Coming south from Timaru to Dunedin, Oamaru is the first point of interest. Described as the best example of Victorian architecture in use in New Zealand today, the ornate Oamaru limestone facades of the buildings in the port precinct gleam. During the second week of November the town hosts the Victorian Heritage Celebrations. Festivities include the New Zealand Penny Farthing Championships, a Heritage Golf Classic, a Heritage

Ball, and a Victorian Garden Party. The town's visitor center has information about the festival and the buildings themselves.

Oamaru's other claim to fame is penguins. Each evening, enthusiastic blue penguins—the world's smallest penguin breed—emerge from the sea and waddle up the beach to their nests. The penguin colony is a 5-minute drive from the town center in Oamaru. An even more significant population of yellow-eyed penguins, or hoiho, come ashore south of Oamaru. The best places to view them are Bushy Beach and Katiki Point, where hides (camouflaged viewing huts) have been constructed. The hide at Bushy Beach is wheelchair-accessible. These penguins are one of the world's rarest breeds, and they are considered an endangered species.

Read More



Trip Finder

No Thanks

Love To Travel?

Get FREE e-mail communications from Fodor's Travel, covering must-see travel destinations, expert trip planning advice, and travel inspiration to fuel your passion.

Thank You

Now sit back, relax, and check your inbox to start planning your next travel adventure.

Please tell us more about the type of travel you're interested in. Check all that apply.