Omarama vacation rentals
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Your guide to Omarama
All About Omarama
Set in the MacKenzie Basin on the South Island of New Zealand two hours northeast of Queenstown, Omarama is most famous for its sheep and wool. As you enter the small mountain town, you are greeted by the Merino Sheep statue. The town is surrounded by natural wonders, including the dramatic Omarama Clay Cliffs and the Ahuriri River, which flows north into Lake Benmore, one of the largest artificial lakes in New Zealand and a popular spot for boating, swimming, and fishing. Also popular is hiking the patchwork of rolling hills that stretch into the distance of this rural community. As you look to the sky, don’t be surprised if you see winged humans in flight — the region is known for its excellent hang-gliding conditions.
The best time to stay in a vacation rental in Omarama
As Omarama is in the southern hemisphere, the summer months are between January and March. This is the warmest time of the year and when most visitors come to the area. Summer is the most comfortable season for enjoying water sports, fishing in the nearby lakes, and hiking the local trails. The coldest time of the year is in the winter, from June to August, where temperatures drop and it’s possible to see snow. This is prime ski season in New Zealand, with ski resorts dotted in the mountain ranges throughout South Island. In the mid-winter, Omarama holds a stargazing party, making the most of the clear skies and low levels of light pollution.
Top things to do in Omarama
Omarama Clay Cliffs
Just six miles from the township, the Omarama Clay Cliffs are an extraordinary natural wonder. Created by glacial flows more than one million years ago and made from silt and gravel, these sandy-colored cliffs have pinnacles that rise to nearly 100 feet high with narrow ravines between them that you can walk through.
Ahuriri Valley Conservation Park
This 120,000-acres conservation park, about 20 minutes south of Omarama, is home to mountains, rivers, and forests. There are several trails for hiking and mountain biking, some of which pass through canyons and wetlands. At the Quailburne Bush and Historic Site inside the park, you’ll find a woolshed and concrete homestead dating back to the 1860s. The Ahuriri River Gorge is a great place to go kayaking or fishing for brown and rainbow trout.
A 186-mile cycling trail starts at Aoraki Mountain, passing through Omarama on its way to Oamaru where it meets the ocean. Travel north on the trail to the turquoise waters of Lake Pukaki or to admire the view of the Mackenzie Basin from the trail’s highest point. Alternatively, head south from Omarama and wind through the Waitaki Valley, where you’ll pass by lakes, rivers, and vineyards. Once you finish the ride in Oamaru, you’ll be rewarded with a charming town full of Victorian architecture, art galleries, and the little blue penguins that wander the beach.