OAMARU + WAITAKI
🚗 self-drive itinerary
🛏️ minimum 2 night stay recommended
🍽️ dining suggestions offered
📅 visit any time of year
Travel to a place of scenic contrast and haunting natural beauty. Experience mysterious boulders, windswept beaches and New Zealand Maori rock art. Oamaru offers an amazing townscape with charming historic whitestone architecture.
Highlights can include:
- spot New Zealand fur seals/kekeno and yellow-eyed penguins/hoiho from the cliff-top walk known as Bushy Beach Track 👟🐧
- a fun alternative road Danseys Pass is a mountain pass that links the Maniototo plain to this region, via a gravel and sand surfaced road 🚗
- if you've ever thought of soaring over lakes rivers and mountains in a glider, you'll want to soar like an eagle with Glide Omarama
- Hot Tubs Omarama provide the perfect way to unwind in their private wellness pools filled with fresh mountain water just for you ♨️
- Lake Benmore and Lake Aviemore offer great walks, and are popular with boating and fishing enthusiasts. The Benmore Peninsula track takes around 1.5 hours to complete and is breathtaking (see video) 👟
- explore some of New Zealand's best and most complete Victorian streetscapes in Oamaru's Victorian Precinct
- explore the staggering natural land forms known as Paritea or Omarama's Clay Cliffs - sharp pinnacles and ridges separated by narrow ravines
- made famous by the film Narnia: the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the Elephant Rocks are towering limestone rocks and a geological wonder 🎬
- funky wee Art Gallery,Art on Tyne is always worth a look 🎨
- Kakanui is the place for beach lovers, with Campbells Bay providing a surfable break and All Day Bay popular with swimming 🏄🐚
- learn about the cheese-making process that goes into the handmade artisan cheese and taste the cheeses at the Whitestone Cheese Factory 🧀
- discover an alternative past – or maybe a quirky version of the future – at this fascinating art project celebrating steampunk culture at Steampunk HQ
- just past the quiet seaside Moeraki Village you'll find Katiki Point Lighthouse and if you take the time to explore you'll find some wildlife gems
- every evening the world's smallest penguins surf in and wade ashore, heading to their nests at the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony 🐧
- discover river sculpted caves or great views out to sea, as well as see and hear many of New Zealand's bush birds in Trotters Gorge Scenic Reserve
- take a walk to the Moeraki Boulders - geological marvels dotting the beach, strewn with large near-spherical rocks with bizarre cracked shells - take time for a selfie! 📸🤳
AT A GLANCE
📍 # of Visitors3.0
🌦️ Chance of Rain2.5
👨👩👦👦 Family Fun2.0
🍽️ Food + Wine 6.5
🏳️🌈 LGBTQI+ friendly 👍
Note: the highest possible score is an 8.0
🎥video courtesy of Oamaru & Waitaki District on Facebook
OAMARU + WAITAKI
Sit back and relax. We've planned it all for you.
Day 1 : Arrive in Oamaru + Waitaki
You'll travel to the region, arriving either by car or coach. Upon arrival into the Oamaru + Waitaki region you'll check in to your accommodation, settle in and get acquainted with your surroundings for the next 2 nights.
This afternoon the best way to get to know Oamaru is by wandering the wonderfully preserved streets of Oamaru's Victorian Precinct. Get lost in the shops, pubs, have a go riding a Penny Farthing, get lost in Steampunk HQ or buy a memento to keep your trip memories alive at Art on Tyne.
Tonight you'll be treated to the an unforgettable food experience showcasing the best in season ingredients fresh from the garden and local suppliers.
Day 2 : Tasty cheese, the big outdoors + cute penguins
You'll be raving about Whitestone Cheese as much as any one else that's ever tried their cheese after visiting their factory, and learning more about the process. Take them up on the opportunity to pair their cheese with wine and/or beer - you won't be disappointed.
Spend the afternoon in the wilderness above Lake Benmore on taking in stunning lake and mountain scenery offered by the The Benmore Peninsula Track, which is an approximately 4km loop circuit that takes around 90-minutes to complete. The hike is not particularly physically demanding but the views will likely leave you breathless.
To round off the day, a real favourite with nature lovers is witnessing the world's smallest penguins waddle ashore at night at Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony. We'll score you premium seats with the best views so you can get a good look as they wander passed you in subdued lighting that showcases their entire trip ashore to their nests. It's a real treat!
Whatever you've ended up doing with your day, as always we'll arrange dinner tonight for you to celebrate delicious New Zealand food and your last night in this region at one of our favourite restaurants in the area. Tonight you'll likely be treated to fresh fish straight from the fishing boat in a special place worth the rave reviews it receives regularly.
Day 3 : Depart Oamaru + Waitaki
This morning you won't be able to avoid geological wonders no matter what direction you head in. If you're travelling north, detour via The Elephant Rocks and take time to wander through them. Travelling south, you'll want to take in the Moeraki Boulders before continuing through to Dunedin. And if you're travelling inland, make sure you take in Paritea Omarama's Clay Cliffs before leaving the area. We'll let you know the best way to get from this region to the next part of your New Zealand trip, wherever you want that to be.