Find Oamaru amid the breathtaking, untamed beauty along the east coast of New Zealand’s Southern Island. The city is graced with some of the country’s best 19th century architecture and is home to the blue and yellow-eyed penguins. Many tourists come to Oamaru for the penguins, but there is so much more that the town has to offer and there is no better way to see the town than by bicycle.

Effortlessly tour the town with your e-bike rental that has a speed of about 25 km per hour. E-bikes are so much better than walking and much less effort than a traditional cycle, so you get to see more and enjoy more without spending a lot of money. What exactly can you see in Oamaru on a four-hour e-bike tour?

Historic Sites

Start your tour in the Victorian District. Only consisting of a couple of blocks, the neighbourhood is home to well-preserved Victorian commercial buildings. Tucked away among the buildings are some of the best gatherings of what is quirky in Oamaru. Explore antique stores, galleries, artist studios, vintage clothing and book stores, not to mention restaurants and memorable taverns.

Along with the Victorian preservation, Oamaru was named the Steampunk Capital of the World in August 2016, according to The Guinness Book of World Records. Discover Steampunk HQ along the railroad tracks. Displayed here are creations locals have made from materials taken from junk-piles and secondhand shops. While cycling through the town you may even see some residents dressed in Victorian garb.

Natural Wonders

Not far from the waterfront is the Oamaru Public Garden. The gardens opened on this site in 1867. Mature plantings along with colourful annuals grow in harmony along Oamaru Creek. Take in the aviary, peacock house, Chinese garden or children’s play area.

Head back toward the water’s edge and to Lookout Point. Take in the views of the town and to the west the Southern Alps, then back to the water. Of course, while you are at the shore stay to see the blue penguins make their nightly pilgrimage from the sea to their nests in the quarry stone. The penguins arrive just before dark, but take in the daytime tour to understand the conservation work done by the center.

A little ways out of town is Bushy’s Beach. Here you will be introduced to the yellow-eyed penguins. These birds are much larger than the blue penguins and are very rare. It is best to view them two hours before dark from lookout points in the cliffs where you can quietly observe without frightening them away.

So there you have it! Four hours and an e-bike and you create a memorable experience in the town of Oamaru.

Author Jason Nockels

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