Monday10:00 am – 4:00 pm.
Tuesday10:00 am – 4:00 pm.
Wednesday10:00 am – 4:00 pm.
Thursday10:00 am – 4:00 pm.
Friday10:00 am – 4:00 pm.
Saturday10:00 am – 4:00 pm.
Sunday10:00 am – 4:00 pm.
1 Humber Street, Oamaru
027 778 6547
Ōamaru is not only the Steampunk capital of New Zealand, but of the entire world. And what is Steampunk exactly? It’s a Victorian view of the future - a future without the industrial revolution, a future powered by steam. If this fascinating sub-culture is foreign to you don’t worry, a trip to Steampunk HQ will bring you up to speed in no time flat.
Steampunk HQ lives inside an old grain store. The stunning limestone building sat empty for almost 90 years before two local artists dreamed up its new form. It opened in 2011 and has been wowing visitors of the Steampunk persuasion and those just dabbling in it, ever since.
In true form, a massive steam powered locomotive sits in front of Steampunk HQ. Deposit a two-dollar coin at any time of the day and watch the engine spring to life as flames shoot out of its smokestack. Head inside and dive even deeper into this attraction that’s not quite a museum, not quite a gallery but is fun, spooky, antique and futuristic all at the same time.
During open hours you can explore all this spot has to offer for just ten bucks. In the foyer, choose a Steampunk name, a trade related to the times and even dress up in Victorian garb. Venture deeper into the building and investigate all of the industrial relics that have been repurposed into weird, wacky and fascinating Steampunk art forms.
One of the first installations you’ll encounter, the ‘Metagalactic Pipe Organ’ is completely interactive as are most of the installations found here. Press its keys and ignite the space with manufactured sounds of the past, present and future. In The Gadegetorium, you’ll encounter unusual creatures, relics and machines before being transported to new dimensions in The Portal.
Leave at least an hour to make the most of your time here and bring your camera too as photography is encouraged. If there ever was a place you simply have to experience for yourself, it’d be Steampunk HQ.
Words by Olivia Sisson & Photography by Nancy Zhou
1 Humber Street, Oamaru
Near Steampunk HQ
Harbour Street, South Hill, Oamaru
Ōamaru’s Heritage Precinct is an ode to tradition. In this way it only makes sense that it’s home to Craftwork - an award winning, small scale, Belgian brewery run by brewing couple, Lee-Ann Scotti and Michael O’Brien.
3 Harbour Street, South Hill, Oamaru
It’s hard not to be inspired by Ōamaru’s rugged coastline and fabled history. The town is home to
many talented makers and artists, and at the collective gallery you can explore their work at your
1 Tees Street
Argentinian, Italian and Spanish flavours meet Kiwi hospitality at Cucina. Owners Yanina and Pablo, moved their family to Oamaru in 2008, and celebrate the cuisine they grew up with through Waitaki's best ingredients.
34 Thames Street, Oamaru
An award winning interior design studio and lifestyle store that is a party for the senses. Leave plenty of time to explore their range of homewares, wallpapers, fabrics, cushions, rugs, candles, throws, designer clothes and other covetable items.