ToNZ #2 – I think I’ve spent enough time in Oamaru to confirm that the two main attractions in the town are the little blue penguins and the Steampunk Museum. Here is a review about those.
There are two penguin colonies living in south of Oamaru: the little blue penguins and the yellow eyed penguins. They come to the shore from the sea every evening and you can observe them while it’s happening. The yellow eyed ones are more difficult to catch. They are really shy, their colony is a bit too far from the city and there are only a few pieces of them. The little blue ones are the real tourist magnets. They have an arrival schedule and they follow it very strictly. In the second half of December they come at 9pm, in June, when it’s getting dark earlier, they come at around 6pm. There are two observation points, the one where you have to pay, it’s mainly for Chinese tourists who always arrive in big groups with organized buses, and the free ones, which is for the ones who think that paying 30 dollars to see them (I mean the penguins) is not a smart way to spend their money.
First I went to the little blue penguins. These are the smallest penguins in the world and I was far away from them because I chose the free observation point. And my camera is not that good at zooming. So I didn’t take much photos. I could recognize that they are supposed to be penguins because of their cute way of walking but still, it was a bit disappointing. They just walked a few meters and disappeared behind the rocks.
Another day I biked to the yellow ones but I didn’t see any. Some people were waiting there for 2 hours and they told me that they already saw 7. Since the yellow eyed penguins don’t have a schedule, it’s not that easy to find out when they come.
Later I heard that I could go to the little blue penguins in the night and hang out with them. So I biked there with a Korean guest of the hostel at 11pm and indeed, a lot of them were chilling at the shore. When we went closer, some of them ran away, some of them stayed. Photos have been made.
If you want to see penguins in Oamaru, the best choice is the little blue ones in the late evening, about two hours after their official arrival time.
When I arrived to Oamaru, the first sign I saw was that it’s the steampunk capital of New Zealand. Some flyers said that it’s even the steampunk capital of the world! I’m not sure if the so called Steampunk Museum in the downtown is the reason or the consequence of this title. Anyway, I took a look there.
Steampunk is modern technology powered by steam and set in the 1800’s, says my recent google search result. So the “steam” part is obvious, and as for the “punk” part, it “comes from going against convention that, through creativity and declaration of one’s individuality be it through style, gadgets, or attitude, sets one apart.” Okay, I don’t want to go deeper because it doesn’t look too exciting to me, the point is that I went there and saw a lot of creatively constructed metal statues, some of them doing weird things. Like an organ making stupid noises.
There was only 2 rooms in the museum and an outdoor area (plus the portal, which was a small room with walls made of mirrors that made it look like a huge room) with around 20 smaller and bigger constructions. The ticket was 5$ which is more or less the highest price that I’d pay for such an exhibition.
But if you, dear blog reader have a secret perversion towards steampunk, this is definitely your place!