Close to the Southern Alps, mountain ranges, and lakes, the junction town of Ōmarama at SH8 and SH83 is a charming place to stop and stay.
Ōmarama is Māori for ‘place of light’, and you will understand why when you look to the skies. The crystal clear air is so pure and the nights so black that the star-gazing opportunities here are a once in a lifetime experience.
Ōmarama is the gliding capital of NZ. Both national and international gliding records have been achieved here, with the wind conditions and unique uplift attracting record seekers, such as Steve Fossett who smashed a speed record soaring above Ōmarama.
The great outdoors can be enjoyed by exploring, tramping, hunting, fishing, kayaking, and horse riding throughout the lush and rugged Ahuriri Conservation Park.
While in Ōmarama the stark and striking landforms of the Paritea Clay Cliffs beckon. This is one of the many featured Geosites in the Waitaki Whitestone Geopark. From SH8 make your way along to Henburn Road. Once parked, there is a 15-minute walk before you’ll find yourself open-mouthed with a curiosity shared by so many—how many millions of years passed for the cliffs to look like this?
The Geosite was originally formed as gravels, sands and silt in freshwater lakes and rivers. The sediments, which were deposited around 20 million years ago, were over time buried and compressed, then uplifted and eroded.
Surrounded by sharp pinnacles and steep ravines the terrain here is not suitable for people with mobility issues.
If your legs are cramped or weary after a long day’s drive, then you’ll want to end the day in eco-friendly glamour at the iconic Ōmarama Hot Tubs and soak up those mountain views.