Cure Weekend Brunching with 6 of the Best Cafés in Ōamaru
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.
3 Tees Street, South Hill, Oamaru, 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, South Hill, Oamaru, 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.
1431 Glenavy-Hilderthorpe Road, Waitaki Bridge, 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.
36B Arun Street, South Hill, Oamaru, 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.
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Harbour Street Collective
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!
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 own pace.
Local Kevin Murdoch restored The Terraces building and filled it with historical relics and an art studio. Pop in for a chat with Kevin and the other Ōamaru artist in residence, Al Bell - this is something of an alternative visitors’ centre.
The Vintners Drop
Nestled on the main street of Kurow in what was once the local post office building, Vintners Drop is the cellar door of boutique winery Ostler Vineyards.
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.