Friendly Bay

Friendly Bay

Much of the Pacific Coast of Ōamaru is exposed, with a large man-made rocky barrier between the town and the sea. The town was developed facing away from the ocean, and the main trunk railway runs along the barrier. Hence, most of the waterfront is commercial and not tourist-friendly unless you like old abandoned train engines and carriages. The exception is Friendly Bay at the south end of the town, near the Victorian Precinct.

This was sheltered by Cape Wanbrow, and supports a beach. The bay was originally developed as a commercial harbour and fishing port, with a protective breakwater and three wharves. The land behind the bay was for commercial use, including a railway siding to the wharves. But as with the nearby warehouses of the Victorian Precinct, the area has been considerably upgraded for public use.

One of NZ’s most interesting children’s parks is next to the bay, complete with Steampunk attractions such as a giant penny farthing bike. There is a popular brewpub, and the Alps2Ocean officially ends next to the Steampunk-themed cafe. Check out the view from the footbridge alongside Wansbeck Street and the nearby Steampunk sculptures.

Walk around the Esplanade towards the Ōamaru Blue Penguin Colony visitor centre at the tip of Cape Wanbrow or north along the grassed area past the bike park to a footbridge. There, you will find the perfectly contained Harbourside Gardens alongside Ōamaru Creek.

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