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Saturday, 28 November 2015

Oamaru

The only reason I decided to stop in Oamaru was to see penguins. I wasn't sure if it would be worth it, as I hadn't heard that many people talk about it. You can see penguins other places in New Zealand, but this colony lives very close to town, which means you can just walk there and see them for free (though there is an option to pay as well).

The blue penguins that live in Oamaru are gone fishing all day, so the time to see them is at sunset, when they come back to their nests. Preparing to stay out during sunset, we (me and two other women staying at my hostel) decided to grab a drink beforehand, which was accompanied by a beautiful view of a rainbow.






We went out again a bit before sunset, determined not to miss them. It turned out to be quite a pretty evening (though chilly), but there was no sight of penguins. There was a point when we didn't think we would see them at all. And then suddently we saw something moving in the water.




It was already quite dark when the penguins started coming in, so all of these photos are going to be very, very bad. But penguins!





The blue penguins are quite small, and they are the most adorable creatures I've ever seen. They stood huddled together on one side of the road, waiting until it was safe to cross (on a sidenote, it's ridiculous that there is a car road here at all, as it doesn't lead anywhere except the visitor centre and information point for the penguin colony).



This one came quite close, though not on purpose, as it got really scared when I moved.




After seeing penguins I still had one whole day in Oamaru, and it actually turned out to be quite a cool little town. I started the day at the local farmers market, and tried a local cheese roll. As far as I can tell, it's basically a cheese toastie with a lot of cheese, but the slice of bread is rolled up.

For some reason Oamaru has become known as a steampunk town. Steampunk is a branch of science fiction inspired by 19th century, especially the Victorian era, culture and aesthetic, and the steam-powered technology of the era (hence steampunk). There is a steampunk museum.






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Which was pretty cool, but very weird. It's basically a collection of old stuff that has been tinkered with, and the artists have made up stories about them. So it's a museum of imaginary things. They had this "portal", though, which was a room filled with lights and mirrors, and gave you a private light-show.














There is a Victorian precinct in town, which is completely on theme with the steampunk genre. It is filled with vintage and second-hand shops, as well as arts and crafts, many of which are selling stempunk-inspired gear. Even the playground has a steampunk-theme, for example the swing-set is shaped like a penny-farthing.




Summer is really starting to come now, and it turned out to be a wonderful day weather-wise, so I made some time to walk around the public gardens as well. (The only problem with having reflective sunglasses is that it completely ruins your selfie-game when your arm is reflected in your glasses.)

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