Cheap Auckland Activities – Treasure Island & Around The World Mini Golf

It’s Talk Like A Pirate Day on 19 September and Miniature Golf Day on 21 September so if you want to bring out your inner pirate and mini golfer here are two courses to putt on, and two tips to get you a cheap round.

Treasure Island, Tom Pearce Drive, Auckland 
Treasure Island is a pirate themed mini golf course walking distance from Auckland Airport. There are two 18 hole courses – choose cave or ship. We chose ship and watched a lone shark circling a stranded and scruffy pirate.

Booms from the ship’s cannon surprised us more than once, … Read the rest

Wacky Wellington

Wellington has a few wacky and well known attractions like the Cuba Street bucket fountain, the lobster loos on the waterfront, and the political puppets at The Backbencher Gastropub on Molesworth Street. These attractions are mentioned in our A-Z Travel Guide to Wellington on $10 or less. We recently spent a couple of days in the capital looking for more wacky attractions that don’t necessarily fit a $10 budget …

Carlucci Land Mini Golf, 281 Happy Valley Road
Carlucci Land mini golf course is built into the hillside on Happy Valley Road. Rock staircases led us around the wackiest mini … Read the rest

Craters of the Moon Geothermal Walk, Taupo

One of the best reasons to visit Craters of the Moon is price – at $8pp it’s affordable, and the good folks at The Craters of the Moon Trust donate part of the income to good works in the Taupo community including scholarships to students. The 45 minute walk is also pushchair and wheelchair friendly with the exception of the 10 minute uphill detour to the lookout.

Craters of the Moon is part of the Wairakei geothermal field. The steaming craters came to life in the 1950’s with the development of the Wairakei Geothermal Power Station. The opening of the … Read the rest

Dunedin Chinese Garden

The Dunedin Chinese Garden was built to acknowledge the contribution that Chinese people have made to Dunedin and Otago, many arrived during the Otago Gold Rush in the 1860’s. “Lan Yuan” is the Chinese name for the garden and it was designed and built as a Scholar’s Garden. Opened in 2008, the garden is unusual in that it is an authentic Chinese Garden, one of only a few outside China.

What’s an authentic Chinese Garden? It’s built by Chinese builders and artisans using traditional methods, and all above ground materials come from China. In keeping with that, all of the … Read the rest

Giant flowers & glass forests at Lava Glass

It was difficult to pick a favourite piece in the Lava Glass sculpture garden in Taupo. I really liked the glass waterfall made with a series of shell platters that trickled water gently down a rock slope to the pond below.

And who wouldn’t want a bouquet of these giant glass flowers in their garden?

Even more unusual are the glass forests in giant paper weights. Some of the trees looked to me like petrified silver beet leaves, and the flowers looked like candy. They’re not ofcourse, leaves and lollies would be decimated with the kind of heat involved in … Read the rest

Steampunk HQ in Oamaru

Steampunk HQ is a collision between a wreckers yard, a horror movie and fertile imaginations. I received a very enthusiastic introduction, what I would see was going to ‘blow my mind’, it sort of did, but I’m still wondering if it was in a good way. All the adjectives like unusual, bizarre and weird apply. The works are described as industrial steampunk, anything goes, it’s all about creative imagination. This is what happens when some people let their creative imagination run riot ………

It felt good to step forward in time and step outside ….

I felt like a cup … Read the rest

Horsing around in Cambridge

Seeing wild Kaimanawa horses on their own turf will be at the top of my bucket list when I make one (Ticked off – Kaimanawa Wild Horses). My dream came a step closer recently when I met 16 year old Jose. Jose was a wild Kaimanawa stallion at 4 years old, now he’s as quiet as they come – put up an umbrella near him, stand on his back, drag something behind him, he’s not bothered.

Jose was part of the Horse Magic Show at Cambridge Thoroughbred Lodge. Riden by ringmaster for the show, and horse trainer Lee Somervell, … Read the rest

Ring the Westminster Chimes at The Faraday Centre in Napier

The Faraday Centre is a historical technology museum, it’s a hands on sort of place so you get to push, pull and make stuff go, not just look at it. You’ll find all sorts of weird and intriguing things like a Uranus electric mouse trap, a dishwasher from 1925, a 1907 Rover car, and old and unusual typewriters.

You can use the pneumatic conveyor system that once transferred money in cannisters through a series of pipes around Westerman’s Department Store in Hastings. Curiously, C1 Espresso in Christchurch are using a similar system to transfer sliders from the kitchen to food … Read the rest

Cheap and chirpy – The Parrot Place, Kerikeri

As soon as I walked through the door at The Parrot Place a friendly chap asked me if I’d like to hold a bird, before I had a chance to reply two hopped on my arm. Mike joked that if anyone should be attracting the birds it should be him, he got his birds a little later.

I loved The Parrot Place – many of the birds are sociable and the aviaries are large and well kept. For only $10 admission per adult and $5 for under 14’s, kids big and small are sure to be enchanted.¬†Opening hours.… Read the rest

A new breed of boy racer?

Remove the blades, add some more horse power, make it loud and low, give it a name like MowJo, and you’re on your way to having a race ready ride-on mower.

When I saw lawn mower racing on the programme at the Rotorua A & P show last year, I thought it was a one off event unique to Rotorua. Not so, the first ride-on mower races were held in 2003 at the Omokoroa School gala, ride-on mowers meet regularly at the Sanson rugby park, and race at the Manawatu Garden Festival every year. The Rotorua A & P show … Read the rest