North of Dunedin is a land of enchantment where grand 19th century Victorian buildings sit comfortably next to fun and funky modern art, where cute little penguins, Maori legends and spectacular vistas all vie for attention.
Spend the day surrounded by such beauty with an excursion to Oamaru, a quaint seaside town on the east coast about 90 minutes north of Dunedin.
Be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes, a light jacket and don’t forget your camera - this full-day outing will provide camera buffs with one jaw-dropping photo opportunity after another; however, photography is prohibited at the penguin colony.
After boarding your coach you’ll begin your journey north to Oamaru’s historic harbor, the site of the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony, a world leading conservation and research facility.
Once you arrive in town, you’ll disembark and walk to the nearby cliffs, a penguin paradise for the last 25 years. Every year, adult birds come ashore between May and June to find the perfect nesting site and lay two eggs from August to November.
A unique opportunity to see this nocturnal bird during the day at the “blue wing,” a viewing facility that allows you to look into the top of ten nesting boxes. If you’re lucky, you may see young chicks busily eating or parents preparing a nest.
Then, you’ll drive back into town for a short walking tour of its historic precinct, a 2015 winner of a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence. Take a step back in time as you stroll past some of New Zealand’s most acclaimed 19th century structures. Amid this noted architecture sits the Steampunk Train. Steampunk, inspired by the writing of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, and in TV shows such as Dr. Who, is a quirky and fun genre of science fiction that features steam-powered technology.
Before departing Oamaru, you’ll have the option to enjoy lunch (at your own cost), our driver can recommend some local favourites before heading off to your next stop.
Back on the coach, you’ll continue on to the Otago Coast, a dramatic stretch of coastline through some of the country’s most diverse landscapes.
Then, you’ll stop for a look at the geological wonders known as the Moeraki Boulders. Measuring nine feet in circumference, six feet tall and weighing several tons, the gigantic spherical stones, according to Mâori legend, are the washed-up remains of food baskets from a large canoe that sailed from Hawaiki and perished at sea. But the unusual rocks were created about 60 million years ago and are the result of erosion, time and concretion.
At the end of your day-long journey, you’ll rejoin your coach for the scenic drive back to your waiting ship.