Things to Do in Oamaru for Couples
Nature, history and creativity combine at this quirky little town in Coastal Otago. Oamaru is unlike anywhere else in New Zealand with its white limestone architecture to the backdrop of the glistening Pacific Ocean where little blue penguins can be seen swimming from in their “rafts” at the end of each day. Whether you’re a couple who seek adventure or relaxation, you’re sure to find something to suit (and maybe even surprise) in Oamaru. Plan your visit with that special someone using this list of romantic activities in Oamaru!
For more things to do in Oamaru for couples, check out The Honeymoon Guide to Oamaru.
1. Have a Stroll in the Oamaru Public Garden
While the setting of Oamaru’s Victorian-era architecture and vibrant blue waters offer effortless romance, couples seeking something a little bit extra should make a special trip to the Oamaru Public Garden. The oldest public garden in New Zealand, the Oamaru Public Garden offers an endearing scene of flower gardens, marble water fountains, a display house and fernery. All in all, it’s a romantic place for couples to take a stroll or a picnic.
Location: The main car park is off 17 Chelmer Street, approximately 1km (0.6 miles) from Oamaru’s town centre.
2. Indulge in a Wine and Cheese Factory Tour and Tasting Experience
Delight the senses with a foodie experience at one of New Zealand’s most popular artisan cheesemakers, Whitestone Cheese (see on Viator and Tripadvisor). Their factory and cafe offer tours of their working cheese factory, diving into the history of Whitestone Cheese, as well as why the geographical location of the factory is so fundamental to their craft. See the cheesemakers in action from the factory viewing platforms and windows before sitting down to a generous tasting platter. Upgrade to combine your cheese feast with tastings of local wines (more details on Viator or Tripadvisor). See more experiences like this in the 7 Things to Do in Oamaru for Foodies.
Location: 3 Torridge Street , Oamaru town.
3. Explore the Victorian Precinct
It would be a crime to visit Oamaru and not wander around the grand white limestone buildings of the Victorian Precinct and its hidden attractions. Inspire yourselves at the quirky Grainstore Gallery, pick up some unique pieces at Nanna Bangles or enjoy the old-worldly charm of Michael O’Brian Bookbinder. Sit down for a coffee at the Harbour Street Collective Cafe or a craft beer at Scotts Brewing Co. There’s even a museum-like experience at Whitestone City. Trust us, you’ll easily spend a few hours discovering all of its charms.
Location: Harbour Street and Tyne Street, Oamaru town.
4. Go Penguin-watching
For something sure to make your heart melt, check out the little blue penguins waddling to their nests at the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony. This attraction is quite the elaborate set-up with viewing stands, lighting so you can see the penguins during this after-dark activity, and commentary throughout the experience. Alternatively, for a more intimate and unobtrusive wildlife experience, watch the yellow-eyed penguins from the viewing hides of Bushy Beach, which are best seen before 9am or after 3pm. Learn more about Bushy Beach in the 10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Oamaru.
Location: Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony – End of Waterfront Road, approximately 1.5km (1 mile) from Oamaru town centre. Bushy Beach – Bushy Beach Road, approximately 3km (2 miles) from Oamaru town centre.
5. Enjoy a Scenic Journey on the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail
If you’re a more active couple, then you may be more interested in embarking on one of the most scenic bike trails in the South Island? The Alps 2 Ocean Cycle trail, which is over 300km (190 miles) starting in Aoraki Mt Cook and finishing in Oamaru, is well worth pursuing with your loved one. With Oamaru being at the end of the trail, the best day ride option is from Duntroon, and the surrounding geological marvels of the Elephant Rocks, to Oamaru. Organise the trip with Cycle Ventures who can kit you up with bikes, maps and transport to the start and/or end point. Learn more about what you can see on the route in the 7 Bizarre Sights in the Waitaki Valley.
Location: Duntroon – State Highway 83, approximately 44km (27 miles) from Oamaru town centre. Cycle Ventures offer transport.
6. Ride Horseback Along the Waianakarua River
What’s more romantic than watching your loved one riding a majestic steed?! Join Sanctum Grove Equine for a romantic river trek on horseback. Along the Waianakarua River, ride past boulders much like the famous nearby Moeraki Boulders, sit in the “Hobbit Chairs” and make a wish in the wishing well. All the while listening bellbirds and tuis whistling through the valley. Rides are suitable for all experience levels.
Location: 2254 Herbert-Hampden Road, Herbert, approximately 25km (16 miles) from Oamaru town centre.
7. Treat Yourselves to a Couples’ Spa Day
To ease the aches and pains of Oamaru’s more strenuous walks or the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail, or even if you don’t have an excuse, slip into the blissful cocoon of one of Oamaru’s day spas. Oak Villa Beauty Spa is a local favourite, offering couples’ massages and a double outdoor slipper bath experience complete with soothing bath salts, herbal tea and guilt-free chocolate. Alternatively, book a hot tub session at Old Bones Lodge, which is open to the public to soak in their cedar hot tubs filled with fresh mountain water heated to 35-40ºC (95-104ºF).
Location: Oak Villa Beauty Spa – 50 Orwell Street. Old Bones Lodge – 468 Beach Road, approximately 6km (4 miles) from Oamaru town centre.
8. Treat Your Loved One to Lunch or Dinner at Oamaru’s Eateries
While not the most imaginative date night, indulging in lunch or dinner in Oamaru’s delightful restaurants and characterful cafes is still a must! A highlight on the food scene is Cucina, serving artful plates of Italian and South American cuisine made with local and seasonal fare. For coffee, check out the cosy cafe of RedRobin Coffee basking in the quirky charm of Oamaru with its industrial-style decor. Finally, with the backdrop of Riverstone Castle, you can’t beat the location of the Riverstone Kitchen and the food is something special too. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the restaurant/cafe serves up a creative menu of contemporary European cuisine made from fruit and veggie gardens that make up their grounds. For more recommendations, head to The Foodie Guide to Oamaru.
Location: Cucina – 1 Tees Street. RedRobin Coffee – 415 Thames Highway. Riverstone Kitchen – 1431 Glenavy-Hilderthorpe Road, approximately 19km (12 miles) from Oamaru town centre.