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

Mills Reef Winery, Tauranga

Tauranga isn’t grape growing country so Mills Reef Winery is an unexpected find. The art deco Mills Reef Winery building gives a clue though as to where the grapes used to make the wines are grown – Hawkes Bay. Red wines are a specialty at Mills Reef and their Reserve Cabernet Merlot 2016 won a trophy award at the Royal Easter Show Wine Awards this year. There’s a tasting room onsite so before taking a seat for a meal you can taste some of the wines to help you decide what to order from the wine menu.

We like to … Read the rest

Oi YOU! Want to see some art work by Banksy?

If so, you’ve got until 15 June to get to Paradox Street Art Festival at Tauranga Art Gallery, it’s free. The Oi YOU! Collection is on display and includes 22 works by UK artist Banksy as well as works by FAILE, Paul Insect and Swoon.

Big walls of the gallery have also been taken over by street artists including New Zealanders Askew One, Jacob Yikes, and Charles & Janine Williams.

Paradox Street Art Festival - art work by Askew One (left) and Charles & Janine Williams (right)

Paradox Street Art Festival – art work by Askew One (left) and Charles & Janine Williams (right)

Banksy’s powerful ‘Flower Thrower‘  is part … Read the rest

Shapeshifter Sculpture Exhibition

This year’s Shapeshifter outdoor sculpture exhibition in Lower Hutt has over 50 sculptures made by 44 New Zealand artists. Works are on display from Friday 26 February – Sunday 20 March from 11am – 7pm daily. Entry is $10 adults. All sculptures are for sale. (Have a sneak peak on Facebook).

Shapeshifter is a biennial event and we attended in 2014, in part to see a sculpture made by wood sculptor and carver Kevin McCardell from Tauranga. Kevin’s work is described as life like, is it ever. Even though I knew I was going to see a park … Read the rest

OD leaves his mark in Mount Maunganui

Artist Owen Dippie (OD)* is packing up his spray cans and relocating to Auckland. He has left his mark on many walls in the Bay of Plenty, but especially down Ashworth Lane in Mount Maunganui, the location of his soon to close studio, shop and gallery.

The painting of The Notorious B.I.G. glowers down and I swear I can almost hear him asking ‘What you want?’. Although given I initially thought he was just some staunch guy, and not a famous rapper shot down in his prime, he may have said something else entirely, or rapped even.

The Notorious B.I.G. in Ashworth Lane

The Notorious

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Ohope Beach TOP 10 Holiday Park

Plenty of signs point to ‘Ohope: NZ’s Most Loved Beach’. We spent a week on a powered site at Ohope Beach TOP 10 Holiday Park, a short walk over the dunes to Ohope Beach. While Ohope didn’t take the title of our most loved beach from Waikanae Beach in Gisborne, we did find one of the most family friendly holiday parks we’ve ever stayed in.

Ohope: NZ's Most Loved Beach

Ohope: NZ’s Most Loved Beach

Father Christmas and his helper arrived at 11am on Christmas Day with a sack full of presents for all the children under 8. One lovely little girl sang Father … Read the rest

Climbing & Camping in Mount Maunganui

When we read that around 900,000 people walk or run around the base of Mauao (the dormant volcanic cone) in Mount Maunganui every year, I have to admit we were sceptical. It just seemed unlikely, but a few days camping at the base of Mauao at Mount Maunganui Beachside Holiday Park showed us just how popular the walk around (and up) the mountain is.

View of Mauao from the Mount Maunganui Beachside Holiday Park

View of Mauao from the Mount Maunganui Beachside Holiday Park

We chose a camp site closest to the beach, just in front of the caravan was a path to one of the walking tracks, the people … Read the rest

Camping & Kaimoana in Maketu

Camping – Maketu Beach Holiday Park, 2 Town Point Road
Two tickets for Maketu Kaimoana Festival and a booking at the Maketu Beach Holiday Park and we were set for the night. We chose the holiday park closest to the festival and what a choice it was – if our caravan Rosie was any closer to the water she’d be floating (granted the few rocks below would have turned her into a leaky boat first).

Our caravan Rosie beachfront at Maketu Holiday Park

Our caravan Rosie beachfront at Maketu Holiday Park

It’s not just campers who get the superb location, there’s some cute little log cabins beachfront too. … Read the rest

Take a walk with words

Take a walk with words to celebrate National Poetry Day …..

Haiku Pathway, Katikati
Sandwiched between Robert Harris Cafe and Hammer Hardware in Katikati you’ll find the main entrance to the Haiku Pathway.The haiku are engraved on boulders along the path that follows Uretara Stream ….

Haiku by Barry Morrall

Haiku by Barry Morrall

Haiku by Patricia Prime

Haiku by Patricia Prime

Haiku by Jeanette Stace

Haiku by Jeanette Stace

Haiku by Margaret Beverland

Haiku by Margaret Beverland

Words on Walls in Napier
Many of Napier’s streets are named after poets, it seems a natural progression to write Words on Walls….

Words from the novel 'Owls Do Cry' by Janet Frame (1924-2004)

Words from the novel ‘Owls Do Cry’ by Janet Frame (1924-2004)

Janet Frame’s … Read the rest