Oamaru Attractions and Activities

Oamaru, described as "New Zealand’s best kept secret" is recognised as a destination town with the world-renowned Blue Penguin Colony - see the world's smallest penguins, in their natural environment. The colony is just beyond the Victorian Heritage Precinct and within walking distance of the town centre, close to shops, restaurants and accommodation.

blue penguin Oamaru

Blue Penguin Colony

The colony began when a small number of blue penguins began nesting in a rock quarry area at the edge of Oamaru Harbour in the early 1990s. Today, it is Oamaru’s largest tourist attraction, with over 75,000 visitors per year.

The best viewing is at dusk however day and evening tours are available. We can arrange ‘pick up’ from our motel by Penguins Crossing Tours to both colonies.

Limestone buildings Oamaru

Limestone buildings

Oamaru is famous for its superb limestone buildings, coastal wildlife, and the coastal walks. The Art Gallery, Museum, Historical Precinct (with it's fully renovated Victorian Criterion Hotel,) and the magnificent Catholic Cathedral are also worth visiting.

Moeraki Boulders Oamaru

Moeraki Boulders

35 minutes drive south of Oamaru are the Moeraki Boulders. Large round rocks situated on a long scenic beach.

Elephant Rocks Oamaru

Elephant Rocks

Elephant Rocks are unusual limestone formations formed over the years by erosion from wind and rain. Sign-posted about 30mins drive from Oamaru on Highway 83.


Other interests

Oamaru is also the home of the award winning hand-made Whitestone Cheese. This family owned factory has won many awards for its cheese especially Windsor Blue. www.whitestonecheese.co.nz

Victorian Heritage week is celebrated every November including a procession of Penny Farthings down the main street, followed by a procession of red coated military looking personnel and ladies in elegant attire, dressed from another time, yet fittingly suited to the surroundings.

Oamaru is the Steam Punk capital of New Zealand with the annual steam punk ball and fashion show attracting people from all over NZ. A must to see is the steam engine light and sound spectacular. www.steampunkoamaru.co.nz

Take a drive up the Waitaki Valley and visit the Kurow Wineries. www.kurowvillage.co.nz

There is fishing in the Waitaki River or the nearby Waitaki Valley Lakes, where jet boating, boating, sailing and water skiing are all available recreations. Snow skiing in the winter season is within easy reach of Oamaru.

There are two excellent 18 hole golf courses available for golfers.

For more information:


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