Déjà vu in Oamaru, New Zealand,

Oamaru Historic Precinct, South Island, New Zealand

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.



20 thoughts on “Déjà vu in Oamaru, New Zealand,”

    1. Ah yes, Sandra, me too. I loved the grungy part of town and could have happily poked around there for days, waiting for different light and moods. I plan to return to Oamaru and just plonk in a pub for a week.


  1. Have you visited Timaru (Sth Island)? Knew a girl from there once with a very thick NZ accent. Many Scottish descendents from there.


    1. We passed through there. It didn’t look very appealing- a little too modern and industrial for me.
      Many Scottish descendants from down south, as the names Dunedin and Invercargill suggest.


  2. Hey Francesca .. Oh such great shots. You have captured the beauty and splendour. Isn’t that an overwhelming feeling .. To stand back and know you have been here before. Or dream that you have. Gives me goose bumps

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, that’s how it felt. My great- great grandparents lived in Invergargill for 7 years after migrating from Britain. I wonder if they landed here. The light was rather stunning but very hard to take photos with- strong light, strong contrasts. I just loved Oamaru.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Nicely conveyed ☺These old settlement areas resonate with me too… easy to feel instantly at home. I think I connect to the energies they retain. Conversely, proximity to new building developments often makes me feel physically ill.


  4. It looks lovely and, from your pictures, very much reminds me of Fremantle . Prosperous times meant great infrastrcture and impressive buildings that have remained long after the good times have been and gone. Somewhere to think about visiting on our next trip to NZ.

    Liked by 1 person

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