Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Worth the stop

Oamaru (or Oamuru, as Apple Maps has incorrectly labelled it), thus far has only been a passing-through point for us. It's about an hour to the south of Timaru, and lies on the way to Dunedin or various other points of interest.  We'd never actually been for a proper tourist visit to the little town, so when Nick offered a rare 'pastor's-day-off' to us, we settled on a trip south.  Who knew it was such an interesting place to visit!
We headed straight for the old Victorian Precinct which houses many, many second-hand book shops, bric-a-brac and craft shops, and art galleries. 
A lot of buildings are made with Oamaru Whitestone (Timaru got the Bluestone), a chalky rock which looks grand but erodes easily. 
Timaru is currently hosting a 'steampunk' exhibition at our art gallery, but according to Aaron who visited there last week with a friend, it was definitely not as cool as Oamaru's Steampunk HQ - Oamaru has proclaimed itself as the Steampunk capital of NZ.  So what's the fuss?  It's an old-meets-new - Victorian and antique marries up with technology and reconceptualized garbage.  It's all quite interesting and innovative, although a lot of the skulls and skeletons really didn't appeal to us at all.  Nonetheless, a lot of clever use has been made with machinery and junk.
We weren't sure if the forklift was part of the outdoor exhibition or whether it was for practical purposes, as there are more exhibitions and works in progress in the yard.
Bought goodies from Countdown and took them to the nearest park for lunch.  Oamaru boasts a very large botanical garden but we were too hungry to look for it!
Then back to the ancient streets, where we made our way in and out of the shops, many of which were manned by Victorian-garbed proprietors.  Below, the lady to the left is spinning wool.
Finally weary of art galleries, we hunted for some penguins.  There are two colonies here - you have to pay vast amounts of money to see the blue penguins, so having reached the site where one would gain access through a curio shop, we turned around and went instead to search out the yellow eyed penguin colony.  This was far more to our liking, but at 3 pm we were too early to see them come in and nest on the beach. 
Mmm, afternoon light.  It was a really glorious day, sunny but chilly - a real blessing tucked in between predominantly cloudy or rainy days this holiday.
Back home with plenty of time for tea and Nick to prepare for bible study on Haggai - great that we could stay on afterwards at the Kempfs for a short visit.

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