Little Libraries

Little libraries in New Zealand can be as small as a few metres squared or as little as the pile of books to be read beside the bed.

One of the sweetest small libraries I’ve seen is Puhoi Town Library, north of Auckland. The building was originally an office for the Roads Board but became a library in 1923. However in April 1924 a flood washed away most of the books and the library wasn’t re-established for over 50 years.

The library has a unique claim to fame in that it featured in Stephen King’s 1992 movie ‘Tommyknockers’ as the … 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.

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 outside Maber Motors at 86 Thames Street.

You’ll … 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.

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

The curtains were parted to show a table laden with food – beef and ale stew with dumplings, salmon, duck, a whole chicken, a pan of … Read the rest

High Tea at Zealong Tea Estate

If the sun’s shining at Zealong Tea Estate near Hamilton it’s nice to sit outside under an umbrella overlooking rows of lush tea plants. Zealong is New Zealand’s only tea plantation and the five flavours of tea produced are certified organic.

Tea is the star of the show at Zealong, but lunch and high tea are also served. A Signature High Tea and a Classic High Tea were on the menu for us. Tea is infused in a lot of the small dishes that make up the high tea, including the aromatic mousse in a chocolate cup, and the black … Read the rest

House truck stay in Waitomo

I’m a fan of house trucks and after a night at Wacky Stays in Kaikoura I came home and Googled house truck stays in the North Island and found Waitomo Farmstay and Gardens. In late March we booked a night in their big house truck with its rusting Thames Trader cab and higgeldy-piggeldy designed living space on the back.

The interior of the house truck is full of honey coloured wood and there’s a good sized kitchen and a couple of couches to sit on. As the truck is now in its final resting place a bedroom extension and little … Read the rest

Classics Museum in Hamilton

Plenty of Kiwi blokes have sheds, but not many sheds house a multi million dollar collection of classic cars and automobilia. Hamilton businessman Tom Andrews has turned his shed into the Classics Museum at 11 Railside Place.

We counted more than 60 cars plus motor bikes, petrol station memorabilia, and a treasure trove of bonnet emblems, badges, tricycles and pedal cars. The vehicles on display come from the owner’s private collection as well as car clubs.

I’ve picked a selection of some of the more unusual vehicles in the museum like the 1964 Model 770 Amphicar – a car and … 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

The Green Dragon Inn – Hobbiton Movie Set Tour

“Oh, you can search far and wide, You can drink the whole town dry, But you’ll never find a beer so brown, As the one we drink in our hometown …” so goes a song written by the film writers of The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

If you like dark beer the Oakbarton brew may be your choice of complimentary beverage at The Green Dragon Inn. You visit The Green Dragon for about 20* minutes as part of a Hobbiton Movie Set Tour (blog post) – Hobbiton website.

Mike matched a stein of Girdley fine grain amber ale … Read the rest

Hobbiton Movie Set Tour

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to”, so wrote J.R.R. Tolkien in The Lord of the Rings.

After visiting the Hobbiton Movie Set I can see why the hobbits were content with life in The Shire, but I’m glad we ventured out our door and onto the road to Matamata.

Lots of people start their tour from Matamata i-SITE, however there is plenty of parking at Hobbiton and your own transport gives you more flexibility. From … Read the rest

Royal Tour: The Duke & Duchess come to Cambridge

One of my aunts has a photo of the late Diana, Princess of Wales. The photo was taken at Wanganui Airport in 1983 during her Royal Tour with Princes Charles and baby Prince William. I used to look at the photo as I was growing up and think ‘wow, the Prince and Princess went to Wanganui’. While in Wanganui they visited Prince Edward who was a house tutor at Wanganui Collegiate which I thought was pretty wow too.

Thirty one years later Prince William has returned to New Zealand with his beautiful wife and son. When I read that the … Read the rest