Curious Clocks in New Zealand

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.

Gymnast alarm clock at Claphams Clock Museum

Gymnast alarm clock at Claphams Clock Museum

Archibald was an aspiring clock-maker turned clock … Read the rest

Join Accor Plus for cool room upgrades, discounted stays & up to 50% off meals

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 explain how Accor Plus works (Accor Plus is part of Le Club Accor Hotels loyalty programme). 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 … 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

TSS Earnslaw Lake Cruise in Queenstown

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.

TSS Earnslaw on Lake Wakatipu

TSS Earnslaw on Lake Wakatipu

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 … Read the rest

Cheap & Curious in Queenstown

10 cheap and curious things to see and do in Queenstown for under $50  ….

Curious Kai – Aggy’s Shack, corner Marine Parade & Church Street
Update: Farewell Aggy’s Shack – a Skyline Enterprises building is on the way (December 2015).

Curious or Chicken? Fear Factory, 54 Shotover Street
I’m definitely chicken – the brochure says Fear Factory is “Scarier than Wolf Creek”, that’s too scary for me to contemplate. The Wolf Creek claim is backed up by an initially skeptical reviewer so the Chicken List is definitely where I’d end up. If you’ve packed a spare pair of pants … Read the rest

A night in a Sanctuary Dorm at Base Backpackers, Queenstown

I’m curious about backpacker hostels catering specifically for women travellers so on a solo trip to Queenstown I booked a bed in a Sanctuary Dorm at Base Backpackers on Shotover Street. Base is a big, busy hostel and as to be expected in a backpacker party town like Queenstown, the hostel is well used, and it shows.

Sanctuary Dorm, Base Queenstown

Sanctuary Dorm, Base Queenstown

The girls only Sanctuary Dorms sleep 8, the bunk beds are made with decent linen and each bed has its own reading light. (Check in at 1pm to nab a bottom bunk). The pink walls and Hollywood style mirror … Read the rest

Supernatural St Bathans?

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 ….

Vulcan Hotel, St Bathans

Vulcan Hotel, St Bathans

Read the rest

O-phir Awesome

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.

Pitches Store

Pitches Store

Pitches Store

Pitches Store

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.

Ryan's Cottage

Ryan’s Cottage

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. … Read the rest

Bannockburn Sluicings

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).

Bannockburn Sluicings

Bannockburn Sluicings

Bannockburn Sluicings

Bannockburn Sluicings

Bannockburn Sluicings

Bannockburn Sluicings

Bannockburn Sluicings

Bannockburn Sluicings

Bannockburn Sluicings

Bannockburn Sluicings

Remains of a stone house and … Read the rest

There are rabbits in them thar hills

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!

A trio of rabbits at Bendigo

A trio of rabbits at Bendigo

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 … Read the rest