Oamaru & Waitaki

Photo: Miles Holden, Tourism New Zealand

Oamaru & Waitaki

Waitaki District combines historic whitestone architecture and unforgettable wildlife encounters in a beautiful natural landscape of rolling hills and sparkling rivers.

Around Waitaki DISTRICT

Famed for its dramatic landscape, classical architecture, heritage and its strong links to New Zealand’s pioneering past, the Waitaki District has something for everyone. Its wealthy past, combined with an abundance of limestone, gave rise to Oamaru’s precinct of impressive stone buildings – now New Zealand’s most complete Victorian streetscape. As well as its yesteryear charm, spectacular scenery also abounds in this district, particularly in the Waitaki Valley linking North and Central Otago.

Regional Destinations

Oamaru Known for its historic downtown precinct and buildings constructed out of limestone. Take a walking tour to find galleries, boutiques and antique stores. There’s a penguin colony right on the town’s doorstep where visitors can watch a nightly procession of little blue penguins.

Moeraki This tiny fishing village is famous for the huge spherical boulders that are scattered across its sandy beach – and for fresh seafood!

Waitaki Valley Inland from Oamaru is the Waitaki Valley, an alternative route through to Central Otago. As well as fishing and walks, the valley is home to the Vanished World Centre, showcasing the fascinating fossil discoveries made in the region, and several significant Māori rock drawing sites. 

Omarama Rightly famous for its optimal gliding conditions.


Watch little blue penguins come ashore at dusk in Oamaru. Eat fish ‘n’ chips on the beach and contemplate the spherical Moeraki Boulders. Explore the galleries and streets of Oamaru’s historic precinct. Hike in the ruggedly beautiful Waitaki Valley. Fish for salmon in the Waitaki. Take to serene skies in a glider at Omarama.

Ancient Past

Waitaki is known for its striking geology, which includes notable formations and fascinating features like the Moeraki Boulders and has also revealed many secrets about New Zealand’s ancient past. At the Vanished World Centre in Duntroon, you can explore a world that vanished some 20 to 30 million years ago through displays and the fossils of ancient whales, dolphins and invertebrates.


Destinations, South Island

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