Waimate District council
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Waimate – nestled at the foot of the rolling Hunters Hills, comes close to being a perfect example of a New Zealand rural town. Ideally located in the centre of the south, it is halfway between Christchurch, Dunedin. Waimate is a convenient gateway to the Waitaki Lakes and to the spectacular MacKenzie Basin and provides one of the shortest routes to Queenstown. 

Originally known as 'Te Waimatemate' or slow moving water, Waimate was born from the meeting of Chief Te Huruhuru and Michael Studholme (first settler) in 1854. Waimate has not forgotten its earliest European residents, the historic thatched ‘cuddy’ built by Studholme in 1854 is still in existence.  On the hills behind the town is a unique tribute to the role played by the Clydesdale horse in the development of the rich farm lands that stretch away into the distance – the White Horse monument.

An Edwardian heritage

The town itself has wide spacious streets, a valued collection of Edwardian buildings, including several churches of historic importance.  The Waimate Historical Museum (housed in the old Waimate courthouse), has many wonderful displays including local history and Maori heritage telling the stories of Waimate and its growth. 

Waimate is known for a number of unique features including holding the rare distinction of being one of the few places in NZ where wallabies have taken up residence. Introduced from Australia in the late 1860’s and known as 'Bennett's Wallabies', numbers have increased dramatically. These nocturnal marsupials have adapted well to the Waimate environment and can be found in wildlife parks throughout the district. They have flourished here and are the largest found in New Zealand.You can see them in wildlife parks in the district or if hunting is your sport there is ample opportunity for this too.

Waimate is also famed for its famous strawberries and raspberries which have been grown in the district since late 1880’s. You can buy them in season from a number of road side stalls, or you can pick your own - can’t get fresher than that!  

An ideal midway stopping point

Ideally located midway between Christchurch, Dunedin and Queenstown, Waimate is the second South Island location to become Motorhome Friendly. Its wide streets are ideal for parking up as well as exploring on foot. Check out the Information Centre for self-guiding tours to discover the history of the town and its historic attractions. As a base for exploring the attractions of nearby districts, take your pick of coasts, alpine scenery and wonderful lake vistas.

For Local Activities see the above Directory Tab.

Waimate District council Telephone: 03 689 7771

Featured Event:

Bluff Oyster Festival 2018


'Unsophisticated and proud of it!'

The Salty seaside township of Bluff is home to this festive winter event. Located in the heart of Bluff and brought to you by the locals of Bluff with a uniquely Southland flavour. Complementing the sumptuous Bluff Oyster and a variety of seafoods. Local fare that will tempt any tastebuds with Wild Foods and live music to enjoy.

Gates open 10.30am, No Pets Please!

Event tickets ON SALE NOW! - make sure to PRE-PURCHASE tickets as they do not last long and there is no certainty of gate-sales.


  • Adult - $30.00
  • Child - $10.00 14 years and under (must be accompanied by an adult)

Certified Self-Contained Motorhome/Caravan Parking

Certified Self Contained vehicles, parking available from Friday 12.00pm 25th May to Sunday 27th of May.  

  • Motorhome and Caravan Parking & Fees:- $5.00 per Van/Per Night - Ocean Beach Road, Bluff.
  • Transport Van available to the Event at $5.00 per person/Return ticket.
  • Pay on arrival (cash) (closest address is 250 Ocean Beach Road, with access to  parking 100 metres past on SH#1, taking first right (it will be sign posted) 200 metres along, you are there')
  • No need to book parking spot!
  • Get the very best spot to this 'MUST DO' event.  
  • Grab your hat, Scarf and Winter coat for an event filled weekend. Join the friendly locals and visitors for a taste of Bluff.
Find out more about this event
Featured Story:

Remembering pioneering Kiwi Margaret Cruickshank

All I remember of Margaret Cruickshank was from Intermediate school, that she was the first female New Zealand doctor. When we visited Waimate and came upon her statue at Seddon Park, a local who was there also enjoying the afternoon sunshine with her grand-kids casually mentioned that the statue was one of only four statues of women in the country.

I couldn't decide whether to be shocked at the gender disparity or to be ashamed that I didn't know anything about this historical personage who must have done something remarkable to deserve this rare honour.

So I looked it up (ahh, the powers of accessible technology) and this is from nzhistory.net

Margaret accepted a position as assistant to Dr H. C. Barclay of Waimate, and on3 Ma

Find out more about this story