The Christmas Village, New Plymouth

If you’re someone who loves Christmas whatever the time of year, or you like to go all out with your decorations and are looking for new ones to add to your collection, then you’ll like The Christmas Village in New Plymouth. It’s open Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 10am-4pm for most of the year.

Father Christmas resting up for the big day at The Christmas Village in New Plymouth

Father Christmas resting up for the big day at The Christmas Village in New Plymouth

The village is brimming with beautiful decorations, I especially liked the lanterns and lamp posts but decided my budget fell more in the Christmas angel range. Lay-by is an option for … Read the rest

Govett-Brewster Art Gallery / Len Lye Centre, New Plymouth

The exterior of the Len Lye Centre in New Plymouth is eye catching and impressive. The 14 metre tall structure is made of concrete clad with stainless steel. The curved stainless steel reflects and plays with light making the outside of the centre an art piece in itself, and probably the most photographed building in Taranaki.

Exterior of Len Lye Centre/Govett Brewster Gallery

Exterior of Len Lye Centre/Govett Brewster Gallery

Who was Len Lye? 
Christchurch born Len Lye (1901-1980) was an artist who made films, wrote poetry and painted, he also became known for his kinetic sculptures. Len Lye spent most of his life overseas, his connection … 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

Artists Open Studios Whanganui 2017

If you want to fire up your creativity visiting Artists Open Studios in Whanganui is one way to do it. It was my second trip to Open Studios (2015 blog post) and this year I allowed two days instead of one, a good move as there was lots to see including …..

Whanganui Resource Recovery Centre, 83 Maria Place Ext.
Inspiration started here – what do you think you can do with plastic milk bottle tops and peanut butter lids? Make this brilliant mural. (The Maori words translate to “The river flows, From the mountains to the sea, I … Read the rest

Stoney Oaks Wildlife Park & Farmstay, Inglewood

We arrived at Stoney Oaks Wildlife Park & Farmstay after a long drive down the Forgotten World Highway. We were ready to lay our heads almost anywhere but as it turned out hitting the hay in The Barn at Stoney Oaks was an excellent choice – rave review ahead.

Love at first sight - Kunekune piglet

Love at first sight – Kunekune piglet

The Barn’s interior is built of macrocarpa and corrugated iron and has heaps of interesting features. Deer antler has been turned into light fittings, door handles and towel rails. Some of the fixtures are ingenius in their simplicity – two hunks of wood … Read the rest

Back to the 50’s in New Plymouth

New Plymouth hosts Americarna, an all American car event, and also has its own American style Deluxe Diner. We pulled in to Deluxe Diner for breakfast and were impressed with the mint green and red decor, comfy booths, and big menu.

Deluxe Diner, New Plymouth

Deluxe Diner, New Plymouth

I’m a shocker for taking too long to choose my food but buttermilk pancakes always make it easy for me, Mike settled on the breakfast hot dog, both good choices. The drinks menu is almost as big as the food menu and stretches from cherry cola floats to Spirulina, VIP malted shakes to alcoholic … Read the rest

Follow up to Artists Open Studios in Whanganui 2015

In January I wrote about three Whanganui artists participating in the Artists Open Studios event on 21-22 and 28-29 March. On Saturday 21 March I spent the day in Whanganui visiting 13 studios. I was impressed by the quality of the art work and friendliness of everyone involved and should have allowed two days for the event. Below is a small selection of the studios I visited.

Driftwood horse by Jack Marsden-Mayer on Castlecliff Beach

Driftwood horse by Jack Marsden-Mayer on Castlecliff Beach

Studio 111, 111 Great North Road, St Johns Hill (No. 43 in the Trail Guide)
Seven artists had work on display at Studio 111 overlooking … Read the rest

WOMAD Festival 2015

More than 300 artists from 22 countries performed at the World of Music, Arts and Dance Festival (WOMAD) in New Plymouth from 13-15 March. The sprawling Brooklands Park near the city centre is an ideal festival venue, four stages are set up in the big garden and festival goers can roam between them with stops for food and drink. Detours can also be made to the Village of Wellness for a meditation or yoga session, or to see what’s cooking at Taste the World.

WOMAD 2015

WOMAD 2015

WOMAD is a 3 night / 2 day event, I went on Sunday – … Read the rest

Clay caravans, driftwood sculptures, and pottery at Artists Open Studios in Whanganui

In December last year Sharla from Wanganui-NZ introduced me to three Wanganui based artists – Lizzette Britton who works with clay, Jack Marsden-Mayer who works with driftwood, and Ivan Vostinar, painter, sculptor, and potter. You can visit the studios of all three artists plus over 60 more at Artists Open Studios in Whanganui in March.

If you’re a follower of the blog you may have picked up on my slight obsession with caravans. I was thrilled when Sharla arranged for us to meet what turned out to be the very lovely and bubbly Lizzette Britton. Lizzette works from her Glue Read the rest

Suite As – Rutland Arms Inn, Whanganui

I picked up a ‘Made in Wanganui’ flyer from the Rutland Arms Inn and read that helmets used by the New York Fire Department are made in Whanganui, as well as leather seats for Air New Zealand and Jetstar planes. If your cat eats Whiskas chances are it comes from the Mars petfood factory in Whanganui too.

I stayed at Rutland Arms for the night, although it’s at the less unusual end of the unusual accommodation continuum it’s definitely a good option if you’re in the city on business.

Taylor Suite at Rutland Arms Inn

Taylor Suite at Rutland Arms Inn

I stayed in the spacious … Read the rest