Thames Street

Dunedin & Otago

Oamaru’s main drag owes its expansive girth to the need to accommodate the minimum turning circle of a bullock cart. The town's grand pretensions reached their peak in the late 19th century in a series of gorgeous buildings constructed from the milky local limestone (known as Oamaru stone or whitestone), with their forms reflecting the fashion of the times; there's a particular emphasis on the neoclassical.

Impressive examples include the Forrester Gallery (at No 9, built 1883), the ANZ Bank (No 11, 1871), the Waitaki District Council building (No 20, 1883), the North Otago Museum (No 60, 1882), the Courthouse (No 88, 1883) and the Opera House (No 92, 1907).

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Dunedin & Otago attractions

1. North Otago Museum

0.04 MILES

This weighty museum plans to reopen after renovation in March 2020. The new space will house Waitaki Taonga (the Willetts Collection), one of the most…

2. Forrester Gallery

0.12 MILES

Housed in an elegant, temple-like former bank building, the Forrester Gallery was closed for renovations at the time of research, but should be open in…

3. Steampunk HQ


Discover an alternative past – or maybe a quirky version of the future – at this fascinating art project celebrating steampunk culture. Ancient machines…

4. Oamaru Public Gardens

0.24 MILES

Opened in 1876, these beautiful gardens are among the oldest in New Zealand, and are a lovely place to stroll and relax, with expansive lawns, waterways,…

5. Grainstore Gallery

0.26 MILES

Crammed with weird theatrical sculpture, papier-mâché masks and vintage curiosities, this former Victorian grain store houses an ever-changing cornucopia…

6. Victorian Precinct

0.29 MILES

Consisting of only a couple of blocks centred on Harbour and Tyne Sts, this atmospheric enclave has some of NZ’s best-preserved Victorian commercial…

7. Whitestone City

0.32 MILES

Ōamaru's heyday is brought to life by costumed guides inside this 1882 grain store – and you too can don vintage costumes (adult/child $20/10) and get…

8. Friendly Bay Playground

0.41 MILES

Steampunk for kiddies: this unusual playground includes swings suspended from a giant penny farthing, a slippery pole accessed from an armoured elephant,…