Oamaru is full of beautiful scenery, gorgeous Victorian buildings and plenty of unique experiences. You can spend hours wandering the streets in awe of the well preserved architecture.
But it is really all the talented, passionate and artistic people that live here that makes Oamaru such a wonderful place, so make sure you stop and have a “yarn” with as many as possible while visiting.
With so many things to do, it can be overwhelming to take your pick, so here are a few of our favourite things.
Take a walk down memory lane, this beautiful part of Oamaru is talked about internationally and it's a real “do not miss” when visiting. Harbour Street is filled with Victorian commercial buildings built as early as 1865. Majority of the buildings are in an elaborate Neo Classical style and built out of locally quarried limestone. Today this is where you find a wide selection of stores filled with curiosities and local artist gems, cafes, and even an interactive museum Whitestone City, here is enough to get lost for hours.
1 Harbour Street, Oamaru
A visit to Steampunk HQ will leave you feeling like you might have entered an alternative universe. The world of Steampunk is quirky, fun and set in a science fiction and a futuristic version of 19th century Victorian England. Full of steam powered devices and a “world gone mad” vibe. Trying to explain it does not do this fantastical place justice, another “must see”!
1 Humber Street, Oamaru
This recently refurbished gallery hosts a varied and exciting exhibition program. Housed in one of Oamaru's spectacular neo-classical buildings, originally constructed in 1884 for the Bank of New South Wales. The Forrester Gallery is also the custodian of a growing collection of artworks significant to the Waitaki region.
9 Thames Street, Oamaru
Blue Penguin Colony
Here you can watch the rare Blue Penguins in their natural habitat. Book a seat at the viewing platform and watch the adorable penguins as they come back to shore after a long day out fishing. You will have full commentary by the very experienced and informative guides throughout the event. This is a unique experience you won't forget.
2 Waterfront Road, Oamaru
Janet Frame House
Famous New Zealand author, Janet Frame spent her childhood in this property on Eden Street. It has since been restored and gives a unique look into the award winning writers formative years. Here, her memory is kept alive and you can learn more about the colourful past of one of New Zealand's literature greats.
56 Eden Street, Oamaru
Donna Demente - Grainstore Gallery
In the Victorian precinct you will find the most incredible Willy Wonka like world of famous artist Donna Demente. A visit to her Grainstore Gallery will leave you amazed and inspired long after leaving. You will not be forgiven if you miss this wonderful gem of a place!
Harbour Street, Oamaru
Oamaru Public Gardens
These wonderful, varied and well tended gardens are one of the oldest once in New Zealand. Officially opened in 1876, this is a perfect spot for an early morning stroll or afternoon walk. You will be surprised and delighted by the multitude of flowers, ferns and mature trees. The gardens are also conveniently located a block away from The Vicarage!
Chelmer Street, Oamaru
A scenic 30 minute drive out of Oamaru you will find one of nature's large wonders. 60 million years in the making, these huge rocks look like prehistoric underwater creatures or elephants. You will be amazed by all the forms these giant boulders will take if you let your imagination run free. Once you start walking in the fields between
the stone creatures it's like the air stands still. A visit to these famous rocks is a truly
Island Cliff, Waitaki
A20 Cycle Trail
Whether you are a seasoned biker or just want to try an electrical bike for the first time, experiencing a part of New Zealand's longest cycle trail will be a memorable adventure. Using Oamaru as your base there are plenty of route options to choose from, all with equally magnificent scenery. The knowledgeable team at Cycle Ventures will be able to guide you in the right direction, they can arrange drop offs and pickups to the trail you pick and have a large selection of bikes for hire.
4 Wansbeck Road, Oamaru