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

Herd of Morrinsville?

If not, Morrinsville is a small town in the Waikato that’s big on cows – farming them and turning them into street art to help tell the story of the town’s history and heritage.

Herd of Heathcotes painted by Helen Rowlands (39)

Herd of Heathcotes painted by Helen Rowlands (39)

The Herd of Cows? website has a street art trail map so you can find the 48 members of the colourful herd and read about the artists that painted them. Some of the art work on the cows is wonderfully whimsical, and one of the cows is a whopper – Mabel the 6.5 metre tall mega cow stands … Read the rest

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

Feasting at Hobbiton – Evening Banquet Tour

Let’s get into it – The Evening Banquet Tour includes a tour of Hobbiton Movie Set and costs $190 for an adult. Our tour started at 4.30pm from Shires Rest Cafe where we boarded a bus to Hobbiton. Our guide Belinda then took us on a guided tour through the magical Shire.

Hobbiton Movie Set Tour - I want to live here

Hobbiton Movie Set Tour – I want to live here

We arrived at The Green Dragon Inn around 6pm, chose our complimentary beverage, then waited for the big feast reveal at 6.30pm.

The Green Dragon Inn from afar (photo taken during the day)

The Green Dragon Inn from afar (photo taken during the day)

The curtains were parted to … Read the rest

Wendelton Guinea Pig Village, Nelson

Guinea pigs aren’t related to pigs and they don’t come from Guinea, they are the domesticated relations of the Brazilian guinea pig. The guinea pigs at Wendelton Guinea Pig Village couldn’t care less, it’s all about friendship and carrots for them.

Carrots please

Carrots please

And carrots are good for them because they’re hard, and guinea pigs teeth are continually growing. However carrot is like cake to guinea pigs, and another guinea pig fact – the little critters can get diabetes, so too much carrot is a no no. They like lots of friends though and are very sociable, so village … Read the rest

World of WearableArt & Classic Cars Museum, Nelson

As a fan of Wearable Art and classic cars, the World of WearableArt & Classic Cars Museum in Nelson provided plenty of bang for my $24 bucks. I counted 75 pieces of wearable art and around 150 classic cars, more on the classic cars in a later post.

Illumination Section at World of WearableArt & Classic Cars Museum, Nelson

Illumination Section at World of WearableArt & Classic Cars Museum, Nelson

If you go to a wearable art show it’s not always easy to appreciate the intricacies of the creations, so the Museum allows visitors to get up close and see the details. You can spend as long as you like looking … Read the rest

Fancy Meow Cat Cafe, Rotorua

Fancy Meow Cat Cafe is home to five fancy cat breeds including Ragdolls, a British Blue and a Bengal. On 13 May some little kittens moved in too. The fancy felines have two rooms full of cat gyms, hidey-holes, and furniture to climb.

Fancy Meow Cat Cafe, Rotorua

Fancy Meow Cat Cafe, Rotorua

Most of the cats at Fancy Meow are Ragdolls as they are an especially people friendly breed, they also have the most beautiful blue eyes.

Dennis the Ragdoll at Fancy Meow Cat Cafe

Dennis the Ragdoll at Fancy Meow Cat Cafe

It’s a rule at Fancy Meow, and a good one I think, to let sleeping cats lie so timing … Read the rest

The Kauri Museum, Matakohe

​The Kauri Museum in Matakohe has 4500 square metres of exhibits, including a full size, and furnished kauri boarding house.

Thousands of pieces of kauri gum are displayed, kauri gum was initially used by Maori to light fires, to chew, and as a pigment for tattooing. By the mid 1840’s the gum was being collected and exported to England and America to be used to make high quality varnish. (See the blog post Gumdiggers Park for more information about kauri gum).

Kauri gum was also carved and the museum has a few gum carvings including a bust of a Maori … Read the rest

Gumdiggers Park near Awanui

I’ve always been curious about gum digging and wondered what the gum was used for. I could have gone to Google but there is no better place to learn about the industry than the Gumdiggers Park near Awanui.

The park is set on an original gum field and preserves the history of the gum digging era. You’ll see the tools and equipment used in gum digging as well as what a typical gumdiggers village would have looked like – sack huts with chimneys that caught fire.

Gumdiggers hut - note the gumboots

Gumdiggers hut – note the gumboots

There are also big holes where the diggers … 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).

Fino Hotel & Suites, Christchurch

Fino Hotel & Suites, Christchurch

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 … Read the rest