Backpacking in New Zealand: Oamaru, South Island

Welcome to Victorian Oamaru in New Zealand

A Victorian town out of nowhere, the desolate old fashioned lifestyle is enough to enchant the casual passer by, or at least one with a hate of commercialism. I’ll tell you where it is – on the east coast of New Zealand’s south island.

I strolled around town snap happy and dull amidst a slow lifestyle where nothing is changing. I reckon I could have walked through the town 20 years earlier and not noticed any change.

This car a sign of the surreal “step back in time” apparent at Oamaru.

A green house in Oamaru had me questioning myself “where the fuck am I?”

This seriously looked like a disused train station. I walked along the platform to find no timetable.

Perhaps it’s used only for freight. Looking out to sea at Oamaru.

You have to love a sign like that. Nobody was around to capture me next to it, or indeed with my more modern flag of Northern Ireland, which at the time was in my pocket.

It’s historic and the NZ government have noticed that and indeed are restoring it. Perhaps a tourist pull in an area that blatantly isn’t.

The age of the steam train in an era even I couldn’t envisage while dandering nonchalantly through the worn streets of Oamaru.

A gorgeous Protestant Church.

In fact my very own church – A Presbyterian.

The war memorial in a similar location to the one in Yarram in Australia.

The main street shows a slightly more modern side to the town.

Countdown the supermarket chain the sole proof of commercialisation hitting Oamaru. And even that ain’t global – it’s a New Zealand brand.

A local crosses the road.

Stop for a coffee…

An England flag flies next to a New Zealand flag on a central corner. Heritage and colonisation of a town whose name is clearly Maori.

I stopped for my lunch there and enjoyed a traditional mutton and pickle sandwich.

That was in Lagonda tea rooms where I also bought a tea to bring onto the bus…

…for the journey northwards back to Christchurch. That was it for Oamaru. Don’t ever change or move with the times, you need to maintain your old fashioned appeal.


(available on iTunes, from the album “Pleased To Meet You”, not on You Tube, great song, get into Louise Wener)

THE KILLERS – SOMEBODY TOLD ME (for the once unheard line “never thought I’d let Oamaru ruin my moonlight”)


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