Steampunk HQ signage

One of the most unique attractions to visit in New Zealand can be found in Oamaru, a small east coast town in the South Island with a population of around 14,000.

It’s not a place you might ordinarily expect to find an attraction showcasing a very specific form of sub-culture, but then again, New Zealand is often a place that can surprise you in this sort of way.

And the Steampunk HQ is a place that is full of surprises at every turn but before we get into that, we should explain what Steampunk actually is for those who may not know!

What is Steampunk?

Anyone who has seen Will Smith’s Wild Wild West will have already experienced a form of Steampunk without perhaps knowing that a whole genre of other works exists in this style.

At its core, Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction inspired by technology and 19th century Victorian industrial steam-powered machinery. Other references in literature include Gibson & Sterling’s ‘The Difference Engine’, Nevin’s ‘The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’ and Reeve’s ‘Mortal Engines’ which is about to hit the screens in Peter Jackson’s production of the film with the same name which is sure to boost it further into the mainstream.

For time being, however, there is much to discover, and Steampunk HQ is the best place to make those discoveries.

The story behind Steampunk HQ

Dress up at Steampunk HQ

Steampunk HQ was founded in 2011 by a group of creative individuals, passionate about sharing the world of Steampunk with the community around them.

They managed to acquire a magnificent stone building (a former grain elevator building) built in 1883 located at the entrance to Oamaru’s Victorian precinct. It was pretty much the perfect location for a museum dedicated to a genre that lends so heavily from the Victorian Era.

Steampunk HQ entrance

It’s a museum you won’t miss on arrival thanks to the now iconic Steampunk engine that has its home outside the building and has its own lights, makes noises and emits fire from its chimney (so be careful!).

Inside the museum, you’re in for an interactive experience of exploring featuring a collection of Steampunk art, movies, sculpture and sounds. Some of the exhibits large machines that have been “Steampunked” in a great show of creativity and fun!

Steampunk HQ are constantly creating and exhibiting their own works and others in its workshop and throughout the museum. They also have a dress-up booth, giving you the chance to take some epic selfies against their awesome backdrops. They also have a ‘gadgetorium’ and ‘pedal punk bikes’ as crowd favourites for visitors.

Without spoiling any more of the surprises, it’s a heck of a lot of fun for young and old and is such a unique experience to have not just in NZ, but anywhere in the world.

Plan a visit to Steampunk HQ

Oamaru, where Steampunk HQ is based, is about a 3 ½ hour drive from either Christchurch or Queenstown. It’s a great place to spend a day or two, exploring the Otago Peninsula, the cycle trails, it’s lovely gardens and of course Steampunk HQ itself! Plan yourself a trip today!

GO Play discount: 10%

GO Play cardholders enjoy a 10% discount at Steampunk HQ using your GO Play card.