The Waterworks – Waiau, New Zealand - Atlas Obscura

Waiau, New Zealand

The Waterworks

Water-powered gadgets whirr to life in this quirky eco park. 

This whimsical roadside attraction is saturated with unusual hydraulic gadgets. Poke around, and you’ll uncover a world of water-powered gizmos whirring to life.

The Waterworks is a delightfully quirky theme park, located on a New Zealand peninsula famous for its watery wonders. Its grounds are packed with strange contraptions, most of which are hydraulically powered and made from recycled materials. It’s an eco-friendly attraction determined to blend in with its surroundings rather than stand out.

Exploring the park reveals more than 70 strange discoveries like a human-sized hamster wheel, a water wheel that looks like it’s being churned by a metal man, and a music box made of strange instruments like knives and an oil drum. A highlight is the enormous wooden clock, which is powered by water drawn from a pool dug by an old electrical power company. Amusing statues and games are scattered among the various contraptions. 

The site has been a place for fun-loving families even before the theme park cropped up in 2005. It was once a farm complete with a quaint swimming hole, swing, and playground.

Know Before You Go

This is off the beaten path, so asking for directions from a local would probably be best! There's also a path on the road that leads to huge kauri trees that are worth seeing.