Oamaru Victorian Precinct
Oamaru is today very fortunate to have had a very unfortunate start to the 20th Century. Having been built to become “the New York of the South Seas”, with impressive stone architecture that would not be out of place in the London or indeed New York of the late Victorian era, those visions never quite came to fruition, largely due to a catastrophic economic collapse in the first decade of the 1900s. But that meant that these stunning buildings never got grown out of, nor became unsuited to their intended use as banks, customs houses and more, so no one ever bothered to demolish them (and our lack of seismic activity means Mother Nature has left them alone, too). Today Oamaru is New Zealand’s best-preserved Victorian town, with the old buildings now put to modern uses. No one should leave the area without giving it a good visit.