|We drove from the mountains down to the sea into the town of Oamaru- and were again reminded that one could easily go skiing and surfing in the same day. We didn't spend too much time in the actual town, but stayed in a fantastic backpackers about 4 km south of town. We found it purely by chance, as most of the other places we looked at were either booked up or too expensive. We were kind of tired of staying in a tent- as it was cold and rainy and decided that we could do with a roof over our heads. We have never stayed in such an amazing place- and to beat the band- we also had the whole place to ourselves! It was only 9 weeks old and beautifully created. We had a woodstove and were right on the ocean. The owner, Simon and one of his dogs Humphrey (a HUGE bear-like, but very gentle dog) came over and visited and it was great talking with him- he hails from England, but 11 years ago had decided that he'd had too much and moved to New Zealand. We loved the place so much that we decided to skip seeing the penguins just to have some peace and quiet indoors in such a cozy place. We took pictures and are hoping to visit there again.....