Playing tourists at home


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.

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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:


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:

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Tea and Whisky


In spite of my tartan genes I’ve never developed a taste for whisky, however, that doesn’t stop me from enjoying the NZ Malt Whisky Company’s   cafe in Oamaru’s historic precinct.

The company is seeking partners  to build a distillary.

It has consents for Victoria Flats near Gibston but is also considering Oamaru as a location.

The company has also changed its bar and cafe to a whisky tea room for the summer season and is serving high teas, Devonshire teas and lunches.

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