Omarama - South Island - New Zealand
"place of light"
Welcome to Omarama and the Upper Waitaki reigon where you will find a wide range of attractions and activities to enjoy and explore! There is something for everyone in Omarama, with gliding in summer and snowfields in winter, relaxing at the local Spa in a HOT/Cool outdoor tub, golf, fishing, tramping, hunting, see a sheep shearing demonstration and of course our local vineyard where you can sample local wines and catch and eat your own salmon. There are some great specialty shops and good cafes' too.
The Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail passes through Omarama, such a great way to appreciate the scenery - at your own pace in the sunshine. We recommend you visit the famous Omarama Clay Cliffs, don't forget to take your camera and some sturdy walking boots. Below is a more extensive list of what is available in and around Omarama.
Omarama offers a variety of adventures and experiences:
CAFÉ’S & RESTAURANTS - See our website www.discoveromarama.co.nz for more details.
CYCLE HIRE - Enjoy cycling a section of the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail, visit the Infomation Centre for fully equipped, touring bikes and maps. $28/half day or $40/full day.
FISHING – Tackle shops are located at Sierra Motels and Challenge.
FOOD CENTRE - 4 Square Discounter with Lotto and a Postal Agency also.
FUEL STATIONS - Mobil and Challenge.
GLIDING - Trial Flights with www.glideomarama.com.
GOLF - 9 hole golf course, $15 per person. Club Day is on Saturday and Twilight Golf is held on a Wednesday evening during summer. There are also clubs for hire. Contact Jim 021 357 992 or Russell 021 221 5615.
HOT TUBS – Hot or Cool – fresh mountain water, no chemicals, soak in the view in your own private tub!
HOTELS – MOTELS – BACKPACKERS – BED & BREAKFAST OR HOMESTAY OPTIONS – Several to choose from, plus our local holiday park right in town.
HUNTING – Hunting Guides are available, please enquire at the Infomation Centre.
OMARAMA RODEO – December 28th each year at Ben Omar Station.
RETAIL SHOPPING – Bargain Hunting, NZ Merino, Country Clothing, Souvenirs, Antiques & Collectables, Blokes Shed and an Auto Museum!
VINEYARD – Check out Ladybird Hill www.ladybirdhill.co.nz.
Omarama is a very warm and sunny place in summer. It's no wonder that the name Omarama in the Māori language means "place of light".
Free to do
A2O – ALPS TO OCEAN CYCLE TRAIL – base yourself at Omarama or stay overnight on your way through, the full trail is from Aoraki/Mt Cook to Oamaru and continues down the Waitaki Valley at the Omarama junction.
AHURIRI RIVER – picnic and swim in the pools created in our ever changing braided river just by the SH8 bridge, 2km north of town –a DoC toilet is provided.
AIRFIELD and PLANE SPOTTING – Daily glider launches, weather permitting plus the Regional Champs are held in November and the Nationals bi-annually in January.
AORAKI/MOUNT COOK – 1 hour’s drive north of Omarama – numerous walks, DOC headquarters and Info centre at Mt Cook Village – plus the Sir Ed Hillary Museum and very extensive Mt Cook exhibits.
BENMORE WALKWAY – 1 HOUR WALK – extensive views of upper MacKenzie Basin from above Benmore Dam. This walk leaves from Benmore Dam (turnoff Otematata 15 minutes east of Omarama)
BIKE PUMP TRACK – for cyclists - also next to the Community Hall, challenge yourself on a national-standard pump track.
BIRD WATCHING – Ahuriri River Bed and beyond – view the extensive bird life on the river flats.
CLAY CLIFFS – spectacular pinnacles formed from erosion on the Ostler fault line, parking at site with areas to climb or walk.The turn off is 4km north of Omarama on SH8 and is signposted - $5 donation per car & $20 per bus – pay at the Info Centre first or on your return.
COMMUNITY PICNIC AREA – seats and tables by the stream – the entrance is opposite the Mobil Service Station, take the gravel walkway through a gate to the river. Please leave the gate closed.
CONSERVATION PARKS – AHURIRI, RUATANIWHA, OTEAKE QUAILBURN, OHAU – a large selection of walks, tramps and hiking areas plus mountain bike tracks etc. too extensive to list here. Plus 4-WHEEL DRIVING - Please call at the local Information Centre, DOC office or check online for more information: www.doc.govt.nz.
DoC CAMPING is also available at the river. A donation is required, you must be self-contained and/or use the DoC toilet provided, take all rubbish with you (bins are located in the town centre). Dogs are permitted but they must be under control – please ensure you respect others and the natural wildlife.
FISHING – Extensive fishing opportunities for fly fishing, dry fly casting, nymphing, trolling. Fishing guides are also available – enquire at the Info Centre or Tackle Shop at Sierra Motels.
KIDZONE - Playground – 300m east of the shops on SH83 next to the Community Hall.
SAILORS CUTTING & LAKE BENMORE picnic areas - Popular Boat Harbour with a jetty, great for bathing or water sports. You could take the bikes on the A2O trail from Omarama - a gentle, short section. Toilets are available at Sailors Cutting & Pumpkin Point (about 10 minutes east of Omarama).
SALMON FARM - (about 15 minutes north of Omarama). You can feed the fish for free or purchase sashimi or whole/filleted salmon.
VINEYARD WALK - $2 donation to walk uphill through the Ladybird Hill vineyard – great views over Omarama and surrounds, plus up to Aoraki/Mt Cook on a clear day. There are large flowing ponds holding salmon, Rainbow and Brown Trout for you to feed if you wish. The Vineyard is open from 10am, Wed-Sun from August to May, closed during winter.