Oamaru, the largest town in North Otago, really embraces it’s past. As well as priding itself as being a modern town there is a very interesting Victorian Precinct to explore, complete with people in period costume and a penny farthing bicycle waiting for brave souls to clamber up on.
Lovely old buildings in the Victorian Precinct
And one of us did clamber up on the penny farthing bicycle, a little difficult but I’m pleased to say I persevered and finally made it. Just as well the bike was on a stand and not going anywhere.
That’s me way up on a penny farthing
Oamaru is also very much into “Steam Punk” and the town is now known as the Steam Punk Capitol of the World, with enthusiasts arriving en masse for regular get togethers. The term coined in the 1980s and is based on imagining inventions the Victorians might have created for the modern world. Started by science fiction novels and has branched out to incorporate art and fashion, typified by embellished hats and goggles.
The Friendly Bay Playground down by the harbour has a steam punk flavour too, with all sorts of weird and wonderful items to clamber over.
At the Playground
The Oamaru Harbour, we tread, is one of the best surviving, unmodified, Victorian/Edwardian styled deep water ports.
Down by the Harbour
In this area is a large mural commemorating the visit of the ship Terra Nova to Oamaru in February 1913 bringing news of the deaths of Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s polar party to the world. The mural was completed in time for the Scott 100 Celebrations in 2013.
Mural depicting Terra Nova arriving in Oamaru
A little further around the coast we came across an amazing sight – hundreds of pied shags resting on the old derelict wharf. They were all quite happy, sitting in the sunshine and preening themselves, and not at all disturbed by the paparazzi .
Pied shags on the old wharf
The Oamaru Steam and Rail were running train rides but sadly their steam engine was under repair. We stopped the watch as the carriages full of happy people was pulled by a 1939 diesel shunter.
Oamaru Steam and Rail excursion
Robin found a Model Railway display and was up the stairs as quick as a wink – at only $2 entry it was certainly good value. Run by volunteer members of the Whitestone Model Rail Group, it was a marvelous display indeed.
Model Rail Exhibition
Oamaru has many magnificent stone buildings in the main street, and quite a number of beautiful churches, all built in the creamy white Oamaru Stone. Just beautiful, and an important part of this lovely town.
Beautiful Oamaru buildings and churches
After all this architectural grandeur, our camp site at the A & P Showgrounds seems very low key indeed. We have a flock of sheep over the fence to keep us company, together with several other vans and campers.
Our home for two nights in Oamaru