Nature & Wildlife

Naturelovers will feel right at home in the Waitaki District.

Spanning from the mountains and glacier-fed lakes out to the Pacific Ocean via the mighty braided Waitaki river, many rare seabirds and native marine life make the Waitaki region their home.


A place to explore the geo-wonderland with numerous unique landforms created over time for your enjoyment, discovery and learning today.


Featuring New Zealand’s longest and most varied scenic cycle trail, the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail offers visitors a fully sustainable and carbon zero option to explore the district from mountains to the sea.  Additionally, there are numerous hiking and walking trails – leaving you spoilt for choice for recreational pursuits.


The town of Oamaru hosts the popular Blue Penguin colony and the largest colony of Otago Shags can be found located in the picturesque Oamaru harbour.

Kakanui

14s Beach

This beautiful beach between Oamaru and Kakanui has no official name on the map but it has been renamed by locals as the 14s Beach, as it stands near the 14th hole at the Golfe course. 

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All Waitaki

Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail

New Zealand’s longest and most spectacular cycle trail – this is a trail not to be missed. The name says it all; start at Aoraki Mt Cook in the heart of the stunning Southern Alps or the equally beautiful Lake Tekapo Village and wind your way round mountains, deep-blue lakes and canals, then rolling farmland before meeting the Pacific Ocean on the edge of Oamaru Harbour.

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Duntroon

Anatini

A beautiful gorge set in a working farm with remnants of an ancient seafloor that at one time stretch much further inland than the present-day coastline at Oamaru.

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Palmerston

Andersons Lagoon

Walking Track Time: 2-3hrs (route dependent)No dogs allowed From SH1 in Palmerston, turn onto Tiverton St and carry on down Goodwood Rd until Bushy Hill Rd. Turn left here and almost immediately right onto Anderson Rd. Park up here, climb the stile and make your way past the lagoon to

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Benmore

Benmore Peninsula Track

This circuit track passes through a forest and around a peninsula jutting out into Lake Benmore. The views are very impressive -especially earlier in the mornings when the weather is generally calmest. Complete a loop or return the way you came.

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Kurow

Braided River Jet Boating

Jetboating with a difference.
These tailormade braided river experiences will have your heart pumping with each turn or will have gazing out at wildlife that is unique to the braided river system. Each trip is tailor-made to your preferences. Choose from an adventure to the Waitaki Hydro-Dam, out toward the Pacific Ocean, or hours sight-seeing and maybe a bit of fishing.

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Oamaru

Bushy Beach Walk

At the southern end of Oamaru, spot New Zealand Fur Seals/Kekeno and Yellow-Eyed Penguins/Hoiho from the platform at the end of this cliff-top walk. This is a stunning cliff-top walk has access to the shingle beach before 3pm daily.

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Kakanui

Campbell’s Bay / All Day Bay

Campbell’s Bay is a great beach for surfing, swimming and having fun in the sun.
This beach is immediately south of the headland in Kakanui and provides a surfable break and a safe swimming beach which is frequented by Hector’s Dolphins who love to play in the surf.

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Lake Ohau

Clay Cliffs

Explore these staggering natural land forms. The Clay Cliffs are a geological wonder; ‘bad land’ sharp pinnacles and ridges separated by steep and narrow ravines.

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Otematata

Deep Stream Track

Walking Track Time : 1h one wayDistance : 2kmDog access : no dogs The track edges steep faces within a flooded canyon and is well-formed with some short sections of stairs. Vegetation around track can be tall in spring. The walk finishes at the river delta where a shady picnic or

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Duntroon

Duntroon Wetland Walk

Enter the Duntroon Wetlands either through the ancient Maori rock art on Harris St or behind the village map beside the old gaol on SH83. This accessway is shared with the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail, so please do keep an eye out for and give way to cyclists.

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Duntroon

Earthquakes

Intriguing name, intriguing fossils and house-sized rocks. Earthquakes was given its name when it was thought the house-size rocks were dislodged by earthquakes. Instead, the boulders were split away due to the land slumping many years ago.

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Duntroon

Elephant Rocks

60 million years in the making – just for your enjoyment. The large hummocky rock formations that look a lot like Elephants were created after fossil-rich limestone deposited millions of years ago eroded, leaving behind an incredible boulder-field which towers above your head.

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Oamaru

Enfield dikes

The dikes seen here are basaltic in nature, and are one of the best inland exposures of igneous dikes in the Ōamaru region and belong to the wider Waiareka Volcanic group. These are located behind the village of Enfield in a disused quarry which has more recently been used as

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Lake Ohau

Greta Track

Time : 6-7hDistance : 16km loopDog access: Dogs on a lead are allowed There is an entry point to this track on both sides of Greta’s Stream. If you start from the southern car park you will pass an old derelict musterer’s hut from the 1890s called Back Hut. It is

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Kakanui

Kakanui’s sunflowers field

Kakanui is famous for its stunning sunflowers field. The sunflowers are usually blooming in February – and it’s definitely worth the view! This field has played host to many a photographer and film crew over the years.  These sunflowers are grown by Topflite to produce some of their seeds.  You

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Moeraki

Katiki Historic Reserve

A cape-top walk to take your breath away. This historic and still working lighthouse sits high above the Pacific Ocean and the walkway down to the coast where endangered Yellow-Eyed Penguins and Fur Seals can be viewed, is absolutely spectacular.

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Moeraki

Katiki Point Walk

Walking Track Time : 45 minutes return Visitors go to Katiki Point to view the historic Katiki Point Lighthouse (which still operates today), Te Raka a Hineatea Pa site and marine wildlife including Fur Seals and the critically endangered Yellow-Eyed Penguin. Katiki Point offers stunning views over the Pacific Ocean

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Kurow

Kurow Wetlands

The Kurow Wetlands were constructed and maintained by local volunteers to preserve and protect the stunning natural environment and wildlife in the braided river environment.

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Lake Ohau

Lake Ohau

A gorgeous lake great for a number of recreational activities. Enjoy stunning views of the Southern Alps and Waitaki high country.

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Benmore

Lake Waitaki

Lake Waitaki is the smallest, oldest and farthest downstream of the three man-made lakes of the Waitaki hydroelectric scheme. Close to Kurow, Lake Waitaki is below Aviemore and Benmore on the Waitaki River. It a great spot, popular for water-sports and fishing.

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Hampden

Moeraki Boulders

These massive, spherical concretions, commonly known to locals as boulders, were formed around 60 million years ago and can be seen scattered along Koekohe Beach.

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Oamaru

Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony

Watch as Oamaru’s cutest residents waddle back from a days’ fishing.
Standing at just 30cm tall, the little blue penguins make up for every millimetre they lack in height with cuteness.

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Oamaru

Oamaru Public Gardens

The Oamaru Public Gardens are among the oldest in the country, opened officially in October 1876. The beautiful gardens and distinctly reflect the unique style and heritage of Oamaru and the Waitaki through Oamaru stone and other features

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Lake Ohau

Ohau Snow Fields

Welcome to Kiwi skiing and boarding, this family owned and run snow field provides sunshine and uncrowded slopes for beginners to those who can’t think of anything better than a run down a black diamond trail.

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Otematata

Otematata Wetlands

Walking / Biking Track Time : 30 minutes – 1h for the loopDistance : 4.5km of trail  The Otematata Wetlands take in some some fantastic spots along the shoreline of lake Aviemore. This is an excellent network of small tracks, trails, picnic areas and swimming spots, making it the perfect

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Omarama

Quailburn Track

Time : 30 minutes – 1h30Distance : 1.5km – 4kmDog access : dogs on a leash only Quailburn Track starts uphill from the historic area, which has a woolshed, sheep dip, homestead and hut ruins dating from 1866. The track winds its way uphill through mountain beech forest with several

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Palmerston

Shag Point (Matakaea Reserve)

Shag Point/Matakaea Reserve is a great spot for wildlife viewing and is part of a geologically curios and intriguing coastline. New Zealand fur seals can normally be seen in good numbers on the rock selves around Shag Point. There are two short seal-viewing walks where visitors can watch the seals

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Oamaru

Skyline Walk

Walking Track Distance : 4.6km (one way) Go you high into the hills and enjoy a good workout on the Skyline Walk. Beginning at Fenwick Park, the 4.6 kilometre track is uphill most of the way, but your motivation is the amazing views from the top. Tall pine trees, fantails,

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Oamaru

South Hill Walkway

Walking Track Distance: approx. 9km (full loop) Running between Takaro Park and the Lookout Point, the two-kilometre South Hill Walkway takes you through Oamaru’s historic precinct with the option to make a detour to Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony. From the Lookout Point the views of the town and ocean are

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Moeraki

Tavora Reserve

Walking Track Time : Approximately 1 hour No dogs allowed From SH1 in Palmerston, turn onto Tiverton St and carry on down onto Goodwood Rd. Wind your way along Goodwood Rd, until Bobby’s Head Rd, where you’ll find parking for Tavora Reserve. This reserve is managed by the Yellow Eyed Penguin

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Oamaru

The Natural Dairy

Take a tour of our small dairy farm and taste milk like it should be. Start your tour with a gumboot fitting, and then a walk through our native plantings. The farm owner will talk about this ethical dairy and answer any questions you may have about The Natural Dairy, or about the wider dairy industry.

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Moeraki

Trotters Gorge

As well as offering camping, the DOC-managed Trotters Gorge is a beautiful reserve with fantastic walking tracks to caves, through pockets of native forest, streams and more. There are 3 walks to choose from.

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