For many of the towns or cities that we have passed through on our 2,800km so far, it has been a case of “what is the shortest route out of town?”

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The stone buildings dating back to the 19th century have stood the test of time well – this was the local theatre
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Facades not normally seen in New Zealand – note the lack of tourists

When researching our trip south, everything that I read suggested Oamaru might be worth breaking our journey to spend a day or so exploring the place. Ruth was convinced and told me that she had very good feelings about the place. I tried to balance her enthusiasm lest she be disappointed.

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The Gainstore Gallery in the old port area was even more interesting inside (image below)

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However, I have to concede that her feelings were correct. We have been impressed with the town. It has an asset that most NZ towns do not share, stone buildings, that were created out of local white stone and of course endured the elements better than the stock wooden buildings that ‘grace’ most other kiwi settlements.

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The old stone buildings had plenty of detail worth paying attention too

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We never tried the ice cream but were impressed with the local hospitality scene.

The buildings are graceful and even those that are not particularly kind on the eye are being given interesting makeovers. Added to that is the whole ‘steam punk‘ theme which Oamaru has adopted. Everything from beachfront cafe to parks and galleries reflect this Jules Verne, H G Wells style.

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This contraption graced the entrance to the Steam Punk HQ – inserting $2 got it puffing smoke from all sorts of places.
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Biking was also a theme that of course has the Alps to Ocean bike trail as part of the offering now
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The playground was based around the whole steam punk theme.
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A seagull hitching a ride on one of the machines – this one on a beachfront cafe

We were lucky to also encounter the one summer day that they have experienced, well the locals tell us that. Rather than being elated that summer has arrived they are fearful of what might be following the hot air (32c today). I looked at the weather forecast – 12c predicted tomorrow.

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There was a pleasant little harbour
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and a very nice park

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