Former Diamond Harbour residents, photographers, Lynda and Peter Harper, now living in Oamaru, invited members of the Diamond Harbour Camera Club to visit Oamaru, for a photographic field trip.

On Saturday, March 16, twenty two members of our club travelled to Oamaru.  We firstly met with Lynda and Peter for a briefing, and then set out for a full and interesting day, accompanied by some members of the North Otago Photographic Society.

The rain clouds rolled away and the sun shone. Firstly we travelled south to the Moeraki lighthouse, and then walked to the headland.  Seals were basking in the sunshine on the grass above the beach of golden sand, fringed with drying seaweed. On the southern shady side, far below us, young seals swam and dived amongst the rocks.

From there, we went to the renowned ‘Fleurs Place’ in Moeraki, for coffee and cake. Along with other travellers, we were directed outdoors as there was a crew filming Fleur, in the restaurant.  It was her birthday.  Colourful fishing boats were moored in the harbour, nearby the frame of a rusty wharf.  In the picturesque setting our view was to the bay, alongside an old dinghy, tinged with pink and green, a stone sculpture of a whale, and a set of concrete ‘steps to nowhere’. Seagulls circled, eyeing our cake!

Our next brief stop was Shag Point, rich in history and geologically interesting. Boulders, less rounded than those at Moeraki, imbedded in a rocky mass; glistening as the tide ebbed and flowed. A flock of Red Billed Gulls rested on a rock shelf, close to the shore, seals clambered over the large boulders above the beach. The water was seething with kelp. On one of the rock shelves, New Zealand’s largest dinosaur was discovered. It can be seen in the Museum in Dunedin. In the valley nearby, the remains of a coal mine.

Lunch was at a Waikouaiti cafe and then followed an unscheduled visit to the Antique Shop across the road.

Onward to the Hawksbury Lagoon, where we wandered across parched mud flats with colourful and interesting flora, and then along the track. There were Spoonbills in the distance and we were rewarded with a White Heron preening on an old tree stump, submerged in the water. Nearby, the usually tranquil beach was humming with people and noise as rescue boat competitions were in progress.

The next port of call was Karitane, the home of the founder of the Plunket Society, Sir Truby King. Along the beach, to the north was a bluff, a jagged rocky shoreline with twin rock sentinels weathered away from the mainland. Our walk along the top of the peninsula revealed the site of the Huriawa pa.

We completed our day with a stop at the Moeraki Boulders, on the journey back to Oamaru.

On Saturday evening, our extensive dinner was at a Japanese restaurant – a time to reflect on the activities of the day, and to thank Lynda and Peter for their hospitality and organization.

We all met for coffee on Sunday morning in the Victorian Precinct, before dispersing to explore further, then to return home.

Oamaru, with its well preserved Victorian streetscape in elaborately carved white stone, the Victorian Precinct, a Sunday market, colonies of Penguins, quirky Steampunk, and more, along with historic and geological sites in the vicinity, offers many creative opportunities for future photographic forays.