The jewel in the crown, a stunning location that delights from dawn till dusk
Prior to the building of the harbour, Oamaru’s exposed beach made it one of New Zealand’s most dangerous anchorages. More than 20 ships were wrecked there between 1860 and 1875, and many more were damaged and recovered.
In 1872 construction started on a large concrete breakwater. From 1875, when the small Macandrew Wharf opened against its sheltered side, shipwrecks virtually ceased.
Sumpter Wharf, the big pier completed in 1884, was designed for the new frozen-meat trade. A freezing works opened near the port, and soon the harbour was busy with ships loading mutton and lamb.
A blue penguin colony was established in the board’s old quarry by the breakwater in 1992. Later a tourist railway opened between the waterfront and the town’s historic precinct.
Today you can enjoy a walk around this beautiful location, take in a meal and watch the kids play on the beach or in the Steampunk playground, well worth a weekend visit.
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