Oamaru shines for train trippers

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Dunedin visitors to Oamaru yesterday commented about how warmly they were welcomed to the town and said they loved the atmosphere and attractions on offer.

Four hundred passengers travelled up on the Taieri Gorge Railway train and spent from 11am-2.30pm in and around Oamaru, spending time at the historic precinct and the harbour area.

Visitors and locals alike all deemed the day a huge success with cafes and restaurants, dairies and icecream shops all reporting a good days trading. One stall holder at the Oamaru Farmers’ Market believed they had nearly doubled their usual Sunday business takings with others saying they had definitely done better than usual.

While food and beverage outlets prospered yesterday, other retailers in the historic precinct said business had been slow.

Retailers Purple Taylor, Patsy Harvey, Debra Blackgrove and Karen Newton said while the day had been quiet from a business perspective, it had still been very successful.

“It’s been a visual symphony, the weather is beautiful and it’s been a good day for PR (public relations),” Ms Taylor said.

“Some of the people who visited today said they might come back for the fete (Oamaru Victorian Heritage Celebrations).”

“It would be great if we could do this every Sunday – we just love it. We love the buildings and these are our normal clothes, we’re the lucky ones.”

Ms Blackgrove said the day had been an ideal way to break out of winter in terms of both the weather and business.

Heliventures, who were offering 5-10 minute flights over Oamaru and surrounding areas for $60 said they had done about 13 flights by 1pm. A spokesperson said at this time they were awaiting another influx of people booked to fly after lunch.

Several visitors applauded the efforts of Tourism Waitaki in getting staff onto the train at Palmerston, saying they were able to ‘hit the ground running.’

PHOTO: CAROL EDWARDS – Oamaru hosted 400 people from Dunedin yesterday who travelled up on the Taieri Gorge Railway train as part of their Father’s Day excursion. Visitors are pictured upon their arrival at the Oamaru Railway Station getting ready to board the double decker bus which ran all afternoon picking up and dropping people off around town.