Some towns have a profound effect on the psyche. The moment you wander through their streets, or enter their buildings, an overwhelming sense of déjà vu confounds you. Oamaru, in North Otago, New Zealand, is one of these special places. Did my ancestors spend some time in this town before heading down south to settle in Invercargill all those years ago? Or is it the multitude of well-preserved Victorian architecture and streetscapes that enables a visitor to re-enter an imagined past?
Open the following photos individually to get a more intense view of this exceptional town.
Some streets are beautifully restored and are occupied by craftspeople, galleries, cafes, bakeries, and brewers. Further south, towards the sea, the dark grey stoned industrial area bordered by an old railway, is more mysterious, in a ‘dark satanic mills’ kind of way.
The Oamaru Historical precinct was built of local limestone from the 1860s onwards. This is New Zealand’s most complete Victorian streetscape. You could spend days wandering around this town. It is an evocative place and not to be missed if travelling through the South Island of New Zealand.
Next time: Oamaru’s other attractions- food, parks and steampunk.