While you may think Valentine’s Day is too commercialised and too cheesy (yes and yes), it’s also always cute to tell your loved ones you love them. And a little thought put into the day doesn’t hurt. No one wants to be on the receiving end of a last-minute ‘these crushed daisies were all that was left’ Valentines Day gift. That might rouse a little vinegar.
In the Victorian era, if you were feeling spiteful towards an enemy or fending off an unwanted suitor vinegar valentines were the acidic alternative to a lace-trimmed love note. Roses are red, violets are blue might end along the lines of here’s a lemon, there’s no chance for you. Never fear, we can help you avoid any sour condiments!
We’ve made a list of everything wonderful you can do while loved-up in the Waitaki District:
Where to visit at sunrise: No, there’s nothing amorous about waking up when it’s still dark out, but a dreamy sunrise will make it all worth it.
Take your beloved to the Moeraki Boulders, an iconic spot for the first kiss of the day. The unusually spherical boulders were formed on a seabed more than 55 million years ago—if that doesn’t make your sweetheart swoon then nothing will.
Pack a picnic and head to Oamaru Lookout Point. It’s the best place to breakfast while looking out on the beautiful seaside town.
What to eat: Make sure to visit Whitestone Cheese and stock up on soft creamy cheeses, perfect for a romantic platter. Don’t forget Rainbow Confectionery. Nothing says I love you more than a trail of Choc Strawberry Hearts that leads to a bed of Fizzies.
Indulge in the aromatic seasonal menus at Riverstone Kitchen or plan a dinner for two at Cucina where you’ll fall for the 55 day aged rib eye.
What to drink: Treat your partner in wine to an afternoon at River-T Winery where there’s a crystal clear focus on quality from the paddock to the glass.
If you prefer a craftier drink you can’t go past the nano-brewery Craftwork in the heart of Oamaru’s Victorian Precinct where hand-crafted Belgian-style ales go hand in hand with biersticks and pickled eggs.
Where to visit at sunset: What’s more romantic than leaning into your sweetheart while watching the sun dip low and spread out into bold strawberry and honeyed hues?
Sweat it out to earn a spectacular sunset at the top of Lake Benmore Peninsula Track. Starting at Benmore Dam this underrated circuit track takes you through the shade of a forest around a peninsula jutting out into Lake Benmore. View the fairy-tale lake as a cash free Valentines Day experience that doesn’t compromise on romance.
Soak up Omarama’s mountain views and restore a little bubble of romance at Hot Tubs Omarama in a private eco-friendly healthy spa that’s filled with fresh mountain water or indulge in a therapeutic massage.
Enjoy a stroll around the historic harbour to Ōamaru’s most loved natural attraction: The Ōamaru Blue Penguin Colony. You’ll be able to view the world’s smallest penguins as they waddle ashore after their sea fishing. During peak season (August-February) the colony can have up to 200 little tuxedoed birds coming in on one night!
Where to stay the night: After a romantic hideaway that will make you feel, in a luxurious way, like you’re the last lovers on earth? Valley Views Glamping nestled in Otiake Valley is the dreamiest destination, made up of six geodesic domes furnished in a soft and homespun style. There are fireplaces to curl up in front of and outdoor baths overlooking the farmland. They’re booked up this Valentines, but it’s never to early to start thinking about next year!
Closer to Oamaru, is the historic homestead Pen-y-bryn outfitted with rich colours, plush beds, antiques, and curious finds. Dinner here is an experience with many an ingredient grown in the boutique lodge’s gardens.
Whether it’s your first Valentines together or your fiftieth be the one who proves romance isn’t dead.
Our roses are red, our violets are blue, come to the Waitaki, we’re thinking of you!