Oamaru, the largest town in Otago (South Island), is a lovely place to spend one or two days. It’s definitely one of the most unique places I’ve visited in NZ so far. Do you wonder why? Oamaru is in the Guinness Book of World Records for the greatest collection of steampunk in the world and the local gallery Steampunk HQ was in 2012 rated as one of the best NZ’s places to visit. Yes, I do like steampunk. But even my friends, who weren’t really sure what steampunk is, loved it. So there must be something about it! 😀
This art gallery and exhibition is simply a heaven. I was very excited about visiting the place and wasn’t disappointed at all. Exactly opposite. Steampunk HQ has been opened since November 2011 and has gathered an amazing collection of art. There are many sculptures, two darkened rooms with audio-visual installations, yard with industrial projects and The Portal, a light machine, that “transports you to other alternate realities. It is the Steampunk HQ Space-time travel gateway. It is the most hi-tech device still operational in the building. It was carefully preserved by the SPHQ time travel officers – it was their only means of returning to other worlds. You will be transported to places unknown…” The Portal was fantastic and it was so beautiful inside. The kind of place you just want to stay forever in 🙂
While you walk around the town, you will notice that most of the streets are named after rivers in England. Oamaru has even a steam train, running in Sundays between two small railway stations. In the streets and the picturesque limestone houses, you can spot many small boutiques, museums, galleries, cool shops, bakeries, antiques and bookshops.
For me and my friends, it’s been a couple of days of eating pasta and canned food and we dreamt of fish and chips and burgers. This is the reason why you should ALWAYS ask the locals for a piece of advice. The simply know the best. How happy we were to be sent to The Galley, a sweet steampunk (yay!) café by the beach.
As I told to my friend: “If I won’t like the next city, I would go back to Oamaru.” ❤