Oamaru is in North Otago.
Oamaru does two things better than anywhere else in New Zealand - beautiful colonial architecture and little blue penguin viewing. A strange mix in a strange, interesting town. Oamaru started its existence in the 1800's as a sheep farm for one of just a few large farms in the North Otago region. The natural harbour was recognised and a break water built to facilitate trade. Buildings sprung up - banks, grain stores, post offices and a court house built from limestone (referred to by New Zealanders as Oamaru Stone because it is sourced locally and used all over the country). Oamaru fell on hard times and lacked resources to pull down the older buildings while other towns were replacing older buildings with new ones. As a result Oamaru has a fantastic collection of older buildings in an unspoilt precinct by the harbour. Better times have returned in recent times with the district becoming wealthy through the meat, dairy and education industries and this has allowed the locals to restore and strengthen the old buildings. Today it is a little known tourism secret where prices tend to be reasonable for accomodation (of which there is a glut) and there are some exceptional restaurants which you would not generally expect in a town this size.
Car - Drive three hours south of Christchurch or one and a half hours north of Dunedin. Bus - Services are available from all main centres as Oamaru is located on the main highway. Plane - For those who want to make the most of their time in New Zealand, flights are available on demand for up to three passengers at a time. There are no scheduled flights.
Taxis are available.
Little Blue Penguins Historic Precinct
Take a Scenic Flight
Riverstone Kitchen Portside
Moeraki Cafe & Bar - touristy cafe at the stairs to the Moeraki Boulders. Good view of sea.
Fleur's Place - Moeraki village away from SH1. Fresh seafood.
Fat Sallys North Star