Oamaru is the main centre of the Waitaki District and an ideal base for exploring outlying areas. The town is internationally renowned for its breathtaking collection of neo-classical buildings crafted from locally quarried Oamaru Stone. The Historic Precinct contains the most concentrated collection of buildings and is open year round. Initially built to support the flourishing agricultural sector and related commercial interests, these buildings have been restored to house a range of modern as well as more traditionally focussed businesses. The nearby harbour is recognised as a site of national significance by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust and is also home to the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony and Visitor Centre.
In the town centre the Forrester Gallery houses works of regional and national significance while the North Otago Museum features an impressive collection of Maori and European history. Oamaru’s Public Gardens have enchanted visitors and locals alike for over 130 years with a large playground, wide walkways, aviary, ponds, glass houses and plantings in a Victorian inspired series of “rooms”.
Oamaru offers visitors a chance to enjoy a relaxed pace of life, to view wildlife in their natural habitat, to immerse themselves in living history as well as visit galleries, cafes, restaurants, boutique retail outlets, antique and curio store.