Oamaru - one day travel itinerary. | Travel New Zealand on a Budget
Whitestone Cheese factory
On our way to Oamaru we stopped by Whitestone Cheese factory. Those who know mwe, know - I love cheese (and Yes, I am lactose intolerant and I don't care, cheese is my thing, so let it go!!! ) :D .
They have really nice tester cheese plate for 17 NZD and we tried all of the delicious cheese they have there.
First I have to honest. Cheese in New Zealand is mostly tasteless and awful. But Whitestone is not a regular cheese that you would put on your sandwiches and call it a day. This is that cheese you eat while drinking wine or put on your cheese plate. They were delicious, flavourful and a party in my mouth. No wonder many of their cheeses are awarded. :)
You can even buy their most popular cheese selection, which we did. I know it's not very budget friendly move, but we tend to spend our money on this that add value to our lives and make us happy, instead of spending money on comfort or status symbolizing things like new car.
Oamaru is the largest town in North Otago and I was surprised by the very distinct 19th century Victorian architecture. Most of the towns in NZ look alike, but Oamaru stands out.
One of the main streets (Thames street) is wide and spacious surrounded by all those historic buildings, shops, galleries and chrurches. For a minute I actually felt like in Europe.
One building particularly seemed very interesting to us. It looked like an old warehouse with a train locomotive in front of it. It looked like out of a horror movie, decorated with skulls and industrial metal parts.
When we came closer we realized it is coin-operated "steampunk" engine that actually greets visitors, when they put some coins in. It makes engine and train whistle noises, and smoke coming out of its chimney. Looking from the street the building looks just like an average stone building, but don't be fooled. All the best things are hidden inside and on the other side of the building.
The tickets were only 10 NZD, so we decided to take a look. More information you can fourn HERE.
It is actually a very cool, art gallery with industrial take on steampunk movement. In two darkened roomsnyou can see sculptures, and audio-visual installations. You can interact with exhibitions, press buttons, play piano and see what happens.
There is also an interesting little dark room light up by little lights with a music playing in a background. You feel like in a space. A yard also contains a collection of other industrial parts and projects in various stages of completion. The exterior walls of the building are decorated with creations such as giant flies made from metal and industrial parts.
It was a bit spooky, but interesting and I highly suggest you to give this a try. You can also rent a typical steampunk costumes for pictures as wel as shop in the gift shop for cool accesories, t-shirts and other souvenirs.
Oamaru Botanical Garden
They also have a nice Botanical Garden, that is actually one of the oldest public garden in the country. For us places like this are perfect. The entry very budget friendly (it's free), the views are perfect and we can get our daily dose of nature even in the city.
There are rhododendron dell and azalea lawn, a native fernery and an extensive planting of New Zealand natives, a Chinese garden, red bridge over the creek, an aviary and peacock house and children’s play area.
Oamaru is surprising town with a lot of things to do and see. It is worth to stop by and enjoy it at least for a day.
Moreaki Boulders and Katiki Point Lighthouse
On our wayto Dunedin we managed to do some more stops.
First was Moreaki Boulders. They are large and spherical, perfectly shaped boulders lying along a stretch of Koekohe Beach. To be honest they looked like dinosaur eggs.
Entre is for donations. If I remember correctly suggested amount is 2NZD, but no-one will check if you donate different amount. There is a gift shop and a cafe as well.
Another stop we made was at Katiki Point Lighthouse. It is a nice spot and a short hike to the beach wjere you can see see lions and birds chilling.