Why you should move to Oamaru

Newshub looks at the realities of upping sticks and leaving Auckland. This week: Oamaru.

The quaint town of Oamaru has strong links to the farming community of Waitaki and is largely known for its blue penguin population, its Victorian architecture, or the stop over town with the great kebab place for students travelling through to Dunedin.

What's going for it?

Oamaru is the type of town where you can pull up and park right outside the store you need. It’s also the place where you might retire.

Home to about 13,000 people, it is thought to be one of the next boom towns that will go off in the coming years as people trend to move away from the big cities.

Dubbed the steampunk capital of the world, the ‘old part of town’ - with its preserved limestone Victorian buildings and Steampunk connections - has put Oamaru on the world stage.

What's not?

If you don't mind a dense elderly and bogan population and the fact that there aren’t as many shops or malls as you might like, then nothing.

What does the mayor say?

Tourism Waitaki says there are endless opportunities to experience the best of Oamaru, from exploring the town’s rich heritage through one of the country’s oldest public gardens, renowned Victorian architecture, and penguin colonies.

Can you get a good cup of coffee?

Steam is a great coffee shop on the other side of the rail tracks - full of homemade treats including raw, vegan and gluten-free yumminess, and a great drop of coffee.

Anything happening after sunset?

If you're after a little class then you could go to the Opera House, home to the ballet and concerts.

Or try your hand at Riverstone Kitchen - the family owned business is a classy get away in the country for beautiful food and dining experience.

You can also have a geez at the Riverstone Castle, which looks like something out of a children's book.

Why you should move to Oamaru
Photo credit: Facebook/Riverstone Castle/Emma Willetts Photography

What about culture?

Oamaru is home to a couple of super cute shops and some of the country’s delicious delicacies.

Mrs Hyde- a women’s fashion boutique filled with beautiful high clothing, it is the coolest wee shop. Brands include Kowtow, Chaos and Harmony, Juliette Hogan, Elk, Saben and Company of Strangers.

Local whisky evangelists and winemakers Warren and Deb Preston have decanted hundred of barrels of Dunedin whisky which they call Oamaruvian and the Cellar Door is open for whisky tastings seven days a week.

Scotts brewery is Oamaru’s very own brewery of gluten-free beer and cider, with food on the seaside in the old part of town. It has a cool indoor/outdoor dining area - you can even dine in the brewery itself.

Whitestone Cheese is the local artisan cheese - and it’s delicious. Their halloumi is to die for along with all the other yummy soft and hard cheeses.

Rainbow Confectionery - Bye bye pineapple lumps and hello pineapple chunks - Rainbow Confectionery has been around longer than the Cadbury staple. All of the classic Kiwi treats are sold such as milk bottles, spearmints, chocolate astronauts, bananas, jetplanes, jelly beans and fizzies.

Why you should move to Oamaru
Photo credit: Facebook/Rainbow Confectionery

And when you’ve eaten your heart's content of cheese and chocolate, there are a number of great walks and cycle paths from Lookout Point and surrounding areas to work it off.

Can you afford a house?

Did someone say cheap house prices? Yes please! The average median house price in Oamaru is $264,400 according to QV.

Decent schools?

Among a number of primary and pre schools the town's three high schools all offer boarding. Waitaki Girls has around 400 students and Waitaki Boys has around 500 while co-educational Catholic school St Kevins has around 400 students.

How well connected is it?

Oamaru is super central and easy to get to a number of main centres in the South Island. About an hour and half drive to Dunedin, and within three hours you can be in Christchurch or Wanaka.

Next week: Why you should move to Lyttleton.