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.
- 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.
- 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.
Gliding between September and April:
- Southern Soaring, ☎ +64 3 438-9600, toll-free: 0800 762 746. Flight times range from 20min to an hour or more. Also offer training courses. $235-580.
- 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.
- Gavin Wills Mountain Soaring ☎ +64 3 438-9555. Soaring school with introductory and advanced level courses.
- Kahu Café on the airfield, between the camping ground and the hangars. Coffee and meals.
- Ladybird Hill, 1 Pinot 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.
- Oasis Cafe and Bar, 4 Chain Hills Highway (at the highway junction, next to Mobil). Daily from 7:30am. Coffee, yummy food and a warm fire.
- The Wrinkly Rams Café. Omarama's best food and coffee. More info in the "See" section above.
- Heritage Gateway Hotel. 98 rooms.
- Countrytime Hotel. 50 rooms.
- Sierra Motels. From $95.
- Ahuriri Motel, State Highway 83, +64 3 438-9451, 0800 438 945. 14 rooms.
- Omarama Hotel.
- 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
|Routes through Omarama|
|Cromwell ←||SW N||→ Lake Tekapo|
|End ←||W E||→ Junction → Oamaru|