Omarama is Maori for "place of light", a reference to its extraordinarily pure and clear sky. Located at the South Island's widest point, Omarama was originally an overnight stop for the famous Cobb & Co coaches. Prior to the early 1960's there was no electricity, and the roads were all gravel.

In 1857 two friends, Fraser and McMurdo, pastoral farmers from Nelson arrived in the area with their stock. They were so overtaken by the sweet grazing that a bitter argument broke out between them over who would own the land. This was resolved by a horse race to a nearby matagouri bush. McMurdo won and established Benmore Station, originally 316,000 acres. As part of the Waitaki/Mackenzie hydro-electricity project, work began on dams and power stations in 1958.


Gift Stores
ATM Machine
Petrol Stations
Fishing Supplies

Golf Course 

Pub / Bars
Tennis Court

      Visit the 'Discover Omarama' Website


Today Omarama is host to a wide range of shops and services. From an eclectic antique shop / movie memorbilia museum to the country's highest producing vineyard, Omarama continues to surprise. The area is also famous for the fantastic gliding conditions in the nearby mountains. World and national gliding records are regularly broken here, as pilots take advantage of the clear, empty skies and accommodating updrafts.

Make the most of Omarama and allow yourself time for the peaceful and tranquil nature of the surroundings to sink in. Omarama stands at the gateway to three very different areas - the Mackenzie Basin, Lindis Pass and Waitaki Valley, making it the ideal base from which to explore the region.