Penguins are a reason to stay a while in Oamaru. At sunset, little blue and yellow-eyed penguins waddle ashore to get comfortable for the night.

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The whitestone townscape of Oamaru contains some of the best-preserved heritage buildings in New Zealand. In the late 19th century, the town prospered through goldmining, quarrying and timber milling. Some of the wealth was spent on elegant stone buildings made from local limestone. The Harbour-Tyne Street area is particularly special – and the shopping is great too.

Oamaru Harbour is home to a colony of little blue penguins, and you can also see yellow-eyed penguins from a special hide. Penguin viewing is best just before sunset.

The public gardens in Oamaru are widely acclaimed. They include a Victorian summerhouse and an oriental garden.

Functional facts: Approx. population 8600, i-SITE Visitor Centre, good range of shops and services.