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.

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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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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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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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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Campbell’s 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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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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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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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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Glide Omarama

The closest you’ll ever come to soaring like a bird! One of the most stunning experiences you’ll ever have, gliding is like nothing else. Quietly soar over lakes and mountains, with the only sound your experienced pilot sitting behind you pointing out the sights like Aoraki Mt Cook, Lakes Benmore and Aviemore and the beautiful towns you’ll glide above.

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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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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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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 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 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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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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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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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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