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The fourth largest territorial authority in New Zealand, comprised of superb uncluttered roads, the Waitaki District will take you all the way from the coastal waters of the Pacific to the Southern Alps. Ancestors have left heritage to appreciate in the form of beautiful old stone buildings, streets of them, all with a marvellous history.
Travelling north from Dunedin, Palmerston historically, was a major junction and supply depot during Otago’s gold rush years, a point where hopeful miners bravely began their tortuous journey over the ‘Pigroot’ in hope of finding gold. Today, the Otago Goldfields Heritage Trail begins at Palmerston and traces the diamond shaped network of historic gold mines, goldfield towns and scattered mining relics.
North of Palmerston lies Moeraki, home to the internationally famous Moeraki Boulders. Explanation of these marvellous boulders wavers between scientific theory and Maori folklore and are a definite ‘must see’. Moeraki Boulders The fishing village of Moeraki is restful and charming and allows fishing, Yellow-Eyed Penguin viewing and walks along the scenic coastline.
Follow this beautiful coastline and marvel at the wonderful countryside en route to Oamaru. In early days many magnificent limestone buildings were erected and Oamaru is lucky that many of those buildings remain intact today. Oamaru You may enjoy a journey on the Oamaru Steam Train, a walk through the grand Gardens or a visit to the little Blue Penguin colony.
Heading inland from the coast, you’ll find Duntroon, a small village with many geological and historical assets. Many rock drawings were left on the limestone cliffs by people travelling up the Waitaki River to cross the Southern Alps. Continuing inland the visitor will travel through settlements including Otekaieke, Kurow, Otematata and Omarama. This scenic drive along the Waitaki Riverbed offers exceptional experiences such as trout fishing, jetboating, waterskiing and windsurfing in addition to magnificent walking, tramping and 4WD routes. The lakes: Waitaki, Benmore and Aviemore will not only generate interest as hydro power stations but also for their important habitat of birds and wildlife, including the endangered Black Stilt which nests in the Mackenzie Basin.
Omarama is most famous for the unparalleled gliding conditions provided by the inland ringed basin. The town is well endowed with accommodation and visitors can ski, glide, fish, play golf or visit the amazing fluted Clay Cliffs.
Lake Ohau skifield, a short drive from Omarama, is the smallest commercial skifield in New Zealand, and some say the world. For a truly unique skiing experience, try friendly Ohau. There is also a variety of walks while tramping in the Ohau Forest is very popular.
The Waitaki District is an experience! For those wishing to encounter such enchantment, visit this superb district and be prepared to have your breath taken away.
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