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.

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

Along with the train sets is a life long collection of matchbox cars and a shiny selection of diecast Holdens and Jaguars.

There are also collections … 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.

While the library is still home to over 175,000 books there’s a lot of electronic technology here too including a digital touch screen wall on the ground floor. The wall can take you on … Read the rest

Christchurch Street Art

There are 41 photos of Christchurch street art below, the first 9 photos were taken in the seaside suburb of New Brighton, the rest of the photos were taken in the central city. A good website to visit if you’re looking for Christchurch street art is Watch This Space, there are over 100 pieces of street art featured along with a map to help you find them.

The street art festival Street Prints Otautahi (20 December – 31 December) will see new murals painted in New Brighton, Lyttelton and the central city. … Read the rest

Curious Christchurch – November 2016

Pet friendly Fino Hotel & Suites, 87 Kilmore Street
The newly refurbished Fino Hotel & Suites has two dedicated pet friendly suites for house trained pets under 50kg. They supply a bed, water bowl, and for those taking man’s best friend, a map of local dog parks. See Pet Friendly Suites for more information. (PS. Scenic Hotel Te Pania in Napier is dog friendly too).

Play Pong at the intersection of Lichfield & Colombo Streets (outside the Bus Exchange)
Local company SmartCross are responsible for the devices with touchscreens that are attached to the traffic light poles on Lichfield & … Read the rest

Curious Christchurch – October 2015

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.

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

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 its challenges – the discovery of asbestos and borer made some parts … Read the rest

Home Sweet House Truck at Wacky Stays

Wacky is the right word to describe the collection of unusual accommodation and the farm park that make up Wacky Stays in Kaikoura. We spent the night in the 1951 Bedford house truck, there’s also a yurt, colonial wagon, teepee and farm cottage. I’ve always wanted to stay in a house truck (and truth be told drive off into the sunset in one) so it was a bucket list ticking night for me.

The house truck was built in Nelson by a couple who eventually lived in it full time before it was bought by the owners of Wacky Stays … Read the rest

Super speedy dinner delivery at C1 Espresso in Christchurch

Mike was travelling solo in Christchurch and thecuriouskiwi mission he chose to accept was to have dinner delivered via pneumatic tube at C1 Espresso. Initially delivery speed was up to 140km/h, surely the fastest dinner delivery in town, maybe even the world? Delivery speed has since been reduced to prevent food carnage.

We first saw (and sent a cannister flying) around a pneumatic conveyor system at The Faraday Centre in Napier. The systems were once used in New Zealand department stores to transfer cash between divisions.

Eventually the pneumatic tube system at C1 will deliver food cannisters from the … Read the rest

Curious Christchurch – December 2013

New Regent Street – Shop Eight & Rekindle
New Regent Street in the central city re-opened in April 2013 after many of the Spanish Mission Revival style buildings were refurbished. I had a flat white at Shop Eight and admired their striking furniture made from waste wood by Rekindle.

Everyone likes a win win situation but with Rekindle it’s more like a winning trifecta. Rekindle not only rescue waste wood (much of it native) that was previously destined for landfill, they’re also giving new life to parts of homes once treasured by their owners, homes that were once completely lost … Read the rest

Seals, Crayfish & Albatross – South Island Wildlife

There are quite a few accessible wildlife colonies in the South Island, some are free, although DOC always appreciates donations to help with upkeep of tracks and facilities.

Fur seals – Tauranga Bay & Cape Foulwind, Westport
A short walk from the car park at Tauranga Bay takes you to a viewing platform to see fur seals. As the name foulwind implies, you may well smell the seals before you see them. A zoom lens helped us get the best photos. For a longer walk, take the Cape Foulwind Walkway. (Seal viewing free)

Fur seals & crayfish – Point Read the rest