Things to do in Oamaru – historic precinct

14/01/2015

When the farm consultant bringing a group of Australian farmers to North Otago was discussing the proposed itinerary it included a look at irrigation infrastructure.

I suggested that some of the party might like an alternative.

I was right.

The whole party had been to whisky tasting on Monday night  and four of the women were keen to return to discover more of the charms of Oamaru’s historic precinct.

We parked by Oamaru Steam and Rail’s Harbourside Station and walked the few metres to admire the train outside Steampunk HQ.

Our next stop was the Grainstore Gallery:

The Grainstore Gallery is quite unlike any other you will find anywhere. A simply astonishing array of original artworks amidst a unique and magnificent ambience. Most of the works are created on site by owner and artist in residence, Donna Demente. Her work is famous throughout NZ for its mysterious richness and eerie presence, focussing on the glances and gazes of her portrait subjects (some masked) which loom large like illuminated echoes of the Renaissance, Romantic and Religious iconography of yesteryear.

There is also plenty of ephemera and minutiae to enable you to take home a small souvenir of your experience of this majestic interior. . .

 From there we walked to the end of Harbour Street, admiring Ian Anderson’s Oamaru stone carvings en route  and popped into Housekeepers Design for retail therapy and coffee before meandering back up Harbour Street.

Lavish Soap, home of the goat milks and flaxseed ointment which I swear by to counter eczema,  was our next stop before a long browse and several purchases at Lazy Cat Pottery Art and Café.

We were too early for Birdlands Wine and Scotts Breweing and Oasis, resisted the lure of the Harbour Street Bakery and Adventure Books but were waylaid by Presence.

An hour simply wasn’t long enough – we had to miss Slightly Foxed, the Woolstore Complex,  the inside of Steampunk HQ and several other attractions including the newly opened Galley café and the steampunk playground.

Victorian Oamaru is a good place to start when looking at what to see and do in and near the historic precinct.

 Events include the regular Sunday Farmers Market, the Oamaru Harbour Regatta on Waitangi Day, February 6th; the Harbour Street Jazz Festival from Friday March 20th to Sunday 22nd and the annual Victorian Heritage Celebrations in November.

P.S.

This is part of a series of posts of things to see and do in Oamaru and the wider  Waitaki hinterland.

You’re welcome to add your thoughts on the area or your own part of the country/world.

 


Playing tourists at home

20/09/2009

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to give the partners of conference attendees a taste of North Otago, the caller told me.

It’s not often I get to play tourists at home so I was happy to accept the challenge to occupy 10 people for three hours. The difficulty wasn’t what to show them but what to leave out.

saturday 003

We started in Oamaru’s historic precinct where attractions include Lavish Soap,  the New Zealand Malt Whisky Company, and the Grainstore Gallery.

Donna Demente is one of the artists whose work is available in the gallery. She’d parked her car downstairs:

car

Our second stop was Parkside Garden a two acre testament to the creativity and energy of Linda Wilson and Bob Wilson, of Parkside Quarry where Oamaru stone comes from.

A 15 minute drive from the downlands to the Waitaki Valley took us to Riverstone Kitchen  .  Fortified by a sumptuous afternoon tea we then partook of a little retail therapy in the adjoining gift shop:

choc 009


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