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.
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!
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