I’ve always been curious about gum digging and wondered what the gum was used for. I could have gone to Google but there is no better place to learn about the industry than the Gumdiggers Park near Awanui.
The park is set on an original gum field and preserves the history of the gum digging era. You’ll see the tools and equipment used in gum digging as well as what a typical gumdiggers village would have looked like – sack huts with chimneys that caught fire.
Gumdiggers hut – note the gumboots
There are also big holes where the diggers … Read the rest
There are a few uniquely New Zealand experiences you can have for $5 or less – you can hire a spade and dig your own hot pool at Hot Water Beach, visit Weta Cave in Wellington (free), and see all the curious creations at The Lost Gypsy Gallery in Papatowhai, the Catlins (seasonal hours*).
The Lost Gypsy Gallery in Papatowhai
Blair Somerville is the resident ‘organic mechanic’ and creator of The Lost Gypsy Gallery (free entry), and The Winding Thoughts Theatre of Sorts ($5 entry – R13). If you like unusual attractions definitely pull over in Papatowhai, your time … Read the rest
I’m not sure there are many towns that have more than three tea pots per head of population, but Owaka in the Catlins area does. In summer, there are more than 1200 tea pots in the garden at Teapot Land on Main Road.
Vegetable tea pots at Teapot Land in Owaka
The owner of Teapot Land is actually a coffee drinker, I’m not sure whether the unusual collection started with a tea pot, a coffee pot, or a kettle, but Teapot Land it is.
Teapot Land in Owaka
Visitors are invited to put a koha (donation) in the kettle and … Read the rest
If ye happen to be travelling through Gore on a dreich day, a wee dram of Old Hokonui, and Hokonui Honey Moonshine is included in the $5 entrance fee to Hokonui Moonshine Museum.
Have a wee dram of Hokonui Moonshine
The Museum documents the first distiller in the area as Irish carpenter Owen McShane. In the 1830’s Owen made a potent spirit from cabbage tree sap known by a few names including the brilliant ‘McShane’s Chained Lightning’. Fond of more than a wee dram, Owen McShane may be the only person ever to build a jail, go out on a … Read the rest
The temperature can drop below zero during a Dunedin winter but one place you’re guaranteed to keep warm is in the Tropical Forest at Otago Museum. On the day I was there it was a balmy 35.8 degrees celsius with 64% humidity, I can confirm that’s not enough humidity to make your hair frizz.
Hibiscus can be found in Dunedin
Butterflies are the main attraction in the Tropical Forest and they arrive in New Zealand in chrysalis form from breeders in Costa Rica and the Philippines. At 11am every day as well as1.30pm weekends and school holidays you can see … Read the rest
This year’s Shapeshifter outdoor sculpture exhibition in Lower Hutt has over 50 sculptures made by 44 New Zealand artists. Works are on display from Friday 26 February – Sunday 20 March from 11am – 7pm daily. Entry is $10 adults. All sculptures are for sale. (Have a sneak peak on Facebook).
Shapeshifter is a biennial event and we attended in 2014, in part to see a sculpture made by wood sculptor and carver Kevin McCardell from Tauranga. Kevin’s work is described as life like, is it ever. Even though I knew I was going to see a … Read the rest
New Zealand’s first cat cafe – The Cat Lounge, opened in Glenfield, Auckland in early November. I went along last week for a look see and stepped into a smart black and white cafe with a big Thank You wall acknowledging all those who contributed to the establishment of the lounge via crowd funding platform Kickstarter.
The Cat Lounge cafe
Welcome to The Cat Lounge
Thank You wall in The Cat Lounge cafe
Two glass doors separate the cat lounge from the cafe, you can take food and drink in with the cats but I chose to have coffee and … Read the rest
It’s Talk Like A Pirate Day on 19 September and Miniature Golf Day on 21 September so if you want to bring out your inner pirate and mini golfer here are two courses to putt on, and two tips to get you a cheap round.
Treasure Island, Tom Pearce Drive, Auckland
Treasure Island is a pirate themed mini golf course walking distance from Auckland Airport. There are two 18 hole courses – choose cave or ship. We chose ship and watched a lone shark circling a stranded and scruffy pirate.
Shark infested waters Treasure Island Mini Golf in Auckland
Booms … Read the rest
Wellington has a few wacky and well known attractions like the Cuba Street bucket fountain, the lobster loos on the waterfront, and the political puppets at The Backbencher Gastropub on Molesworth Street. These attractions are mentioned in our A-Z Travel Guide to Wellington on $10 or less. We recently spent a couple of days in the capital looking for more wacky attractions that don’t necessarily fit a $10 budget …
Carlucci Land Mini Golf – metal sculptures meet good fun
Carlucci Land Mini Golf, 281 Happy Valley Road
Carlucci Land mini golf course is built into the hillside on Happy … Read the rest
One of the best reasons to visit Craters of the Moon is price – at $8pp it’s affordable, and the good folks at The Craters of the Moon Trust donate part of the income to charity. The 45 minute walk is also pushchair and wheelchair friendly with the exception of the 10 minute uphill detour to the lookout.
Close up of the snowy mountains in Tongariro National Park from Craters of the Moon lookout
Craters of the Moon is part of the Wairakei geothermal field. The steaming craters came to life in the 1950’s with the development of the … Read the rest