The Waitaki region was not part of my travel plans when I arrived in New Zealand… And oh how I was stupid – the Waitaki is just an incredible region! From mountains to the ocean, the Waitaki has so much to offer!
So follow me along paths less-travelled and explore with me this stunning place.
(I’m only posting a few photos per place, but if you want to see more, head out to my Instagram page, where I post photos regularly as I now live there 🙂 )
What to see ?
Oamaru is the main town in the Waitaki and is just one of a kind! It is a quirky little town, out of time. People there are so kind, and they take time to enjoy life. Meeting people wearing Victorian outfits? Or dressed as a Steampunk? Just a normal day in Oamaru! 😉
What is Steampunk you might ask? Don’t worry, I didn’t know anything about it before landing in Oamaru! It is a current where people imagine life without electricity. It is international and Oamaru is the HQ of it. Oamaru has the Steampunk museum but also hosts the Steampunk Festival, which is a really cool event!
What I really loved as soon as I stepped foot in Oamaru is its architecture. Coming from France, architecture is quite a big part of our cities. In New Zealand, it is really rare to find beautiful architecture like this, and Oamaru is famous for its limestone.
Step back in time when walking in Oamaru’s Victorian Precinct, with those beautiful Victorian buildings and small little shops.
Moeraki Boulders is one of the must-see in New Zealand, and it’s part of the Waitaki region. It is a nice beach, and a great spot to admire the sunset (or sunrise if you don’t mind waking up early!)! Those boulders have been eroded with the natural elements over time, creating those spherical wonders!
Lake Benmore is one of my favourite lakes in New Zealand. It offers incredible views, all year round, all day long! I just find the views there so peaceful… You can do hikes around, or just stop there for a picnic and to admire the views 🙂
The legends says that Elephant Rocks got this name because the rocks look like elephants… But I’ve been there with different people and each one of them sees an elephant in a different rock! So it might not be really clear which rock is the real elephant but it’s still a pretty cool place for a picnic, and such a stunning place just before sunset (look at that golden hour!)
What to do?
Hot Tubs Omarama
These Hot Tubs in Omarama are filled with natural mountain water, heated with wood fire… In short, it’s paradise! What’s best than soaking in your own private Hot Tubs with incredible views surrounding you? 😀
River-T Estate Wines
At River-T Estate, you can wander in the beautiful winery, enjoy a glass of locally-made wine, looking at stunning views of the winery! You can even enjoy a platter of local cheeses – what else? 😉
Dress up as a Victorian
In Oamaru, you can push the Victorian experience even further by dressing up at Whitestone City and explore their traditional shops, play Victorian games… A lot of fun! 😀
Discover the Steampunk universe
If you want to know more about Steampunk, you are at the right place in Oamaru – they have the world Steampunk HQ! I didn’t know anything about it before, but it’s a quite a quirky experience. My favourite room is the Portal – full on infinite fairy lights… So dreamy!
Go see the penguins
I have always wanted to see penguins, and since I’m in Oamaru, I have been served! You can go to the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony at night to see those little cute creatures coming back ashore from sea. During the day, you can see them in their nests, and discover the conservation work the team there is doing (and if you go on Wednesdays, you can actually accompany them in their monitoring work!)
Finally, to please the big food lover that I am, Oamaru & the Waitaki region has delicious restaurants and cute little cafés (but don’t be surprised, they close at 4pm, like in a lot of small – or even bigger – cities in New Zealand… Kiwi style enjoying life, remember? 😉 )
My favourite restaurant in Oamaru is Portside Restaurant, offering amazing views of the Oamaru Harbour and delicious seafood 🙂
15 minutes away from Oamaru, you can also go to Riverstone which is one of the only 2 castles in New Zealand (really small comparing to European castles – don’t say I haven’t warned you 😉 but it’s still pretty cute!) but also a really good restaurant, serving meals made with the ingredients from their garden.
So… What are you waiting for to add the Waitaki region on your bucket list? 😉
To watch the video I made on this beautiful region, click here!