DISCOVER OAMARU

Oamaru is the largest town in the Waitaki District; most famous for its penguin colony and limestone architecture of the Victorian Precinct – but that’s just the beginning of what the town has to offer.

 

Be captivated by little blue penguins, fur seals and rare seabirds that call Oamaru home. With craft beer and whisky, incredible restaurants, café’s and artisan shopping close by, Oamaru Harbour is great for everyone with stunning views out to the Pacific Ocean, an incredible steampunk-themed playground
and bike park for the kids.

 

Stroll through New Zealand’s best preserved Victorian commercial streetscape in the Victorian Precinct, Oamaru. The original buildings made from locally quarried limestone are a testament to Oamaru’s boom era, when it was an important port town, sending the world’s first frozen meat exports around the world. Venture into Oamaru a little further and you’ll find wonderful shopping and handmade cheeses and the beautiful public gardens.

 

Allow plenty of time to visit Oamaru where dressing in Victorian era attire not unusual, where Steampunks roam and a penny-farthing remains a perfectly acceptable mode of transport. The art of traditional crafts is alive and well and friendly locals are a core ingredient of what makes Oamaru great.

WHAT TO DO

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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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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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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Cape Wanbrow Biking Tracks

Biking route The Cape offers steeper terrain with 8km of interconnecting tracks to explore in a compact area. There are climbing tracks with good gradients to get to the two high points. Following this you’ll find numerous options for coming back down with varying levels of difficulty (up to grade

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Cape Wanbrow Walks

A spectacular walk taking you up to the aptly named Lookout Point, here you can look over the harbour and out to the Pacific Ocean. This walk is steep going up and can be slippery after rain, alternatively, drive to Lookout Point and take a walk on the track around the Cape and visit a former gun emplacement.

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Clark’s Mill

An important industrial landmark in beautiful North Otago houses four-storeyed Clarks Mill – New Zealand’s only surviving water-powered flour mill with early machinery still substantially intact. It was built as part of Totara Estate in 1866.

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Cucina

Having won the gold medal in the 2019’s Beef and Lamb excellence awards, as well as other awards, dining at Cucina is a must while in Oamaru. Embark on a Geo Degustation and savour the tastes of the region with their dishes made with fresh local produce.

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Devil’s Bridge Wetland

This wetland lagoon is an important habitat for many wetland bird species and is recognised as an area of Natural Significance in this Karst landscape. The walking track surrounding the lagoon leads to a ‘disappearing stream’, where the water drains into an underground cave system in the limestone. Head south

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Fat Sallys

The best pub food in Oamaru. Fat Sallys is proud to have been open since 2004 and be part of such a great wee community in the town of Oamaru. A great selection awaits you on the Fat Sallys menu. Have a light snack or try our popular ‘Sal Royale’!

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Forrester Gallery

Architecture OAMARU, THAMES STREET This former Bank of New South Wales was built at a time of rapid growth in Ōamaru. Designed by Dunedin architect Robert Lawson in 1883, the building forms a handsome pair in limestone with its equally imposing neighbour, the National Bank. Both have luxuriant acanthus leaves

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Heli-Biking

Scenic helicopter flight, scenic mountain bike trail – one of the best days’ ever!
The teams at Veritical Venture and Heliventures have created a stunning package out of two of our favourite things in the Waitaki – stunning scenery and mountain biking.

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Heliventures

These scenic helicopter flights will take you wherever you want to go, hover along the stunning coastal, over the braided Waitaki River or all the way up the Waitaki Valley and into the Southern Alps to see the majestic Aoraki Mt Cook.

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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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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 Harbourside Walkway

Walking Track Distance: 1.4km (one way) The Harbourside walkway is a nice short route that will take you through the heart and hub of Oamaru and easily connect with other walks. Starting from the Oamaru Railway Station, head over to the entrance of the Harbourside Gardens which is on the

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Oamaru Heritage Walking Tours

Take a step back in time and discover Oamaru’s vibrant colonial history. Embark on a 90-minute easy-paced walk around the Historic Precinct and be immersed in Oamaru’s rich heritage, culture and geology with a knowledgeable local guide.

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Oamaru Opera House

The beautiful Oamaru Opera House stands resplendent in historic Thames Street, an intact, heritage-listed nineteenth century streetscape. Built over a century ago, the Oamaru Opera House has long been a hub for social, political and cultural activity, and continues to be the first choice for quality entertainment, meetings and conferencing

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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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Oamaru’s First Post Office

Architecture OAMARU, THAMES STREET Now a restaurant, this former post office, built 1864 is now Ōamaru’s oldest surviving public building. It is the only known example of architect W. H. Clayton’s work remaining in the town and differs from its more elaborate neighbour, the second post office, which replaced it in

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Oamaru’s Former Post Office

Architecture OAMARU, THAMES STREET Now the home of the Waitaki District Council, this elegant essay in limestone was designed by Forrester and Lemon in 1883, but without its clocktower. It was Thomas Forrester’s son John, who saw to the addition of the 28 metre high tower in 1903. The clock

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Oamaru’s National Bank

Architecture OAMARU, THAMES STREET Originally built for the Bank of Otago in 1871, this elegant and dignified building was, like its neighbour, the Forrester Gallery, designed by Robert Lawson. The Bank of Otago, founded in 1863, was absorbed by the National Bank in 1875. 11 Thames StreetOamaru 9400 New Zealand

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Riverstone Kitchen

New Zealand’s Restaurant of the Year in 2010. Riverstone Kitchen is a more casual café by day before morphing into a relaxed yet focused evening restaurant. The short, uncluttered menu focuses on local ingredients, with much of the produce from the family’s gardens. In 2006, Bevan Smith returned to New

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Scotts Brewery

Production craft brewery, gourmet pizza kitchen, beer tastings, takeaway tap beers, brew bar & sunny deck with stunning ocean views – open 7 days. We have an ever-changing range of locally made Scotts craft beer & guest tap beer. A refined wine list, featuring the best of New Zealands regional

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Steampunk HQ

Steampunk HQ is a unique museum of art, sound & light showing an altered universe set within an 1880’s Grain Elevator building in Oamaru. Featuring The Portal, a retro-futuristic mirror and lighting installation with original glowing light sculptures.

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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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Totara Estate

New Zealand is said to be founded on the sheep’s back, and Totara Estate is central to this history. Situated south of Oamaru, the historic farm (originally 15,000 acres), was the birthplace of New Zealand’s billion dollar frozen meat industry.

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