Good evening comrades,
Having reviewed my logbook on this dark and dreary eve I return to inform and enlighten with my experiences during the expedition to Oamaru. The following establishments and events are but a small selection of what the steampunk city has to offer.
For those of an artistic persuasion I suggest a wander around the numerous galleries and artisan workshops of the historic precinct. Traverse the staircase inside the Woolstore to discover a replica Victorian street housing the Woolstore Galleries. Here, intrepid traveller, you will find the Libratory of Professor Damotimus Tipotus.
The Libratory exists in a reality not quite our own. Step inside and you will find yourself, not in the upper floor of the Woolstore, but in the cavelike yet cozy basement of a towering home. As New Zealand’s only steampunk art gallery the Libratory showcases an intriguing array of art, inventions and artifacts from numerous sources, including Rewound Romance and Dr Grordbort. Plus of course the inventions of Professor Damotimus himself.
Trove of steampunk treasures aside, the most impressive aspect of the Libratory is its construction. Movie set pillars, old pallets and a generous dose of the Prof’s secret paper mache paste come together to create an atmosphere that’s part Victorian library, part secret lair, and one hundred percent worth a visit. (Particularly noteworthy if you enjoy large firearms.)
After exploring the galleries I do believe it’s time for refreshments. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at two establishments in the historic precinct – The Victorian pub (the name of which currently eludes me, although I do remember it’s in the old whiskey distillery), and The Star and Garter.
Our small party stopped by the whiskey distillery for a well deserved pint… or two… or possibly three. regardless it was the largest glass of cider I’ve ever had. Armed with a local cheese platter and a newspaper to peruse, the warm distillery was a welcoming place to defrost after the crisp cold Oamaru air. They were hosting a photographic exhibition in their cavernous function room, which merits a visit if you’re in the area.
The Star and Garter is one of New Zealand’s oldest restaurants. This quaint eatery is a few streets over from the aforementioned pub, and was so good we dined there twice during our four day expedition!
The menu leans toward the traditional with a succulent roast each day, accompanied by seasonal vegetables and cheese sauce ( I mention this as I love cheese sauce, and you so rarely see it in restaurants). There’s also the ever present South island Blue Cod, or more ‘historical’ options such as lambs fry . Combined with cozy decor and huge meals – $35 buys you a stomach straining three course meal – The Star and Garter shall certainly feature in any return to Oamaru.
Along with these fine establishments a stroll around the city will reveal imposing Victorian architecture galore, and steampunk suprises besides. A dark engine from the centre of the earth rests outside The Steampunk HQ currently under construction. Sneak a peek through their hedge or over the fence to bring a whole secret garden of steampunk creations into view.
For now I bid you Adieu, do visit again soon.
Oh and please do let me know of any steampunk destinations you recommend, you can never have too many places to dream of….