Chillin’ at Chillawhile Backpackers in Oamaru
We came to Oamaru and to Chillawhile Backpackers expecting to stay a maximum of two days. We’ve been here for four days now and might even stay a few more depending on how we decide to spend our last few days in New Zealand. I suspect we are not the first people to extend our stay in this interesting and relaxing little town.
After all of the hustle and bustle of Dunedin and Queenstown (which we have yet to post about), Oamaru and Chillawhile have provided us with some much needed respite. The hostel itself is like none other that we’ve stayed in throughout our travels. It is situated in a beautiful and enormous old victorian home that boasts equally large rooms for all of its traveller guests. We have stayed in two rooms since we’ve been here and both were very large, had lots of windows and light, and were equipped with heaters to keep us warm throughout the still-quite-cold nights. The hostel markets itself as a haven for artists and musicians providing a special room for each. I couldn’t help but think of how much my brother and his friends would love the music room of this place. They’ve got several guitars, djembes of all sizes, a piano, an organ, pan flutes, recorders, ukuleles, and all kinds of other miscellaneous instruments that are just asking for an impromptu jam session. The art room is equally well equipped for the artistic types. They’ve also got three quirky kitchens which eliminate the kitchen crowding that plague most hostels. Don’t worry techies they haven’t forgot about you either, there is a free computer with internet for all guests to use and wifi internet available as well. For the sporty folk, there’s a ping pong table in a garage out back. Finally, for the animal lover, there are two gorgeous and sweet golden retrievers who live on the property. Here’s the link if you want to check it out http://www.chillawhile.co.nz/index.php
Other than relaxing at the hostel and sharing several drinks with their excellent WWOOFing staff who we’ve become fast friends with, we haven’t done too much in Oamaru. We did visit the Whitestone Cheese Factory for a cheese tasting though, which was incredible and also a really good deal at five dollars for six good portions of locally produced cheese. We spent one day wandering a bit around the town which has a really charming ‘old town’ (really just one street) with art galleries and cafes. We’ve also watched one sunset on a ridge overlooking the beach which was lovely but cold since the weather is still quite cool in New Zealand. Tonight we are planning in finally walking into town at sunset to see the infamous blue penguins who are the real tourist draw of Oamaru. The little blue penguins come off of the beach and waddle a bit through the town to their nesting spots. We are super excited to finally catch a glimpse of the little guys tonight!