The Waitaki district, in the Canterbury and Otago regions of New Zealand straddles the traditional border between the two regions, the Waitaki River. It is the only region in the South Island that is divided between two regions. Oamaru is the main town in this region. Many of Oamaru's buildings are built of local limestone, quarried especially near Weston, and known as Oamaru Stone. The southern part of Oamaru's main business district ranks as one of New Zealand's most impressive streetscapes due to the many prominent buildings constructed from this material. This and another part of the town close to the harbour have been preserved as historic precincts.
The Waitaki District is a place of natural beauty, complemented by Oamaru's historic whitestone architecture. Visitors travel to see the diverse wildlife, idyllic villages and rolling green pastures and the Moeraki Boulders. They originally formed in ancient sea floor sediments during the early Paleocene some 60 million years ago. The boulders weigh several tonnes and are up to three metres in diametre.
Oamaru is famous for it's wildlife, and the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony enables visitors to observe these rare species up close. It is Oamaru’s largest tourist attraction, with over 75,000 visitors per year.
Totara Estate situated south of Oamaru is an historic farm that is highly significant as the birthplace of New Zealand's billion dollar frozen meat industry.
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