Blog posts to book …. It’s In The Post! Awesome Letterboxes From Around New Zealand

It’s In The Post! Awesome Letterboxes From Around New Zealand is a photographic collection of 140 awesome letterboxes. It’s a fun Kiwi collection and was inspired by the series of letterbox blog posts I’ve done over the years.

"Im ready, I'm ready' ... to collect the mail (From the 'Screen to Street Side' collection in the book)

“Im ready, I’m ready’ … to collect the mail (From the ‘Screen to Street Side’ collection in the book)

The book is a 160 page hardback and was published by Bateman Books in Auckland. Twenty of the photos in the blog posts didn’t make it into the book, but there are 61 new photos in the print version, along with a 4 … Read the rest

Little Libraries

Little libraries in New Zealand can be as small as a few metres squared or as little as the pile of books to be read beside the bed.

One of the sweetest small libraries I’ve seen is Puhoi Town Library, north of Auckland. The building was originally an office for the Roads Board but became a library in 1923. However in April 1924 a flood washed away most of the books and the library wasn’t re-established for over 50 years.

The library has a unique claim to fame in that it featured in Stephen King’s 1992 movie ‘Tommyknockers’ as the … Read the rest

ibis Sydney King Street Wharf

Another post from the shed, this one’s awaiting the elusive transtasman bubble …..

“We can use Accor points to book an ibis in Sydney for the one night we need” says Mike. “Book it Danno” I said and didn’t think about it again until we stepped through the door. The ibis hotels we’ve stayed in have been more functional than funky but stepping inside ibis Sydney King Street Wharf showed me that ibis hotels can be cool too.

Lot 51 bar/cafe seating area at ibis Sydney King Street Wharf

Lot 51 bar/cafe seating area at ibis Sydney King Street Wharf

The coolest part of the hotel is the Lot 51 bar/cafe … Read the rest

Southward Car Museum, Paraparaumu

It’s been a long while between blog posts but this one’s been sitting in the shed …….

Southward Car Museum has over 500 vehicles, many of them classic and vintage cars. Founded by the late Sir Len Southward and his wife Lady Vera, the museum opened to the public in 1979. We had a speedy look around the museum on our way down State Highway 1, here are some of the unusual vehicles in the collection ……..

Philip Lewis bought a new 1920 Dodge and decided to hand beat a replacement body out of copper. Who knows why, but the … Read the rest

The Toy Collector, Christchurch

I’ve seen a few collections of toys in New Zealand but The Toy Collector in Christchurch is the first to have me tapping at my keyboard. I wasn’t a model railway fan before visiting, but the train sets are fantastic, one is a LEGO city including houses, shops, a soccer pitch, and an airport.

LEGO train set at The Toy Collector in Christchurch

LEGO train set at The Toy Collector in Christchurch

LEGO train set at The Toy Collector in Christchurch

LEGO train set at The Toy Collector in Christchurch

The other model train set has a lot of detail too, I spent ages looking at all the individual pieces.

Model train set at The Toy Collector

Model train set at The Toy Collector

Along … Read the rest

Turanga – Christchurch Central Library

Walking out of Christchurch Airport into a hail shower led me to follow my own rainy day travel tip and head for a library. It was October 12 and opening day at Turanga – Christchurch’s new central library on Cathedral Square.

Turanga is described as ‘a unique bicultural interpretation of a ‘storehouse of knowledge’, and Maori design and art works feature throughout the five storey building.

Depiction of Tawhaki on the stairs at Turanga - Christchurch Central Library

Depiction of Tawhaki on the stairs at Turanga – Christchurch Central Library

While the library is still home to over 175,000 books there’s a lot of electronic technology here too including a digital touch … Read the rest

Bubbly Grape Wine Tours, Blenheim

I like a good name and tagline so ‘Bubbly Grape Wine Tours – we’ll drive you to drink’ had me at the start. Drive us to drink they did – our Gourmet Wine Lunch Tour took us to 6 cellar doors for tastings and lunch at Brancott Estate.

Bubbly Grape Wine Tour

Bubbly Grape Wine Tour

When you sign up for a Bubbly Grape Tour they ask if there are any wineries you’d like to visit, there may also be some flexibility on the day, so the summary below just gives an idea of where you could go. Visit Wine Marlborough to see all … Read the rest

White Island, Whakatane

On 9 December 2019 White Island / Whakaari erupted and tragically took the lives of 21 people and seriously injured many others. (Consequently there are currently no tours to White Island).

This post was written a year before the eruption and is now dedicated to the helicopter pilots who made their own decisions to fly to Whakaari to look for survivors. The actions of the pilots saved lives while putting their own at risk. 

White Island / Whakaari is an active marine volcano, 48km north of Whakatane. Get there two ways – by helicopter as we did with Kahu NZRead the rest

Scope, Rotorua

Scope – Wild About Flavour, add the hunting magazines on the rack and you have a few clues that wild food is a theme here. The menu includes a  Mai Mai Duck Open Sandwich ($23) and a Venison Burger ($23). Venison and blue cheese pasta is sometimes on the specials menu, and a venison sausage is part of the Hungry Hunter Big Breaky ($23.90).

Venison burger and curly fries at Scope

Venison burger and curly fries at Scope

A large deer antler chandelier hangs over the counter and stag heads feature on the unusual wallpaper. There are also handy stag head coat hooks on the back of … Read the rest

The Christmas Village, New Plymouth

If you’re someone who loves Christmas whatever the time of year, or you like to go all out with your decorations and are looking for new ones to add to your collection, then you’ll like The Christmas Village in New Plymouth. It’s open Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 10am-4pm for most of the year and longer hours over the festive season.

Father Christmas resting up for the big day at The Christmas Village in New Plymouth

Father Christmas resting up for the big day at The Christmas Village in New Plymouth

The village is brimming with beautiful decorations, I especially liked the lanterns and lamp posts but decided my budget fell more in the Christmas … Read the rest