Clarks Mill near Oamaru

Clarks Mill near Oamaru

On a whim, I stopped at Clarks Mill. I was on my way to Christchurch and when the historic mill came into view, some 15 kilometres south of Oamaru, for no particular reason I pulled the car over and made the decision to have a look around. Unfortunately, the mill was closed and all locked up so I was forced to be content with wandering around the grounds. However, I was able to find out that the milling of wheat and flour was a key component of the early North Otago economy and Clarks Mill was an important part of that production. Opened in 1867 for the New Zealand and Australia Land Company, Clarks Mill was originally equipped with grinding stones powered by a water wheel. Since the mill was in a rather awkward location beside a bend of the Kakanui River, it required the construction of a long water race to power it.

Fleur’s Place Closes

Fleur’s Place in Moeraki

The other morning while enjoying a cup of coffee which I hoped would awaken my senses, I read that  Moeraki’s legendary seafood restaurant Fleur’s Place has permanently closed. Once considered one the best restaurants in the country, the famed rustic style restaurant gained international acclaim for specialising in fresh, local seafood. However, due to a number of reasons, the restaurant closed during the Covid 19 pandemic and has never reopened. Now, owner Fleur Sullivan has announced the doors are shut for good and the restaurant, located in the small North Otago village of Moeraki, will soon be for sale.

Fleur’s Place For Naturally Good Food

Fleur’s Place in Moeraki

While I was in the seaside village of Moeraki I called past Fleur’s Place, a rustic style restaurant that specialises in fresh seafood. Unfortunately, it closed during the Covid 19 pandemic when the whole hospitality industry struggled to stay open. In fact, I don’t know if it ever reopened? 

Fleur’s Place gained a great reputation for fantastic sea food and regularly received rave reviews by visitors from all over the world, including Britain’s own popular TV chef Rick Stein. In fact, when British newspaper the Daily Mail offered to fly him anywhere in the world to eat, he chose Fleur’s Place! That’s impressive.

Steampunk HQ

Steampunk HQ

Welcome to Steampunk HQ in Oamaru which is a fun place to visit. This train outside also lights up at night which is quite spectacular. Unfortunately, whenever I go past it’s always daylight. I really must go up for a night trip to photograph the lights in the evening. Also, a fun fact I read stated that not only is Oamaru the Steampunk capital of New Zealand but of the entire world. Is that true?

The Heritage Precinct In Oamaru

Harbour Street in Oamaru – Buy 

I recently drove to Christchurch from Dunedin, a distance of some 360 kilometres. On the way I ventured through Oamaru and on a whim I detoured through the heritage precinct situated near the harbour. Made up of several streets, the heritage precinct is a wonderful streetscape of commercial Victorian style buildings that are constructed from local limestone and were built around 1865 to 1885. Needing to stretch my legs, I parked several blocks away and joined the steady throng of people who were ambling around the area. I walked down Tyne Street and turned left into Harbour Street. I was hoping to photograph the outside of some of the historic buildings, however for reasons that can only be guessed the street has been left open to traffic. As I was standing there, I tried to figure out the logic of having a street no more than 100 metres in length, with a width of no more than several cars and buildings over 150 years old that attracts large crowds, and the council allows people to park cars right in front of them. As I moved along the street, I thought to myself there really is nothing like casually strolling from shop to shop, admiring hand crafted facades and having to wait while some numb nut tries to parallel park a Subaru Impreza or for a Mitsubishi Outlander to move because the driver doesn’t want to walk the extra 10 steps to the shop!