Food Tours and Activities in Oamaru
The grand Victorian architecture, penguin colonies and its steampunk obsession are some of the things Oamaru is more famous for than food. But as the bustling town on the coast of the South Island is also home to one of the most popular artisan cheese brands, the largest confectionery manufacturer, and one of New Zealand’s newest wine regions, it’s also a real hub for foodies. Discover some of the gastronomical experiences with this list of things to do in Oamaru for foodies.
1. Tour a Cheese Factory (with Tastings)
Save some room for the cheese factory tour at Whitestone Cheese! One of New Zealand’s most popular artisan cheese brands, Whitestone Cheese offers comprehensive tours of their factory (see on Viator and Tripadvisor) with specially-made viewing platforms and windows into the factory. You’ll get to try some of the good stuff along the way, be treated to a generous platter in the cafe and go home with a goody bag! Enhance the experience by pairing your cheese platter with local wines in the cheese and wine tasting tour (see on Viator or Tripadvisor).
Location: 3 Torridge Street, approximately 1km (0.6 miles) from Oamaru town centre.
2. Experience the Oamaru Farmers’ Market
Your Sunday morning (between 9.30am and 1pm) is sorted with the Oamaru Farmers’ Market! The Victorian Precinct comes alive with stalls selling an array of goods from the local Waitaki district, including fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, fish, baked goods, preserves, eggs, cheese and much more. As you wander around, treat yourself to something freshly made from the food trucks and a hot coffee. See more activities like this in the 10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Oamaru.
Location: Corner of Wansbeck and Tyne Streets, Oamaru town centre.
3. Venture to the Waitaki Valley Wine Region
Take a road trip up the Waitaki Valley (State Highway 83) and not only will you come across the 7 Bizarre Sights in the Waitaki Valley, but you’ll also find one of New Zealand’s newer wine regions. The Waitaki Valley wine region is fed by waters draining from New Zealand’s highest mountain, Aoraki Mt Cook, where adventurous winemakers have set up vineyards across the limestone, greywacke and schist soils. Stop by the River-T Estate, open Friday to Monday, and the nearby Ostler Wines cellar door, open Monday to Friday afternoons in winter and every afternoon in summer, for tastings paired with indulgent platters.
Location: River-T Estate – 5292a Kurow-Duntroon Road, approximately 62km (40 miles) from Oamaru town centre. Ostler Wines – 45 Bledisloe Street, Kurow, approximately 66km (41 miles) from Oamaru town centre.
4. Try Some Craft Beer in the Victorian Precinct…
In the heart of Omarau, the Victorian Precinct hides a wealth of foodie experiences among its grand white limestone architecture, including two breweries! Sample the New Zealand craft beer of Scott’s Brewing Co. with beer served alongside pizzas at their brew bar and kitchen, open all week. Or how about trying some Belgian-style ales at Craftwork Brewery to try alongside New Zealand-made cheese boards? They’re open from Friday to Sunday. [Update: The Craftwork Brewery tasting room is closed until further notice].
Location: Scotts Brewing Co. – 1 Wansbeck Street. Craftwork Brewery – 17 Harbour Street, Oamaru town centre.
5. … Then Pick up a Pie, Ice Cream and Artisan Goods in the Victorian Precinct
You’re not done in the Victorian Precinct just yet! You’ll also find local homemade preserves and other high-quality artisan goods at the Riverstone Larder, part of the popular Riverstone Kitchen mentioned in point #7. Pick up a loaf of fresh European-style bread for breakfast or Kiwi savoury pies for lunch at the Harbour Street Bakery – many argue that they are the best pies in New Zealand! Or, if you just seek a treat to keep you going, take a lick of the handmade ice cream of Deja Moo!
Location: Riverstone Larder – 2A Harbour Street. Harbour Street Bakery – 4 Harbour Street. Deja Moo – 6 Harbour Street, Oamaru town centre.
6. Get Some Naughty Snacks for the Road from Rainbow Confectionery
On your way in or out of Oamaru, stock up on the snacks at Rainbow Confectionery. That’s right, the largest confectionery manufacturer in New Zealand has their factory right here in Oamaru. You can’t miss their bright building decorated in jelly beans, gummy sweets and chocolate fish at the northern end of town. Pop into their factory store to pick up huge bags of gummy sweets/candy (or, as they call them in New Zealand, “lollies”) that New Zealanders have grown up with.
Location: 459 Thames Highway, approximately 3km (2 miles) from Oamaru town centre.
7. Try the Local Cuisine at Oamaru’s Cafes and Restaurants
While we’ve mentioned some of the breweries, cheeseries and bakeries in the Victorian Precinct to check out, other dining experiences worth booking a table for include Cucina. Indulge in artful plates of Italian and South American cuisine made with local and seasonal fare among a generous display of plants to give that alfresco feeling. For breakfast or lunch, check out Tees St Cafe housed in what was a historic bookstore and drapery. Try some healthy treats, like overnight bircher with poached apples and homemade kombucha, or opt for something from their gourmet cabinet collection. It’s also worth a quick trip out of town to the Riverstone Kitchen for their creative menu of contemporary European cuisine made from fruit and veggies grown in their on-site gardens, which you’re free to explore. For more honourable recommendations, check out The Foodie Guide to Oamaru.
Location: Cucina – 1 Tees Street. Tees St Cafe – 3 Tees Street. Riverstone Kitchen – 1431 Glenavy-Hilderthorpe Road, approximately 19km (12 miles) from Oamaru town centre.