Oamaru: Steampunk & sublime seafood

The Thirsty Travellers were completely enchanted by our brief visit to Oamaru on New Zealand’s South Island.

The sleepy town is the NZ home of steampunk and there’s a museum dedicated to it near the waterfront.

It charges a $10 entry fee and it’s totally worth it – we loved exploring the bizarre artworks and were dazzled by the magic created in a mirrored room filled with flashing lights.

Steampunk is a Victoriana-like, Jules Verne-sque sci-fi mash up – lots of cogs and corsets and goggles and rusty metal. Totally left-field and mesmerising.

Unfortunately we weren’t in town for the annual Steampunk Festival, which looks like a hoot.

After exploring Steampunk HQ, we wandered across the road to Scotts Brewing Co for a cider while we decided what to do for dinner.

Ginger was flicking through the Lonely Planet when she spotted a write up of Fleur’s Place, which is about 30 minutes down the coast in a little fishing village called Moeraki.

And that’s how we fluked upon our favourite dining experience of our New Zealand holiday.

Fleur, the namesake owner of the restaurant, is quite the character with her wild grey hair and warm conversation.

Rick Stein loves visiting the restaurant and rich people often helicopter in for lunch. The unassuming tin shed is perched right beside the sea with the most stunning views.

We devoured a trio of ling, grouper and elephant fish served with queen scallops, smashed potatoes and fennel hollandaise sauce.

After dinner we sat sipping wine beside the sea and felt gloriously lucky and relaxed.

Then we headed back to Oamaru for a night in the steampunk themed Poshtel – we booked the music room, which featured a tuba above the bed and bedside lamps made from trumpets.

The hotel is totally unique, decorated with a beguiling mix of mod-cons, antiques and Steampunk memorabilia.

It was a quirky end to a great day.

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