Cure Weekend Brunching with 6 of the Best Cafés in Ōamaru

Birdseye view of brunch from Tees Street.

If you catch yourself in Ōamaru in some form of the morning, here’s the spots to hit up for your brunch needs.

Words by: Johnny Gibson

Photography by: Nancy Zhou

It’s hard to know if time in Ōamaru moves backwards, forwards or stands still all in the same moment. But luckily the food scene has had a real upgrade in recent years thanks to some forward thinkers, passionate locals and a real emphasis to showcase what’s grown in the regional food basket of Waitaki. 

Tees St

3 Tees Street, Ōamaru & Waitaki

If you’re a regular to Ōamaru or have just passed through enough times to cotton on to Tees Street, you’ll agree that this spot has set a new standard for the region. Forget your ‘same old, same old’ brunch plates, the options here are reborn and made with local ingredients and flavours of South America, Asia and the Mediterranean. Picture huevos rancheros, sticky pork bao buns or fried chicken tacos. These dishes have been winning over big brekkie traditionalists since 2016. Supreme beans and bomboloni doughnuts will most definitely round out your brunch experience. 

Badger & Mackerel

175 Thames Street, Oamaru, Ōamaru & Waitaki

A hub for great food, excellent service and a refreshing mix of big brekkie classics and modern brunch plates. Badger & Mackerel does a full breakfast-brunch menu. The standout dish is the pork belly eggs benny made with local free-range eggs, twelve-hour slow-roasted pork belly, a dash of hollandaise and a bit of chilli on the side for those who like heat. Alongside the menu, there’s also a cabinet that brings the ‘wow’ factor, there’s just so much to choose from and it’s all homemade - even the pies. Don’t fret if you’re gluten-free, vegan, or vegetarian - Badger & Mackerel does it all.

Harbour Street Collective

8 Harbour Street, Ōamaru & Waitaki

Located on, you guessed it, Harbour Street, this café offers up three cabinets that boast an array of sweet and savoury treats - the cinnamon scrolls are a local favourite. The all-day breakfast menu is complete with a bacon butty, eggs bennies, a big brekkie, waffles and healthy options like a Moroccan quinoa bowl. Add in a coffee made using Atomic beans and consider breakfast sorted.

Riverstone Kitchen

1431 State Highway 1, Rd 5h, Ōamaru & Waitaki

A remarkable foodie's destination just off Highway 1, 20 minutes north of Oamaru, is Riverstone Kitchen. Their menu changes with the seasons, and it’s no wonder why once you stroll through the beautiful surrounding gardens. On the breakfast menu, expect to see a breakfast bowl, something creative using local smoked salmon and your essential egg options. Celebrating and plating up beautiful, honest and most importantly delicious representations of Waitaki, it’s no wonder this place is generally heaving. 

Vinbrux Bakery

36B Arun Street, Ōamaru & Waitaki

The Vinbrux family handcraft German-style sourdough, homemade cakes, beautiful pastries and an array of delicious breakfast and lunch dishes from this traditional little neighbourhood bakery. The majority of the items you’ll find in the bakery and café incorporate ingredients grown on the family’s 34-acre farm. Everything is made from scratch and that which the family doesn’t grow is sourced as locally as possible. Breakfast options include German classics like sausage with sauerkraut on a homemade bread roll, as well as scrambled egg crepes and fresh fruit pancakes.

Wild Sage Café

16 Bledisloe Street, Kurow, Ōamaru & Waitaki

Undoubtedly a hidden gem in the heart of beautiful Kurow, Wild Sage specialises in home-style kai, friendly service and on-point delicious Common Ground coffee. There is a selection of the classics, toasted sandwiches and a super inspiring cabinet display that caters for vegans, vegetarians and dairy-free and gluten-free options. Match all that with the relaxed vibe and funky interior, and you’ll see why this place is a locals favourite.

Neat Ōamaru & Waitaki Places

Elephant Rocks

View of Elephant Rocks in the Waitaki Whitestone Geopark.
Place Ōamaru & Waitaki

For a nice walk, a bit of bouldering or both, head to Elephant Rocks. Sculpted by wind and rain, these funky outcrops give visitors a glimpse of the limestone that make the Waitaki Valley’s terroir so unique.

Harbour Street Collective

Piano and seating area at Harbour Street Collective in Ōamaru.
Place Ōamaru & Waitaki

With coffee, cabinet food, all day brekkie, a playground, art gallery, vintage shop and in-house sushi bar, there’s truly something for everyone. The cinnamon scrolls, for one, fly out the door every morning, so don’t wait!

Housekeepers Design

Interior view of the shop at Housekeepers Design in Ōamaru.
Place Ōamaru & Waitaki

A beautiful old building full of beautiful new objects. We’re talking New Zealand made clothing, accessories and homewares that’ll delight even the most discerning of buyers. Do your gift shopping or treat yourself.

Vinbrux Bakery

Baker making bread in the kitchen at Vinbrux Bakery in Ōamaru.
Place Ōamaru & Waitaki

Vinbrux is home to stunning patisserie, organic German style sourdough and excellent brunch. Everything is 100% homemade by the family, often with produce from their farm, and is served in an atmosphere that’s as jovial as the food is delicious.