ōamaru Public Gardens, you’ll find yourself in a peaceful and architecturally inventive fantasy-land. You’ll want to stop by the opulent Craig Fountain, and then head to both the rose garden and the Wonderland garden to get your fill of flowers. 

Take a trip to Sailors Cutting, a popular camping and fishing site, so named for sailors who broke away from ships in the 1800s to work on road building projects. The view across the lake will restore your soul! Bring your togs and jet skis and make a day of it, the usual stillness of the lakes is perfect for water sports and splashing about.

5 - Riverstone Castle

Take a tour of Riverstone Castle and its gardens, a fantasy-home made very real courtesy of Dot & Neil Smith. A total of 20,000 concrete blocks and approximately 200 tonnes of Ōamaru stones were used in the castle’s construction and the extensive gardens are like stepping into a colourful dream. 

6 - Rockvale Gardens

From November 1, you can take a tour through Rockvale Gardens found on the outskirts of Oamaru. With thousands of plants to see within these formal gardens including magnolias, rhododendrons, and natives, your view will be painted with hues of red, pink, purple, and blue. 

Down in Dunback you can find one of the last original arched stone bridges still to be seen on the old coach road to Central Otago. It’s such an idyllic scene it’s the perfect place to stop, stretch your legs, and soak up the natural surroundings.

The beaches at Kākānui have consistent waves for ideal for surfing, golden sand for strolling and knockout coastal views. If you return once night falls the star-gazing opportunities here are a once in a lifetime experience.

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