Oamaru today is a peaceful town that few would suspect had a rather bawdy and racy history. Back in its heyday in the 1800s, Oamaru in fact had the largest number of banks of any town in the Southern Hemisphere (peaking at 21), but it also had as many grog shops and a comparable number of brothels. With all these dens of iniquity, it’s hardly surprising that the town had its fair share of murders, and people who died under suspicious circumstances, and there are those who would say that these troubled spirits still roam the town’s streets in the form of ghosts.
Oamaru Harbour is also one of the most treacherous in New Zealand, and more ships were wrecked on our coastline than anywhere else in the country. Even today, there are visitors who claim to have seen sailing ships sinking off the coast at night, even though no such ships have been seen in our waters in some time.
Hair Raiser Tours are now offering nightly tours of Oamaru’s mysterious and seamier sides, with a Victorian-clad guide with a candlelit torch leading groups of bold visitors along the darkened streets and sharing the tales of those unfortunates whose disturbed souls may still be among us. A nice little benefit of these tours is that you can often also run across little blue penguins as they cross your path while making their way from the sea to their nests!
The tours depart nightly from outside the i-Site and depart at 6pm during April to September, and 8pm from October to March.