Things to do in Oamaru

Historic Oamaru is just the beginning!

New Zealand truly is a country apart, with more scenic wonders than countries many times its size, all of which are kept in immaculate condition by a population that takes its natural patrimony very seriously. When you come to a country with so much to choose from, especially when your time is limited, it can be very difficult to decide where to spend your time, so many people come and just go to the places that everyone has heard of, like Auckland, Rotorua, Queenstown and Christchurch.

But it won’t surprise you to find out that there is a LOT more to see in New Zealand than just those four places, and if New Zealand weren’t so far away from the rest of the world (present company excepted, Australia), more people would probably make New Zealand a more frequent destination to be able to take advantage of all that it has to offer. But until a transporter beam is invented, the fact remains that New Zealand is a double-digit hour flight away for most people, so they’re going to want to make the most of their time here.

That’s where Oamaru comes in! If you want to see the REAL New Zealand, the New Zealand of scenic wonders, natural beauty, abundant wildlife, rugged mountains, pristine beaches, and delicious food and wine, and you want to do it while also not tussling with hoardes of other visitors, then Oamaru and the Waitaki District are for you. Here’s just a quick sampling of things you can do while visiting this incredible area:

  • Sample some of the world’s (yes, the world’s, not just New Zealand’s) finest wines in New Zealand’s newest wine district, the Waitaki Valley;
  • Visit the world’s smallest (the little blue) and world’s rarest (the yellow-eyed) penguins;
  • Experience the thrill of gliding at the world’s premier spot for powerless flight in Omarama, and then soak in the alpine scenery while you soak in the nearby hot pools;
  • Enjoy some of the world’s best seafood at Fleur’s Place in Moeraki, where you can also see some of the planet’s most unusual geological formations;
  • Try your hand at flying a small airplane with the North Otago Aero Club while enjoying a unique bird’s eye view of our scenery;
  • Transport yourself back to the colonial days with a walk through Oamaru’s immaculate historic precinct, the best-preserved in all of New Zealand, which really shines during the annual Victorian Heritage Week each November;
  • Take in a show at Oamaru’s Opera House, one of only seven in New Zealand, and easily one of the most magnificent;
  • Tiptoe through the tulips, or stop to smell the roses, at Oamaru’s Public Gardens, one of the country’s oldest, largest, and best-maintained;
  • Taste the country’s most award-winning cheeses at Whitestone Cheese Factory, and sample these and other handmade products at the weekly Oamaru Farmers’ Market;
  • Marvel at the Steampunk creations that dot the Oamaru landscape and that take centre-stage several times a year during the town’s regular Steampunk events;
  • Dine at one of New Zealand’s most awarded restaurants, Riverstone Kitchen, just north of Oamaru;
  • Take a picnic along for a hike through the unusual rock formations of Elephant Rocks and Earthquakes (site of much of the filming of the Narnia films);
  • Just come and relax at one of New Zealand’s exclusive luxury lodges, housed in a Category-One historic house.

With all that there is to do in the Oamaru area, you could easily spend your entire holiday here!

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