44 km or 35 minutes from Oamaru
You start the day at Vanished World Centre Duntroon, the visitor centre for Waitaki Whitestone aspiring Global Geopark. Vanished World is a hive of information from displayed excavations of enormous prehistoric penguin metres in height to self-guided route maps. Your brief foray into the geopark will start with well-known Elephant Rocks then moves the badlands of Clay Cliffs.
Erosion of limestone rocks has created fantasy in the form of isolated rock formations naturally sculptured bearing an uncanny resemblance to elephants and mythological creatures.
The towering natural sculptures have featured in films such as Narnia: the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
Wind, water and time continues to shape the limestone outcrops.
BADLANDS CLAY CLIFFS
Sharp pinnacles and ridges are divided by steep, narrow ravines creating a landscape formed by extreme temperature changes and a lack of water. No vegetation makes for stunning spires that trigger the imagination about outlaws, bandits and nefarious goings on. The farmland you cross to view the Badlands with its grazing sheep is a stark contrast.
The cliffs are on private land. There’s a donation box at the gateway, or you can pay the $5 vehicle admission fee at the Omarama i-SITE.Note: There are no bathroom facilities at this site and the access road can sometimes be affected by scouring following heavy rain. The trail around the Clay Cliffs area is not suitable for people with mobility issues.
VISIT DURATION 2 hours
Lunch in Duntroon
Lunch in Duntroon at the historic 135 year old pub is an energy booster for your next trip. Cafe, Bar & Restaurant Duntroon is your recommended energy booster for your trip to the coast to view wildlife. And could you get side-tracked in Duntroon by the Nicol’s Blacksmith with its working forge, the heritage jail of 1901 with its public stocks making for a great photo moment.
The Duntroon Wetlands
This wonderful area has been created by hard-working locals. It is a beautiful short walk which starts and finishes in the heart of Duntroon. It also forms part of the Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail. It is the perfect place to stretch your legs. For more information check out Cafe, Bar & Restaurant Duntroon.
At the southern end of Oamaru, spot New Zealand Fur Seals/Kekeno and Yellow-Eyed Penguins/Hoiho from the platform at the end of this cliff-top walk. Bushy Beach Scenic Reserve: Places to go in Otago “The natural coastal vegetation at Bushy Beach Scenic Reserve is the last remaining in the area. Wind-sheared scrub, dominated by hebe, ngaio, mahoe and broadleaf, clings to the cliffs and shelters penguins, other seabirds and a variety of insects.
Perhaps you have been entranced by the Bushy Beach Walk and time has slipped away with a rush to get to the Little Blue Penguins viewing platform.
The blue penguin is the world’s smallest penguin. The Oamaru penguin colony has seating set up around the nesting site. You are welcome to watch the penguins return from the sea in groups with the setting sun. The kororā, (Little Blue Penguin) found here at Taiharuru-Pilots Beach breeds on the New Zealand and Australian mainland and islands. They weigh around one kilo on average. The average age of kororā in our colony is seven years, but the oldest recorded was 25 years. The colony is open to the public for evening viewing.
We are open to the public for Evening Viewing.
Fleurs place and Moeraki boulders
For the enthusiastic, a detour to Fleurs Place for a foodie heaven encounter with seafood and fish prepared by the iconic Fleurs Place. When British television chef and restaurateur Rick Stein was told he could choose to go anywhere in the world to write a travel article for English newspaper the Daily Mail, he chose Fleurs Place. Situated in the small seaside fishing village of Moeraki, Fleur’s specialty is fresh fish straight off the fishing fleet. This is a stop on your way to Moeraki boulders, perhaps the most well known geopark destination and the site for numerous instagram moments. Just make sure you don’t miss the boulders or your date with Little Blue Penguins as you are tempted to linger at Fleurs Place. Of course you can always return another day.
FOODIE LOVERS WHITESTONE CHEESE
Whitestone Cheese an artisan food vendor, cafe and tasting sensation makes for a great afternoon rest and relaxation while samples melt in the moment brie cheese. Guided Tours, forward bookings are essential for this culinary experience where visitors obtain a behind the scenes look at the cheese making process, all the way from; make to taste. You will get to experience a cheese tasting, informative talk and guided tour of the Whitestone factory through the viewing galleries, plus walk away with a goody bag sample. For the more indulgent foodie, we have the opportunity to upgrade tours – to include a cheese and wine matching. A great way to taste test your way around Oamaru. Did I mention for those pressed for time there is an extensive shop attached to the factory.
Your day trip from Oamaru might need you to stay overnight or even several nights. Oamaru is a convenient, comfortable and great place to explore the town and countryside further.