Tropical Forest at Otago Museum

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

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

Bill Richardson Transport World in Invercargill

Walking through Bill Richardson Transport World in Invercargill I overheard someone say to his mate “You could spend a month in here”, “Yeah, I could”, the mate replied. He obviously really likes trucks, I don’t particularly but I’d been at Transport World for two hours and there was still plenty to see.

1937 Ford - 79, an exact replica of the first Ford owned by the Richardson family

1937 Ford – 79, an exact replica of the first Ford owned by the Richardson family

Bill Richardson was a Southland businessman with a passion for trucks, he bought his first from his grandfather in 1967 – a 1933 International D1. In 1976 his collection of trucks and … Read the rest

13 Unusual Toilets in the South Island

Toilet tourism made headlines this week with the release of Lonely Planet’s ‘Toilets – A Spotter’s Guide’. A few New Zealand toilets made it into the book including four in our 13 Unusual Toilets in the North Island. Today we’re lifting the lid on some of the South Island’s more unusual loos, starting in Southland.

Invercargill
I didn’t expect to find unusually lovely ladies rooms in a truck museum, but that’s what I found at Bill Richardson Transport World in Invercargill.

Women's toilets at Bill Richardson Transport World

Women’s toilets at Bill Richardson Transport World

Petrolheads will appreciate the men’s room – part of a fuel … Read the rest

13 Unusual Toilets in the North Island

Toilets can be tourist attractions in New Zealand. Every year thousands of vehicles detour to the small Northland town of Kawakawa to see the unusual public toilets designed by Austrian artist Friedensreich Regentag Dunkelbunt Hundertwasser  (1928-2000).  Built mostly with recycled materials, the toilets incorporate bricks, bottles, tiles and colourful pottery.

Interior of Kawakawa Public Toilets

Interior of Kawakawa Public Toilets

The toilets are built around a living tree and have a roof top garden, reflecting Hundertwasser’s environmentally considerate approach to architecture.

Hundertwasser designed public toilets in Kawakawa

Hundertwasser designed public toilets in Kawakawa

Hundertwasser didn’t like straight lines or flat floors, I suspect the residents in the Waldspirale apartment complex he … Read the rest

Como Villa Estate Vineyard

Como Villa Estate on the outskirts of Alexandra is the most interesting place we’ve ever done a wine tasting. The cellar door and museum are in a stone house that was built in the mid 1860’s by Thomas Oliver.

Thomas was one of the first to plant grape vines in the area, but his primary business was building and operating water races for gold miners, some of the races are still used today for irrigation.

Como Village Estate - cellar door and museum

Como Village Estate – cellar door and museum

Thomas was a successful entrepreneur and he sold Como Villa in 1874 and moved to Dunedin to … Read the rest

Kaimanawa Wild Horses

I opened the envelope of one of the best birthday presents ever last year – I was going on a bus trip to see Kaimanawa wild horses roaming on NZ Army land in Waiouru. Whoop Whoop – the sound of a dream coming true. The Ranges Trips are organised by Kaimanawa Heritage Horses, I was going in November, so there were two months to wait, and like any trip, the anticipation added to the excitement. I spent time wondering  …

How far would we travel to see our first horse? Not far at all. How many wild horses would we Read the rest

Art Deco Napier

It’s all about Art Deco in Napier, the architectural style that typifies many of the buildings that rose from the devastation of the Hawkes Bay earthquake. The earthquake shook Napier’s business district from its foundations on the morning of 3 February 1931. More than 250 people died in the Hawkes Bay region and buildings that didn’t collapse in Napier’s city centre initially were then mostly destroyed by fire and subsequent aftershocks.

One of the photos on a wall in the city - looking down Upper Emerson Street after the earthquake

One of the photos on a wall in the city – looking down Upper Emerson Street after the earthquake

But like the Art Deco image of the rising … Read the rest

The Cat Lounge in Glenfield, Auckland

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. I stepped into a smart black and white cafe with a big Thank You wall acknowledging all those who contributed to The Cat Lounge via crowd funding platform Kickstarter.

The Cat Lounge cafe

The Cat Lounge cafe

Welcome to The Cat Lounge

Welcome to The Cat Lounge

Thank You wall at The Cat Lounge cafe

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 cake in … Read the rest

What’s New & Curious in Christchurch?

It feels like the Christchurch inner city rebuild is starting to take shape. The Re:START container shopping centre now feels like the temporary shopping solution it was always meant to be and construction is going on all around its edges. The new bus interchange is fully operational and its facilities for cyclists (more below) help lay the foundations for a very bike friendly city, the city’s flat terrain is a bonus as well.

Isaac Theatre Royal

Isaac Theatre Royal

The restored Isaac Theatre Royal has been open nearly a year and takes pride of place on Gloucester Street, the calendar is stacked with … Read the rest

Whole House Reuse – Exhibition & Charitable Auction

Christchurch based Rekindle is a social enterprise that has rescued wood from earthquake damaged houses and turned it into furniture, childrens toys and artworks.

Glassware and jewellery made by Frances Woodhead on display at Canterbury Museum

Glassware and jewellery made by Frances Woodhead on display at Canterbury Museum

In 2013 Rekindle took on the ambitious project of reusing a whole red zoned house. Number 19 Admirals Way, New Brighton was a 1920’s California bungalow that was home to six families between 1925-2011. With the blessing of the last home owners the bungalow was deconstructed by hand, the materials were catalogued and photographed and filled six garages. Unsurprisingly the project wasn’t without … Read the rest