All-Weather and Indoor Activities in Oamaru – Perfect for a Rainy Day!
Has the rain running down the window got you depressed that you’ll just waste your time in Oamaru? Nonsense! Some of its best attractions are indoor activities. You have an array of art galleries, museum-like attractions, breweries, wineries and even a cheese factory to tour around if you want to. The penguins can wait! Dive into the creativity and artisanry side of Oamaru with these things to do in Oamaru on a rainy day.
And for when the rain clears up, be sure to check out the 10 Best Things to Do in Oamaru.
1. Indulge in a Cheese Factory Tour and Tasting Experience
An easy way to beat the rainy day blues is with blue cheese… or camembert or brie. Whatever cheese it is, the artisan cheesemakers of Whitestone Cheese (see on Viator and Tripadvisor) are likely to make it. Take a tour of their working cheese factory, diving into the history of Whitestone Cheese, as well as their craft as you watch cheesemakers in action from the factory viewing platforms and windows. The tour concludes with a generous tasting platter. Upgrade to the cheese and wine experience (also on Viator or Tripadvisor) to combine your cheese feast with tastings of local wines. See more experiences like this in the 6 Things to Do in Oamaru for Foodies.
Location: 3 Torridge Street, Oamaru town.
2. Be Inspired at Oamaru’s Art Galleries
Indeed, the creative town of Oamaru has several art galleries to check out. An iconic gallery in a spectacular neo-classical 1884 building, the Forrester Gallery should certainly be on your list with their ever-changing exhibitions showcasing local and Maori art, contemporary prints to paintings and sculptures. In the ambient Victorian Precinct, find the Grainstore Gallery featuring a busy array of local art. Finally, pick up something unique and locally-made at the cute art and gift store of Art on Tyne. See more activities like this in the 10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Oamaru.
Location: Forrester Gallery – 9 Thames Street. Grainstore Gallery – 5 Harbour Street. Art on Tyne – 8 Tyne Street, Oamaru town centre.
3. Try Craft Beer at the Local Breweries
Oamaru’s iconic Victorian Precinct is a must-see whatever the weather, but it just so happens that the breweries here are a welcome relief from the rain. Check out Scotts Brewing Co. to sample naturally brewed craft beer at their brew bar and pizza kitchen, open all week. Alternatively, try Belgian-inspired ales at the Craftwork Brewery, serving tasting trays accompanied by New Zealand-made cheese boards. Find them open 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.
4. See Oamaru as it Used to Be at Whitestone City
What is a rainy day when travelling without a museum?! Well, Whitestone City is not like most museums; it’s a mockup of a Victorian town the way Oamaru used to be. Peer into the barbers, chemist, newspaper and architects office, taking a look at relics along the way. At the end of the street, you’ll find a play area where you can try your hand at playing Victorian-era games and riding a penny-farthing! It’s a fun attraction, especially if you’re travelling with children, as featured in the 10 Things to Do in Oamaru with Kids.
Location: 12 Harbour Street, Oamaru town centre.
5. Find Out Why Oamaru is the Steampunk Capital at Steampunk HQ
Mix the Victorian architecture of Oamaru with sci-fi elements and you have a healthy steampunk obsession! Dive a little deeper into the world of steampunk at Steampunk HQ. You’ll get the idea of what’s inside this creative art gallery and sculpture park when you see the fortified steam train puffing smoke outside of its Victorian-style venue. Inside, play a futuristic organ, step inside a steampunk bus, enter another world through “The Portal” and much more! Whether you know what steampunk is or not, it’s an Oamaru must-do!
Location: 1 Humber Street, Oamaru town centre.
6. Treat Yourself to a Spa Day
Well, if it’s raining, you might as well hit the pause button and enter the blissful realm of Oamaru’s day spas. Oak Villa Beauty Spa is a local favourite, offering an extensive range of treatments, as well as their signature double outdoor, but undercover, slipper bath experience complete with soothing bath salts, herbal tea and guilt-free chocolate. Alternatively, book a hot tub or sauna 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). See more experiences like this in the 8 Romantic Activities in Oamaru for Couples.
Location: Oak Villa Beauty Spa – 50 Orwell Street. Old Bones Lodge – 468 Beach Road, approximately 6km (4 miles) from Oamaru town centre.
7. Visit the Wineries of the Waitaki Valley
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, which are admittedly better seen in the sun, but you’ll also find the Waitaki Valley wine region. One of New Zealand’s newer wine regions, the Waitaki Valley is home to a small selection of vineyards where you can pop into 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 (39 miles) from Oamaru town centre. Ostler Wines – 45 Bledisloe Street, Kurow, approximately 66km (41 miles) from Oamaru town centre.
8. Have a Coffee or a Bite to Eat at Oamaru’s Cafes and Restaurants
If all else fails, you can always head out to Oamaru’s eateries for a coffee, cake, pint, dinner or whatever the time and your stomach guides you to indulge in. 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. For dinner, don’t miss Cucina, an Italian and South American restaurant serving artful plates with local and seasonal fare. 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.
9. Browse Oamaru’s Interesting Shops
Oamaru is home to some wonderful and whimsical stores that are unlike any other high street experience. Find unique eco-friendly art and gifts at Presence on Harbour, pop into Michael O’Brien Bookbinder to see old-fashioned bookbinding equipment and talk to the owner about his trade, discover all sorts of oddities and rock candy at Rose’s General Store, and much more. Take a trip up the Victorian Precinct and beyond to see what you discover.
Location: Presence on Harbour – 1 Harbour Street. Michael O’Brien Bookbinder – 7 Tyne Street. Rose’s General Store – 5 Tyne Street.
10. Binge-Watch 365 Days, 365 Activities in New Zealand
If all else fails, you can always get some inspiration for your next epic New Zealand activity by watching New Zealand’s Biggest Gap Year on YouTube. Watch as the team behind NZ Pocket Guide take on 365 Days: 365 Activities in New Zealand! Make sure to subscribe.