is the district’s main centre and is renowned for its attractive townscape
and gardens, intact Victorian precinct and harbour, neoclassical stone
buildings, and the most accessible daily contact with penguins anywhere in
Oamaru has the largest collection of protected heritage buildings in New
They were designed by the finest architects of their time and crafted from
the local limestone now known worldwide as Oamaru Stone.
The harbour, reputed to be the only intact Victorian harbour in New Zealand,
is home not only to an old curved wooden wharf and an assortment of
traditional craftspeople, but hundreds of blue penguins that waddle ashore
every night just after dark.
The Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony, a natural nesting area for the world’s
smallest penguin species, has been enhanced by a dedicated team of
volunteers and is now an international draw card.
Grandstand seating enables visitors to get a close look at these engaging
birds every night of the year. A 30-minute walk away is another penguin
colony at Bushy Beach.
This is the northern-most place where the rare yellow-eyed penguin is known
to nest and breed successfully.
Oamaru is served by regular daily
bus and coach services to
Queenstown and by
Air New Zealand Link air
services from Christchurch
There are no passenger train services from Oamaru to Christchurch,
Timaru, Dunedin, Invercargill, Mt Cook, Te Anau or Queenstown.