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. The Marlborough Wine Trail Map has … Read the rest

White Island, Whakatane

White Island / Whakaari is an active marine volcano, 48km north of Whakatane. Get there two ways – by helicopter as we did with Kahu NZ (formerly Frontier Helicopters) or by boat with White Island Tours.

White Island from above

White Island from above

White Island is a submerged stratovolcano, it is made up of layers of ash and lava flow and 70% of the cone sits under the sea. The volcanic vents under the water produce  hot air bubbles and some fishermen have said they’ve caught precooked fish!

We caught a helicopter as we decided it was a once in a life … Read 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.

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 angel range. Lay-by is an option for … Read the rest

Taupo Street Art

Graffiato: Taupo Street Art Festival returns over Labour weekend and 10 more walls will be turned into works of art. It’s the 8th year of the festival in 2018 and the current street art trail map (downloadable via the link above) helps you find 30 of the art works that have been created over the years.

New Zealand has some captivating street art and sometimes I think I’ve found a favourite art work or artist and then around the next corner – ‘wow, another favourite’. In Taupo it was more ‘bow wow’ as it was the realism of the dogs … Read the rest

Te Puia, Rotorua

Te Puia combines Maori culture, our national icon – the kiwi bird, and geothermal activity on the city’s doorstep, 3km from Rotorua centre.

Visit during the day to spot the two brown kiwi in the Kiwi House and see geothermal features including the naturally erupting Pohutu geyser. Watch Maori carvers and weavers at work, and walk onto Rotowhio marae with its carved wharenui (meeting houses) and pataka (storehouse). Cost – from $54 per adult (add on options available). (Discount for New Zealand residents and locals).

Pataka (elevated storehouse) at Te Puia in Rotorua

Pataka (elevated storehouse) at Te Puia in Rotorua

The evening experience adds more Maori … Read the rest

Lake Okareka Walkway, Rotorua

Lake Okareka Walkway is around 5.5 km return. The first 2km to Silver Beach is flat and easy going, the last .5km or so to the Okareka outlet requires some uphill climbing  including stairs.

The last .5km of the track is narrower, it’s not too difficult but it’s not accessible for pushchairs and wheelchairs. It took us about 2 hours return to do the walk but we dilly dallied watching birds with binoculars and taking photos.

Two pukekos in a paddock - Lake Okareka Walkway

Two pukekos in a paddock – Lake Okareka Walkway

Lake Okareka Walkway starts on Acacia Road where you will find a car park and … Read the rest

Govett-Brewster Art Gallery / Len Lye Centre, New Plymouth

The exterior of the Len Lye Centre in New Plymouth is eye catching and impressive. The 14 metre tall structure is made of concrete clad with stainless steel. The curved stainless steel reflects and plays with light making the outside of the centre an art piece in itself, and probably the most photographed building in Taranaki.

Exterior of Len Lye Centre/Govett Brewster Gallery

Exterior of Len Lye Centre/Govett Brewster Gallery

Who was Len Lye? 
Christchurch born Len Lye (1901-1980) was an artist who made films, wrote poetry and painted, he also became known for his kinetic sculptures. Len Lye spent most of his life overseas, his connection … Read the rest