Welcome to Oamaru

Down by the water, a neighbourhood of once-neglected Victorian buildings now swarms with oddballs, antiquarians and bohemians of all stripes, who run offbeat galleries, quirky shops, hip music venues and even an 'urban winery'. Most visible are the steampunks, their aesthetic boldly celebrating the past and the future with an ethos of 'tomorrow as it used to be'.

Away from the docks, Oamaru's whitestone buildings harbour an increasing array of cafes and bars, while up on the clifftops a few excellent accommodation options have taken hold. You may find yourself lingering longer than expected in this laid-back coastal town.

Top experiences in Oamaru

Amazing hotels and hostels

We've pre-picked the best hotels, hostels and bed and breakfasts to make your stay as enjoyable as possible.

Oamaru activities

$3126.02 Multi-day & Extended Tours

7-Day South Island Photography Tour from Queenstown to Christchurch

Day 1 – The Catlins Today we head south towards the Catlins. En route we visit the South Island’s most southerly point, Waipapa and its well-known lighthouse. We move on to a beach in the Catlins Coastal Rainforest Park where a low tide reveals long fingers of fossilised forest, some 160 million years old and now exposed by tide and time. From here we travel inland to explore the waterfalls of the Catlins. Day 2 - The Catlins / Otago Peninsula Heading north through the Catlins, we take in sunrise at the spectacular coastline of Nugget Point. Along the Catlins coast, we will hopefully get the chance to photograph penguins and the magnificent New Zealand sea lion, which in recent decades has begun breeding again in the Catlins area. The day ends at Larnach Castle, one of New Zealand’s most stately buildings, set on the crest of the Otago Peninsula near Dunedin. Day 3 - Otago Peninsula The Otago Peninsula; home to penguins, albatross and sea lions, is often called the wildlife capital of New Zealand. We take a boat charter to view many of these species from the sea, visit the world’s only mainland breeding colony of Southern Royal Albatross. We end the day photographing sunset over the ridges and estuaries of the peninsula. Day 4 - Moeraki Heading north along the East Coast we stop to photograph the forest birds at Orokonui, which is home to New Zealand’s tuatara, a relic from the dinosaur age. The day also includes photographing a colony of shags along the coastline here. Then we head out into the last light of the day to photograph Yellow-eyed penguins at a coastal reserve on their return from a day out at sea. Tonight we stay near Moeraki, south of Oamaru. Day 5 - Moeraki / Mt Cook An early start to photograph sunrise over the famed Moeraki Boulders which are curiously round rocks known as ‘concretions,’ set into a scenic beachscape. We then head inland towards Mt Cook. We will head out to explore locations in the park and then an evening shoot in the Tasman Valley. Day 6 - Mt Cook This morning we will have the option to do some aerial photography (optional extra) we will take a flight over Mt Cook and land for an hour with a guide to photography the glacier. The rest of the day will be taken up alternating between locations in the park. We will capture the panoramic views of the Tasman and Hooker valleys, including alpine lakes, sweeping river vistas, and views of New Zealand’s highest peaks. All the locations we visit are within easy walks along well-graded tracks on the valley floors. Day 7 - Mt Cook / Christchurch The day begins with the option for some pre-dawn astrophotography and sunrise shoot before heading back to the hotel for breakfast. We then leave Mt Cook and drive North to photograph around Lake Tekapo. In the afternoon we travel to Christchurch.