When savvy tourists look back on their South Island experiences, the lasting clear impression is of a staggering variety of scenery within relatively compact distances.
Waitaki (the region around Oamaru) epitomises this characteristic. In 2023 Waitaki was declared as Australasia’s first and only UNESCO Global Geopark. Within its boundaries you can discover alpine grandeur, many areas of geological interest, leading to wild Pacific Ocean sea-coasts.
The wealth of Waitaki is founded on its pastoral riches, More that 100 years ago it pioneered the first successful export of frozen meat to the UK.
Beside the Oamaru harbour confident Victorian merchants commissioned a streetscape of ornate, gleaming white-stone buildings; while inland, in stark contrast, a little used road to the goldfields winds past the isolated, rustic Dansey’s Pass Hotel (as welcome to today’s traveller as it was to the miners more than a century ago!)
On the northern boundary the mighty Waitaki River races from Mt Cook to the sea with brief pauses in hydro-power lakes. Jet boats skim along while in quiet spots anglers fish.
The sea too has boating and fishing attractions and seafood lovers will get very close to heaven if they sample the locally caught Blue Cod.