Steampunk HQ

Galleries and museum key icon.
Galleries and museum key icon.

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.

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

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Location

1 Humber Street, Oamaru

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