Oamaru named NZ’s coolest town

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It’s official – Oamaru has been named New Zealand’s coolest town.

The latest issue of the Lonely Planet travel book said Oamaru is the country’s coolest town.

This isn’t the only accolade Oamaru has received recently; last year it was named by Seven Sharp as New Zealand’s Sharpest Town.

Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher said it is a fantastic accolade for the town to have.

“I believe it’s really well deserved, there has been so much hard work going on around the town and it has so much to offer.”

Mr Kircher said Oamaru is a town that stands out, compared to Timaru.

“Our neighbours in Timaru may not like this but Oamaru is a much better town, Timaru does have some good things about it, but here in Oamaru there is so much more that stands out.”

Mr Kircher said Oamaru offered a lot..

“We have the Blue Penguins, Steampunk HQ, Scotts Brewery and Victorian Precinct as well as many other attractions.”

Pen-y-bryn Lodge owner James Glucksman said he came across the information in the latest book.

“I have been up at a conference in Wellington and checked a bookshop to see if the latest issue was out and it was, I had a look and noticed that we were called New Zealand’s coolest town.”

Without Mr Glucksman noticing this, it is something which may well have slipped under the radar.

Tourism Waitaki marketing manager Ian Elliot said it was pleasing for the town to be recognised.

“There are so many different attractions which make this town so awesome, making it visitor and tourist friendly is something we focus on in Oamaru,” he said.

“New people moving to the town and the type of businesses that are being set up here show what a great town this is.”

Mr Elliott said Friendly Bay is also a “hidden treasure.”

“We have Steampunk and the Victorian Precinct something no other place in New Zealand has, we have the penguins and there are only a couple of other colonies in the world, Oamaru Stone and so much more,” he said.

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What Lonely Planet said

“Nothing moves very fast in Oamaru. Tourists saunter, locals linger and penguins waddle. Even oft-celebrated heritage modes of transport – penny farthings and steam trains – reflect an unhurried pace. Most travellers come here for the penguins, but hang around and you’ll sense the wellspring of eccentricity bubbling under the surface. Put simply, this is New Zealand’s coolest town.

“Down by the water, a neighbourhood of once-neglected Victorian buildings now swarms with odd balls, antiquarians and bohemians of all stripes, who run off beat galleries, fascinating shops, hip venues and even an ‘urban winery’ most visible are the Steampunks.”

By BRAYDEN LINDSAY

PHOTO: BRAYDEN LINDSAY

COOLEST TOWN: Oamaru i-SITE staff members Steph Coubrough, Krisitn Murdoch and Wendy Simpson hold a Lonely planet book which named Oamaru as New Zealand’s coolest town. The i-SITE team direct visitors to Oamaru’s coolest attractions.