Oamaru public gardens

Officially opened in October 1876, the Oamaru Public Gardens are among the oldest in the country. The well-tended gardens and distinctive features reflect the unique style and heritage of Oamaru and Whitestone Waitaki.

The gardens are registered as a ‘Garden of Significance’ and have welcomed, entertained and inspired people for more than a century. They are well worth a visit for people of all ages. ​The gardens have something for everyone.

Location and hours

The gardens are located at Chelmer Street, Oamaru. They are open seven days per week and entry is free. Our gardens are smoke-free.

The brochure​ below shows access ways into and around the gardens, and significant features.​​​


The interaction of people with nature has been paramount in the Oamaru Public Garden’s evolution. From the moment visitors enter the classical main gates on Severn Street, they discover a special space designed to foster an appreciation for our natural environment. The many features within the gardens cater for all ages and interests: Oamaru garden with kids playing in the background.

​Children’s playground

The children’s playground has entertained countless families over the years, and is a favourite with locals and visitors alike. Along with an enticing array of play equipment and paddling pools there are public toilets and barbeques available for use. 

​Wonderland Garden

The Wonderland Garden is a magical space and includes one of the garden’s finest and most delightful features - the Wonderland Statue created by Scottish Sculptor Thomas J. Clapperton and gifted in 1926 by former Mayor Robert Milligan. The garden also includes an ornamental stream flowing past the gracious Swan Fountain.

​Craig Fountain

The regal Craig Fountain donated by James Craig JP and erected in 1915 near the main entrance is one of many charming features. Made of Italian marble,this magnificent fountain is surrounded by a colourful profusion of bedding plants. 

​​Display House

Situated alongside the rose garden, the display house is home to a beautiful array of exotic plant specimens. 

​The Fernery

There is a native fernery to compliment the impressive array of New Zealand native plants located throughout the gardens, which includes mature trees and shrubs.

Other unique features include the Band Rotunda, Aviary and Peacock House. A large glade by the Band Rotunda and Aviary surrounded by magnificent trees provides the ideal venue for events including Victorian Heritage Week tea parties.​

​To book the Oamaru Public Gardens for a wedding or other event, please go to Parks, gardens and reserves bookings​​​.

Page reviewed: 19 May 2020 9:29am