Steampunk HQ, Ōamaru. © David Wall

Steampunk HQ, Ōamaru


View the map

TAP FOR MORE INFO:

‘Steampunk is a quirky genre of science fiction that features steam-powered technology’ – according to Steampunk HQ in Ōamaru. 

In this parallel world, the digital age of transistors and computers never happened and time marched with steam-powered machines and their noisy moving parts; clumsy by modern standards, but fascinating.  

Machines from the writings of H.G Wells and Jules Verne continue to inspire some of steampunk’s contemporary artists. 

Ōamaru’s Steampunk Museum, based in one of the town’s historic whitestone buildings, is home to the local League of Victorian Imagineers who have created exhibitions characterised by rusting iron, cogs, chains, bolts, cylinders and flickering cathode ray screens. 

On the front courtyard, a full-size railway engine rears like a bucking horse. The building’s external adornments provide clues to the museum’s strange and sometimes macabre contents. Sculptured insects on its walls cluster as if on carrion and a metal figure perches on the roof dangling from a hook. 

Just inside the entrance, the plush seat of a pipe organ invites the curious to sit awhile and tickle the ivories. The organ produces an eclectic range of sounds from throbbing bass rhythms and a cuckoo clock to someone chanting ‘all aboard the Jolly Roger.’

Nearby, a stairwell for the adventurous descends to a cellar once used for granary storage; the less adventurous can peer into the cellar through a floor window. 

A descriptive panel provides insight for the uninitiated: ‘A curious shop unearthed in the Cerberus quadrant of Ursa Major…’ Standing on the deck of his ship, a ghoulish skipper grips a tiller ringed with metal spear tips. A stern-mounted fan powers the craft. 

The mirror room is a more recent addition. Behind a solid door, reflected light and gentle music contribute to a fairy tale experience… and relief from the darker themes of the museum. 

 

Story by Steuart Lang 

Explore more...


Be the first to comment on this page. You cannot post comments until you have logged in. Please log in or register if you don't have an account.

More stories like this

Find out more

Natural attractions

Waitaki: a river of time

A goblin’s labyrinth of creamy rock, fossils, Victorian architecture and Steampunk. There is nowhere else in New Zealand quite like Waitaki. Read the story . . . 

Find out more

Events and festivals

Ōamaru’s Victorian Precinct: the capital of all things steampunk

Slightly eccentric, Ōamaru is one of those not-as-it-first-seems places. The surprises are all good ones, though! Read the story . . . 

Find out more

Natural attractions

Moeraki Boulders: those mysterious spheres

On a sandy beach, just south of Ōamaru, is a collection of perfectly round boulders – some smooth-skinned, others fractured along veins of quartz, some eroded away to piles of rubble. Read the story . . . 

Oamaru Where to stay in

4.6 /5
From $33
4.6 /5
Best Price Around
Waitaki Waters Holiday Park

Just a stroll to the mouth of the mighty Waitaki River, we are a very quiet rural property, for peace and quiet we are the . . . More . . . 

From $33

Book now

Book now

YHA Oamaru Red Kettle

Cosy and quiet, YHA Oamaru, Red Kettle is a traditional small hostel just minutes from the Oamaru town centre and attractive Historic District. . . . More . . . 

4.5 /5
4.5 /5
Bella Vista Oamaru Visit website

We welcome you to the Bella Vista Oamaru Motel. Oamaru is the hub of the Waitaki region and the perfect base for your adventures. . . . More . . . 

Book now

Book now

4.7 /5
From $130
4.7 /5
Best Price Around
ASURE Ambassador Motor Lodge Visit website

Christine & Bret welcome you to the Ambassador Motor Lodge where we strive to offer our guests the best in comfort and hospitality, welcoming everyone . . . More . . . 

From $130

Book now

Book now