Maybe I have too much time on my hands, but after seeing the neat historical clock in the Old Bank Arcade in Wellington I thought I’d look for other curious clocks around the country. There’s no better place to start than a clock museum …..
Claphams Clock Museum, Town Basin, Whangarei
Claphams Clock Museum in Whangarei has over 1600 clocks and timepieces. The collection was started in 1961 when the Whangarei City Council paid a token sum for 400 clocks belonging to local man Archibald Clapham.
Archibald was an aspiring clock-maker turned clock collector and he welcomed people into his … Read the rest
Cool upgrades first because I’m sure that’s what readers want to see, then the business end where I list hotel brands part of Accor and link to membership details. The information is based on our experience as Accor Plus members for nearly two years, it’s not written in association with the hotel chain.
Cool upgrade Number 1* – Sofitel Queenstown Hotel and Spa
We booked a superior room for two nights at Sofitel Queenstown but were upgraded to a luxury room. The upgrade included complimentary evening drinks and tapas from 5pm-7pm in the Executive Lounge, and complimentary buffet breakfast. … Read the rest
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.
Thomas was a successful entrepreneur and he sold Como Villa in 1874 and moved to Dunedin to run a hotel. The property was bought and … Read the rest
We were travelling in the slow lane on this trip to Queenstown so a cruise on the TSS Earnslaw out to Walter Peak Station for a farm tour and afternoon tea sounded like the perfect afternoon out, and it was.
The grand old Lady of the Lake is a coal powered steamer and made her maiden voyage in 1912, the same year as the Titanic. In the early days she delivered sheep, people and supplies to isolated farms along Lake Wakatipu. Road improvements meant less demand for steamships, but tourism saved the Earnslaw from the scrap heap.
It’s hot work … Read the rest
Legend has it the Vulcan Hotel in St Bathans is haunted, some say by a ‘lady of the night’. A Paranormal Investigator checked in back in 2011, he checked out with no definitive paranormal proof but was spooked enough to turn on the light to investigate strange happenings before his stay was over.
In 2010 there was a supernatural image in the post office window – or was it a cloud? Who knows, but there may be somethin’ strange in the neighbourhood.
The Vulcan Hotel in St Bathans – raise a glass with the ghosts ….
The man-made Blue Lake… Read the rest
In Ophir some of the locals wear “O-phir awesome” t-shirts, we like Ophir too. There are a surprising number of buildings that remain from the gold mining days.The smart Pitches Store is a top coffee spot and guests rate the attached accommodation highly.
Ophir is a short detour from the Otago Rail Trail, other cute cottage accommodation options are Ryan’s Cottage and Cottages on Swindon B&B.
The Ophir Post Office was built in 1886 and still operates from 9am-12 noon Monday – Friday, unfortunately we visited out of hours so couldn’t see inside. Another unique place to post a … Read the rest
If you like unusual landscapes the Bannockburn Sluicings near Cromwell are a rugged collection of cliffs, pinnacles, caves and gullies created by gold sluicing. At Stewart Town you’ll see the remains of a stone house, and an old orchard planted in the early 1900’s that still produces fruit.
Take water and wear sturdy shoes, rabbits will keep you company as you walk the tracks through the ‘badlands’. (Allow two hours, walk information is included in the Walk Cromwell brochure along with Bendigo).
Remains of a stone house and orchard at Stewart Town ………… Read the rest
I gave up counting rabbits around Bendigo once I hit 50 – they were everywhere. I wasn’t surprised when I read that a pair of rabbits can potentially breed to 12 million in three years!
Rabbits were released in the South Island in the 1850’s, by the late 1800’s they had stripped the land in some parts of Central Otago to such an extent that farms were abandoned. Methods to control the population included harvesting for meat and skins, a rabbit canning factory was opened in Cromwell in 1915, receiving 10,000 carcasses a day was common.
There was a change … Read the rest
A town submerged by any means other than natural causes seems a remote possibility to us, but it was a reality in the old gold mining town of Cromwell. Cromwell’s original town centre was established in 1862, it was demolished in the late1980’s, and flooded in the early 1990’s to make way for Clyde Dam ….
In the mid 1980’s a group of concerned locals foresaw the loss of their town’s heritage and formed “Save Old Cromwell”. It led to historic buildings in the town centre being dismantled and rebuilt on higher and drier ground that is now Cromwell Heritage … Read the rest
I fell for ‘Blondie’ at Wooing Tree Vineyard, I liked her “delightful aromas of peaches and cream”. Next I fell for a love story ….. a couple met over a glass of Wooing Tree, a few years later they said their vows at the vineyard. The couple continue a long tradition of Wooing Tree romance.
The vineyard takes its name from a large pine tree, affectionately known by locals as the Wooing Tree. The tree could have succumbed to a chainsaw when the vineyard was being developed – the new owners were unaware it was Cromwell’s lovers lane. Locals campaigned … Read the rest