As long term Dunedinites, Oamaru for us has often been a coffee + sanity stop on roadies north to visit family in Marlborough. In ‘trip mode’ we rarely deviate from the main thoroughfare of State Highway 1, although like many parents we are very familiar with the benefits a stop at Riverstone or the Steampunk playground have to offer.
It was a real treat to receive from my lovely mum a ticket to The New Zealand House & Garden tour held in February featuring 8 homes in and around Oamaru including the magnificent Riverstone castle. Mum arrived in Dunedin a couple of days earlier and after picking up Grace from school on Friday we set off on what was a quick but fun visit to Oamaru.
W h i t e s t o n e C h e e s e C o
Arriving at 7 minutes to 5 we didn’t quite have enough time to sample some delicious handcrafted artisan cheese at the Whitestone Cheese Co but Nick more than made up for that the next day consuming one of their delicious beef & blue cheese pies for morning tea.
The Whitestone Cheese Co located at 3 Torridge St is a must see in Oamaru (for fellow cheese fiends), in addition to a cafe and shop there are daily guided factory tours sharing behind the scenes with one tour including a wine and cheese pairing.
Although there was no Whitestone cheese for us girls this visit, our forward thinking (stomach thinking) meant we didn’t leave home without some blue cheese in the chilly bin allowing us to indulge in a wee pre-dinner feast while getting ready for our evening meal at Riverstone Kitchen.
R i v e r s t o n e K i t c h e n
S e a s o n a l l y D e l i c i o u s
Nick joined us after work on Friday at Riverstone Kitchen for a truly memorable meal. The food really did showcase top quality fresh seasonal produce in abundance, we sampled figs & prosciutto, Mt Cook Salmon and Okaahu Lamb.
In this case we’ll let the pictures speak for themselves…..
Z u c c h i n i F r i t t i
Ironically despite an abundance of garden grown zucchinis on our table (every evening currently), I was intrigued to order the side of zucchini fritti with lemon (pictured above) These were zucchini slices in the lightest & crunchiest of casings and Nick of course ordered a side of hand cut potato chips.
P o t a t o p r e f e r e n c e s
Now to all the other discerning potato consumers out there (my rural upbringing is responsible for some fussing over the humble spud), these were thick chips made from good old school Agrias, very hearty and flavoursome potatoes. Tick tick tick.
D e s s e r t d e c a d a n c e
After devouring his portion of potatoes & protein, Nick disappeared outdoors with his camera distracted by the setting sun and large neighbouring castle leaving us girls to indulge in the sweet offerings which did not disappoint.
Chocolate ameretto tart with pure cream and lemon tart with raspberry sorbet - both delicious. We were all impressed by the service at dinner particularly with the special attention shown to our young diner.
S a t u r d a y - P h o t o C o l l e c t i o n
5.40 am downtown
S a t u r d a y
The plan for Saturday was for Nick get up and out at some very early hour in the morning to capture the beautiful Victorian Heritage Precinct area at daybreak and return (with coffee) by 8.30 am. We would do the old child switcheroo at 10 and mum and i would disappear into House & Garden bliss while Nick & Grace explored Oamaru.
O a m a r u P h o t o F i l e s 5 - 7am
O a m a r u P h o t o F i l e s 7 - 8 am
O a m a r u R e f l e c t i o n s
Life wouldn’t be normal for Nick without attempting to get a a few reflections images while out and about. The pictures below were taken with the camera suspended upside down from a tripod revealing a reflection captured within the smallest pool of water.
T i m e t o p a r t w a y s
After a chilly but picturesque wee stroll along the wharf it was time to head our separate ways although mum and i didn’t get too far on our House & Garden tour, distracted momentarily by quaint shops, elegant old buildings and galleries.
DAD & DAUGHTER DAY OAMARU STYLE
P i e s, F r i e s, P o o l s, P a r k s & P e e p i n g P e n g u i n s
Nick & Grace had a fantastic day exploring Oamaru which has some great attractions for families, the steam punk playground and bike track by the harbour, the aquatic centre and the penguin colony were all on their schedule and they had a great time looking around.
When mums away……..
C u c i n a & T e e s S t C a f e
Housed within these elegant heritage buildings on Tees St are Cucina restaurant and Tees St Cafe. Owned and operated since 2016 by Argentinian couple Yanina & Pablo Tacchini who hail from Italian and Spanish descent, the Tacchini’s are making their mark on the Otago dining scene with unique food and flavours reflecting their heritage and journey.
We were advised about Cucina by local ladies on our tour and if there is one thing we know it’s to ‘listen to the locals’. Nick was able to enjoy a light lunch at the Tees St Cafe but we’ll have to be back to Cucina - the seasonal trust the chef tasting menu sounds very intriguing.
N Z H o u s e & G a r d e n T o u r - R i v e r s t o n e C a s t l e
What does 1200 (mostly women) visiting a castle over a day sound like?
Obviously numbers were staggered across 8 homes but surprisingly in comparison to the other house tours, there was a lot of quiet awe at the castle as we attempted to take in the scale, the grand decor, the beauty, the layers of colour, texture, detail, materials, craftmanship.
Each room was it’s own unique masterpiece.
Words really don’t do justice to this place, and we felt incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to view it.
N Z H o u s e & G a r d e n T o u r
Mum and I had a fabulous day on our NZ House & Garden tour, despite our natural navigational challenges we managed to make our way to all 8 homes scattered throughout Oamaru and the surrounding rural areas.
We saw some large grand heritage villas set in beautiful park like gardens and grounds and three homes in hillside suburbs of Oamaru with magnificent ocean views. We visited homes that were contemporary and modern, and homes that felt like you’d stepped back in time.
It was fascinating to get insight into the intimate spaces that make up someones property and to consider how different we are in how our homes represent a unique expression of ‘us.’
There were numerous lovely tour volunteers (easily identified in their hot pink linen aprons) providing information, guidance, help, shoe bags and a welcoming greeting into each residence.
What a day, the sensory overload was quite large as you observe and absorb information at each place about the house and it’s owners - and inevitably the information gathered is funnelled through your own filters and understanding of ‘home’.
All in all it was a very successful 24 hours in Oamaru, and we headed off to Dunedin a little bit more knowledgeable and a lot more impressed with what is within this provincial town.
Thanks for having us Oamaru.