The Foodie Guide to Oamaru©
The Foodie Guide to Oamaru

The Foodie Guide to Oamaru

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Article Single Pages©
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An Oamaru Food Guide

Oamaru might be better known for its white limestone architecture, habitat for little blue penguins and fascination for all things “steampunk” but not many realise just how much of a foodie hub this place is! Located at the end of the Waitaki River where the Waitaki Valley boasts a distinct terroir for winemaking, Oamaru is not only the closest town to one of New Zealand’s newest wine regions but boasts its own hub of creatives and artisans. Not to mention, it’s the home of one of country’s leading artisan cheese brands. So sharpen your knife and fork and get ready for the gastronomical experiences that await in Oamaru! We’ll guide you through the best food tours, restaurants and places to stay in this Oamaru food guide.

Plan your trip to the South Island town orientated around food with this complete foodie guide to Oamaru.

Things to Do in Oamaru for Foodies

  • Tour a cheese factory complete with tastings
  • Experience the Oamaru Farmers’ Market
  • Venture to the Waitaki Valley wine region
  • Try some craft beer in the Victorian Precinct…
  • … Then pick up a pie, ice cream and artisan goods in the Victorian Precinct
  • Get some naughty snacks for the road from Rainbow Confectionery
  • Try the local cuisine at Oamaru’s cafes and restaurants.

For more details on each experience, take a look at the 7 Things to Do in Oamaru for Foodies.

The Foodie Guide to Oamaru©

Food Tours and Experiences

Save some room for some of the gastronomical experiences waiting in Oamaru, such as a 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 experience (see on Viator or Tripadvisor).

Speaking of wine, take a road trip up the Waitaki Valley (State Highway 83) and you’ll come across 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 and the nearby Ostler Wines cellar door for tastings paired with indulgent platters. Note that they have seasonal opening hours.

In the heart of Omarau, the Victorian Precinct hides a wealth of foodie experiences, including two breweries! Take your pick from the New Zealand craft beer of Scott’s Brewing Co. with beer served alongside pizzas or Craftwork Brewery for their Belgian-style ales. You’ll also find local homemade preserves and other high-quality artisan goods at the Riverstone Larder, while fresh European-style bread and Kiwi savoury pies are a must-try at the Harbour Street Bakery. Find out more about the breweries and few other food experiences in the 7 Things to Do in Oamaru for Foodies.

The Foodie Guide to Oamaru© Pixabay

The Best Restaurants in Oamaru

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 (1 Tees Street). 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 (3 Tees Street) 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 (1431 Glenavy-Hilderthorpe Road) for their creative menu of contemporary European cuisine. Meals are made from fruit and veggies grown in their on-site gardens, which you’re free to explore, while the Riverstone Castle and lake offer a stunning backdrop. 

Other honourable mentions include Star and Garter (9 Itchen Street), Fat Sallys (84 Thames Street), The Last Post Pub & Restaurant (12 Thames Street) and RedRobin Coffee (415 Thames Highway).

The Foodie Guide to Oamaru©

Alternative Things to Do in Oamaru

After reading this foodie guide to Oamaru, it’s probably hard to believe that there’s more to do in this South Island town than eat and drink! Believe it or not, there are other appeals to the town that you may want to add to the itinerary. Some of the other things to do in Oamaru include:

  • Watch penguins waddling across Bushy Beach
  • Step back in time at Whitestone City
  • Check out an alternative reality at Steampunk HQ
  • Tackle the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail
  • Visit the Moeraki Boulders
  • Watch the penguins at the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony
  • Go horse riding along the Waianakarua River
  • Ride the Oamaru steam train…

… And much more! Check out the 10 Best Things to Do in Oamaru for more information on each activity and more.


The information in this guide has been compiled from our extensive research, travel and experiences across New Zealand and the South Pacific, accumulated over more than a decade of numerous visits to each destination. Additional sources for this guide include the following:

Our editorial standards: At NZ Pocket Guide, we uphold strict editorial standards to ensure accurate and quality content.

About The Author

Laura S.

This article has been reviewed and published by Laura, the editor-in-chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Laura is a first-class honours journalism graduate and a travel journalist with expertise in New Zealand and South Pacific tourism for over 10 years. She also runs travel guides for five of the top destinations in the South Pacific and is the co-host of over 250 episodes of the NZ Travel Show on YouTube.

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