On my way to Oamaru I stopped at a Stone Art Site. I didn´t know that Maori also did stone art similar to the Aborigines. You always learn something new. It was a rather small site and many of the paintings were cut out of the rock to be shown in museums. Really a pity, they should leave them where they belong!
A bit outside Oamaru is the Riverstone Kitchen. This is a restaurant/garden/souvenir shop/garden market thing. I had a look around the shops and the yard, then had beautiful salmon for lunch and walked around the gardens. It is really nice there, not the cheapest place though.
On my way into the city I found a cheap self-service petrol station where it was only $2.029 instead of the usual $2.149. From there I went directly to my hostel – the Oamaru Backpacker. You can park for free on the street. This is one of the nicest hostels I have ever seen. The dorms and other rooms are super cozy. There are sort of bunk beds but very stable with no shaking and even the top bunks have a curtain. There are two common rooms, one with table soccer, a huge well equipped kitchen and an herb and vegetable garden where you can help yourself, the free WiFi is pretty good too. Everything is furnished and decorated with a love for the detail and the staff and owners are very friendly and helpful. You can just feel at home there!
I took a little nap before walking around town.
I cooked dinner and worked on my blog before I went down to the beach again around 9 pm to see the penguins coming home for the night. There is a Penguin Station where you have to pay entry to see them from quite far away, but this is rather expensive. And why should I pay when they also get on land on the beach where you can just go and watch and get even closer than when you pay? I was there a bit too early so I first walked up and down the pier and took some sunset pictures.
About one hour later my waiting was finally rewarded and I spotted the first blue penguin. They are very small and super cute and also very shy. So you have to be very quiet, don’t move too much and definitely don´t use a flash to take pictures. More and more penguins were coming ashore and I stayed there for quite long.
Back at the hostel I couldn´t help but getting the photos directly on my laptop to see if I managed to get some shots even with the rather bad chances. The next morning I got up pretty tired due to a heavy snorer in the dorm. One person was sleeping, 5 people were away. This guy was horrible! People who snore so badly should really consider taking a single room instead of keeping everybody else in the room awake! I enjoyed the included breakfast and checked if I could get a bookme deal for the SteampunkHQ. I was lucky and got one for 11 am. SteampunkHQ is just amazing! I am normally not so much into art, but this stuff is different and really cool to see.
On my way back to the hostel I walked through the Victorian precinct and checked out a few shops there.
I got Broccoli and some herbs out of the hostel garden and prepared lunch. After eating I worked for a while on my blog. Then I got my camera and walked through town, along the shore to the penguin colony and back.
I stopped at Scott´s Brewery for a beer since I heard they would brew good stuff. I could try a few (like a sip each) before settling for the Harbour master IPA. With my beer in hand I asked a few people if I could join them on their table and ended up with a bunch of locals. Later one of the girls from my dorm past by and joined us too. The one quick beer turned into a couple of hours with several beers and a shared pizza. We had a good time together. It was already pretty late and I wasn´t allowed to drive anymore, so I skipped going to the other beach a bit further away to see the yellow eyed penguins as well. I basically went straight to bed and slept soundly since the snorer had left. The next day it was already time to check out again and leave this nice place. I definitely could have stayed one or two days longer, especially in this great hostel.