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Omarama

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Omarama is a small town in the Mackenzie Country of New Zealand's South Island that has more gliders parked in hangars than families tucked up safe at home. That's because it's one of the best places on the planet for setting sailplane records.

Its world famous gliding centre, where scenic glider flights into the Southern Alps are available, as well as a pilot training school, is 30 km south of Twizel and 100 km south of Mount Cook.

Get in

By car

  • Omarama is at the junction of State Highway 8 between Twizel and Cromwell, and SH83 from Oamaru. Drive times are one hour from Wanaka, 2 hours from Queenstown and 4 hours from Christchurch.

By (powered) plane

  • Christchurch has the nearest international airport.
  • Queenstown has the nearest major domestic airport.

By bus

Intercity (Newmans Coach Lines) have one coach per day from Christchurch and one from Queenstown.

Get around

See

  • 1 The Wrinkly Rams, 24-30 Omarama Ave (Twizel-Omarama Rd), ☏ +64 3 438-9751. Daily, times vary (phone to check). An informative show about New Zealand's high country sheep shearing, with a live sheep shorn on stage. Shows last 30–45 min, which includes a 10-min movie 'Micron Magic'. Also a demonstration of an eye dog, a sheepdog herding sheep by its stare. A must-see in Omarama. Don't forget your camera. Has a cafe, winebar, and a gift shop whose stock includes clothing made from ultra-fine merino wool and delicious honey. Adult $25, child 5–15 $12.50, family of four $60.
  • Clay Cliffs, $5. 15min drive through a natural heritage protected site looking at natural erosion that has occurred due to the Ostler fault.

Do

Gliding between September and April:

  • 1 Glide Omarama, 30 Airport Road, Omarama, ☏ +64 3 438-9555, toll-free: 0508 4543464 (GLIDING ), ✉ info@glideomarama.com. Flight times range from 20min to several hours. Also offer training courses. $350+.
  • Omarama Gliding Club. Operate from the airfield.
  • Canterbury Gliding Club operate from the airfield during January.
  • Hang Gliding, 0800 02 45433. Take an at least 20 minute flight over Omarama.

Learn

  • Gavin Wills Mountain Soaring, ☏ +64 3 438-9555. Soaring school with introductory and advanced level courses.

Buy

Eat

  • Kahu Café on the airfield, between the camping ground and the hangars. Coffee and meals.
  • 1 Ladybird Hill, 1 Pinot Noir Court (2 minute walk from the town centre), ☏ +64 3 438-9550. Th-Su 10am to late. Vineyard restaurant with extensive grounds, kids playground, fish feeding and a walking trail leading to a lookout giving the best views of Omarama and the surrounding area. Advance booking required.
  • The Wrinkly Rams Café. Omarama's best food and coffee. More info in the "See" section above.

Drink

Sleep

  • 1 Heritage Gateway Hotel, State Highway 8, ☏ +64 3 438 9805. 98 rooms
  • Countrytime Hotel. 50 rooms.
  • Sierra Motels. From $95.
  • 2 Ahuriri Motel, State Highway 83, ☏ +64 3 438-9451, toll-free: 0800 438 945. 14 rooms
  • Omarama Hotel.

Go next

  • South-west on Highway 8 to Wanaka and Cromwell in the Queenstown-Lakes district
  • North on Highway 8 to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park and Lake Tekapo
  • East on Highway 83 to Oamaru on the coast



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