Curious Christchurch – October 2015

It feels like the Christchurch inner city rebuild is starting to take shape. The Re:START container shopping centre now feels like the temporary shopping solution it was always meant to be and construction is going on all around its edges. The new bus interchange is fully operational and its facilities for cyclists (more below) help lay the foundations for a very bike friendly city, the city’s flat terrain is a bonus as well.

The restored Isaac Theatre Royal has been open nearly a year and takes pride of place on Gloucester Street, the calendar is stacked with events for November. … 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.

I stayed in the spacious Taylor Suite, all the eight suite … 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

Crafty Trout Brewing in Taupo

It’s been a while since I dipped my toes into the Mediterranean Sea in Greece and had a stein of beer in a Munich beer hall, but that’s where Crafty Trout Brewing in Taupo took me. The upstairs Bier Kafe was once a Greek restaurant, it’s been redesigned with Austria and Oktoberfest in mind.

There’s an alcohol free German beer on the menu, and you can get a one litre stein for around $18. Crafty Trout’s Austrian lagers, ales and ciders are brewed downstairs and have fishy names like Hook, Lure, Jigger and Spinner. A tasting tray of four brews … Read the rest

Oamaru – where beer was once more popular than water

Prior to 1880 it was easier to get a beer in Oamaru than it was to get a decent glass of water. In the late 1800’s there were a few breweries, 17 hotels and 32 unlicensed grog shops to quench the local thirst.

These days Oamaru’s water supply gets good grades, and although Prohibition stopped the beer flowing for over 50 years, today you can get a beer in two hotels that served the locals in the 1880’s – The Criterion and Brydone Hotel* (formerly Queen’s Hotel).

The hotels are just two of the many impressive limestone buildings … Read the rest