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It is a town slowly awakening to the present for the visitor. Not too many years from now I predict it will probably boast a lot of great reasons to stop here. Some of the more advanced thinking souls with vision who live in and love Oamaru with its fabulous historic region of original stone buildings are starting to flex their collective thoughts and begin a revolution to make this town one of the most important destinations in New Zealand. It will be a must on the tourist trail both for international visitor and Kiwi alike.
Some of the new directions are a horse and carriage ride presenting the rich heritage of the area and an introduction of the Whitestone Cheese factory.Another new program that has been highly spoken about is the “Poltergeist of the Precinct”. A lantern-lit meander in and around the historic buildings with the brilliant story-telling of tour guide Annette. Phone for bookings 021-434-925 for a very interesting evening. A few very good reasons to stop presently is one, the Omru Blue Gallery, one of the finest in New Zealand and a superior coffee café named aptly the Short Black across the street at 45 Thames Street. They present a fabulous Italian blend of coffee introduced to Oamaru by Riccardo and Suzanne Strinconi after a long coffee making background in Australia. The food and coffees are served with panache and much pleasantness. A very good working team of people at this café. If you enjoy quality coffee this is the place.
For those who enjoy an organic Aribica try the Steam not too far down the street at 7 Thames Street. Like the coffeehouses of history they concentrate only on coffee. They encourage you to bring your own food along to eat but provide delicious desserts.
Rumour has it a whiskey company is planning to begin a distillery operation in the historic portion of town down where Michael O’Brien hangs his sign out advertising his business as a book binder. Michael is one of the resident folks who is a delight to visit and have a yarn to just don’t get him started on scotch whiskies unless you really know what you talking about.
Backing up a bit just fifteen minutes north of Oamaru on Route One is Riverstone Country. This is a place that has more “stuff” per foot than anywhere ever seen. If you got time to spend this is a place to enjoy rummaging around for hours looking at the unbelievable amounts of diverse gifts and goodies. It is a place not well marked at the highway so keep your eyes peeled north of the airport on the west side of the road. Great fun to visit.
The major reason most traveler's stop is to have an evening viewing of the little blue penguin hurrying in from a day's feeding at sea scurrying up the beach to their homes in the cliff. You get to see the penguins in natural environment without bothering them. Also the rare yellow-eyed penguin hangs out here.if you want to see penguins in New Zealand this is the one and only spot. Don't miss it.