Posts Tagged With: museum

Top 5 New Zealand Museums

New Zealand is full of rich, wonderful and culturally significant museums. I have chosen my Top 5 favourite museums across the whole of this beautiful country. Enjoy!

1. Te Papa, Wellington

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Probably New Zealand’s best museum, Te Papa has something to offer everyone. The museum’s website tells you when visiting Te Papa you will ‘discover the stories of New Zealand’. From the historic right up to the contemporary (The Lord of the Rings included!) the museum has a huge number of displays and art work, and hosts exciting events and amazing exhibitions.

The content and layout of the museum is brilliant. The variety of items in the museum, along with the innovative and interesting design make for a fantastic visit. Favourite sections of ours were the sections about New Zealand’s native wildlife, as well as the 20th century displays.

It is a place that has to feature on your Wellington itinerary!

  • Opening hours: 10am-6pm, 365 days a year.
  • Cost: Free.
  • Location: 55 Cable Street, Wellington.

 

2. Otago Settlers Museum

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IMG_0538The Otago Settlers Museum tells the stories of the people of Dunedin from the earliest settlers through to those who have recently arrived. The museum traces the lives of the settlers – indigenous Māori, the early Chinese, and other migrant groups – and their technological innovation, domestic life, fashion, art and transport.

It is an incredibly innovative and well-planned out museum. It has lots of interactive sections, and an amazing array of items covering a large period in history.

Immigration boat reconstruction

A special area of the museum is the reconstruction of being under deck on a boat that would have brought immigrants into New Zealand – it is dark and has all the noises as part of the reconstruction.

They state on their website they are ‘New Zealand’s newest and most innovative museum experience’ so be sure to check them out.

  • Opening hours: 10am-5pm, except for Christmas Day.
  • Cost: Free.
  • Location: 31 Queens Garden, Dunedin.

3. World of WearableArt™ and Classic Cars Museum, Nelson

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IMG_6772.jpgA unique collaboration of two very different interests, the ‘WOW’ (World of WearableArt) and car museum offers the chance to see the world-class collection of classic cars, as well as amazing wearable art from all around the world.

The selection and layout of cars is absolutely brilliant. The information about the cars is excellent and the cars are arranged thoughtfully, with extreme care taken over their preservation.

The fashion art gallery is very innovative and unique and unlike anything we have seen before. It contains over 60 World of WearableArt garments which are fascinating to see.

This museum is a fantastic collaboration and you find something for everyone on your visit.

  • Opening hours: 10am-5pm, except for Christmas Day.
  • Cost: $24 for adults and $10 for children, concessions also apply.
  • Location: Cadillac Way off Quarantine Road, Annesbrook, near Nelson.

 

4. Auckland War Memorial Museum

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IMG_9650A very popular museum, the Auckland War Memorial Museum is a large museum with a huge array of displays and exhibitions. It is set in a beautiful location with a view looking down towards the city.

Their website states they are ‘New Zealand’s first Museum’, and that the museum ‘tells the story of New Zealand, its place in the Pacific and its people’. It also has one of the top three heritage libraries in New Zealand.

IMG_9624The collections it houses include pre-eminent Māori and Pacific collections, social and military history collections, significant natural history resources and arts and pictorial collections. The museum is also highly involved in local education programmes.

With such a variety of collections, and in such a beautiful location overlooking the city, this museum is a must-visit on your trip to Auckland.

  • Opening hours: 10am-5pm, except for Christmas Day.
  • Cost: $25 for adults and $10 for children, free/donation for NZ residents.
  • Location: The Auckland Domain, Parnell, Auckland.

 

5. Southward Car Museum, Paraparaumu

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IMG_1352Named after its namesake – Sir Len Southward – The Southward Car Museum is a wonderful collection of over 400 cars and bikes and really is a fantastic place to visit.

Their website claims they are the ‘largest and most comprehensive car museum in the southern hemisphere’ and their selection of vehicles are in beautiful condition and are really well presented in a huge exhibition hall. They also have a lower level within the museum, which is down some steps housing yet more cars.

More off-the-beaten track than the other museums in this list, this museum will not disappoint and may prove to be a highlight of your trip!

  • Opening hours: 9am-4.30pm, except for Christmas Day and Good Friday.
  • Cost: $17 for adults and $3 for children.
  • Location: Otaihanga Road, Paraparaumu, approx an hour’s drive north of Wellington.

There are other wonderful museums that could have made this Top 5 list, so feel to share yours with me! 🙂

Categories: Activities, New Zealand, North Island, Photographs, South Island, Top 5 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A week in Sydney and the end of our amazing Australian adventure

Sydney Panoramic

Sydney panoramic

Mon 15th July – Mon 22nd July: Sydney/Manly

Cockatoos on Kat and Darren's balcony

Cockatoos on Kat and Darren’s balcony

After arriving back from a memorable 9 days in Tasmania we were lucky enough to have another week staying in Sydney with my sister – Kat, and her boyfriend – Darren. They live in a lovely flat in Manly – a short ferry ride away from the CBD. We spent 5 days with them before we left for the Great Ocean Road and Tassie – where we visited the Northern Beaches, and the Blue Mountains.

Opera house

Opera house

We did a whole mixture of things in our second week there and had a really great time. We spent quite a bit of time in the centre of Sydney – taking the ferry across from Manly each time. It only costs $9 one way, and takes about 30 minutes. It is a beautiful ride, as you leave the Manly wharf behind, and arrive at Circular Quay with the most beautiful view of the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Views from park

Views from park

We walked across the harbour bridge, and spent time in the park down in Kirribilli where there is a brilliant view across to the centre of Sydney and up to the bridge. We enjoyed pancakes at Pancakes on the Rocks and spent time exploring the wonderful Rocks area. We also took a walk through the Royal Botanical gardens – which are huge! We only walked through a small section and they were very beautiful.

National Maritime Museum

National Maritime Museum

Whilst in Sydney we visited the National Maritime Museum and spent time exploring the huge ships they have there – with amazing histories. We were able to board these ships and learn about their past and life out on the water. The main ships we explored were the patrol boat, the submarine, the Vampire and the endeavour (which is a full-sized replica of Captain Cook’s ship that he used on his famous 1768-71 world voyage).

Endeavour replica

Endeavour replica

There were excellent indoor exhibits containing great artefacts. We were also lucky enough to visit the Elysium exhibition, which contained photographs and video taken on a fascinating trip to the Antarctic in 2010. I especially loved the photos of the penguins! Find out more here about this amazing exhibition.

Another museum we spent time at was the Australian Museum. John was especially interested in learning more about the aboriginal history of Australia, so we spent time in this area of the museum. Whilst here we also spent time at the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition, which contained some really stunning photographs.

Goat and city at Taronga zoo

Goat and city at Taronga zoo

For many of these activities we used discount vouchers (between 10% and 20%) that we found in guidebooks/leaflets we picked up from the information centres in Sydney, so if you are visiting make sure you pick up some.

View of city from the zoo

View of city from the zoo

We also visited Taronga Zoo with Kat and her friends Ben and Pia who also live in Manly. We had a fantastic day at the zoo and seeing all the animals! It was a huge zoo with so much to see and do and we spent all day there. It was also great catching up with Ben (who is from my hometown of Frome) and his girlfriend Pia 🙂

Cool chicken we saw :)

Cool chicken we saw

I took a few snaps but we mostly focussed on enjoying watching the animals. The zoo is also in an amazing location, so you can look across the water and see the city – with the opera house and bridge in sight. Whilst on the cable car which takes you across the zoo you can also see the city as it comes into view, which is awesome.

View from our room

View from our room

Whilst visiting Sydney we also treated ourselves to one night staying at the very posh and luxurious Shangri-La. Our room was beautiful and we had paid a little extra for an incredible view of Sydney harbour! We could see both the opera house and the harbour bridge. There were brilliant window seats too so we spent hours just sitting there enjoying the view!

Our Shangri-La room

Our Shangri-La room

The room was huge, and so was the bathroom – it was awesome! You could even play music in the bathroom! The hotel was also located in the Rocks areas, so a great location. We enjoyed some food at Crust Pizza, and just enjoyed relaxing in our lovely room with such a wonderful view. Definitely an experience we won’t forget!

Manly beach

Manly beach

On our penultimate day – Saturday we spent time relaxing in Manly. We walked along from Manly to Shelly Beach, which was simply beautiful. It was a lovely walk along the water.

Enjoying time in Manly

Enjoying time in Manly

We also enjoyed a nice ice cream as we sat on the beach and watched the surfers. It was a beautiful late afternoon in Manly, and the weather was just amazing – we felt lucky to be there!

On our final day with Kat and Darren we celebrated Julymas – Christmas in July!

Christmas decorations!

Julymas decorations!

Apparently it is ok to celebrate a second Christmas over in this part of the world in their winter, so we thought we would make the most of this – and as anyone who knows me I LOVE Christmas so jumped at the chance! In the morning me and John made some decorations and wrapped a few presses we had bought Kat and Darren to thank them for having us to stay, and then we all went to a local farmer’s market to buy food for lunch.

Blue penguins

Blue penguins

In the afternoon we went to the aquarium in Manly which we all loved! We had actually arrived just as the blue penguin feeding was about to start so we headed up to Penguin Cove and saw them being fed. It was just brilliant being able to watch them – they seemed so happy and well looked after – we all loved it. We also explored the rest of the aquarium which was equally fantastic. The underwater walkthrough area is great, and we saw huge sharks, turtles and stingray. They have a huge selection of fish and other underwater animals. Overall it was a really great afternoon and a lovely way to spend our last day with Kat and Darren.

Big Sis and Lil Sis

Big Sis and Lil Sis

In the evening we enjoyed a delicious Julymas dinner cooked by Kat and Darren and relaxed together. The next morning it was sadly time to leave, as we caught a taxi to the airport. I’m not sure when I will see my big sis again as she lives in Manly and in a month I will be returning to the UK, but we made sure we left saying ‘see you soon’ rather than ‘goodbye’ after a wonderful few weeks together. 🙂

Amazing Australia

Amazing Australia

So this brings me to the end of mine and my hubby’s amazing Australian adventure. Australia has been so very kind to us – offering us some experiences of a lifetime – from stunning scenery, beaches and wildlife on the Great Ocean Road to a memorable experience in the snow in Tasmania, more wonderfully sunny days out on the road exploring and some wombat friends for life! We are sad to leave, but happy to return to New Zealand for a few more weeks before it is time to head back to the UK. We have one final adventure left – a trip to the Cook Islands so are really looking forward to that – which I will post about soon.

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Categories: Accommodation, Activities, Australia, Photographs, Wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The wonderful and varied Rotorua

Days 54 to 58: Rotorua

Mud pools

Mud pools

Next stop on our amazing Spaceships adventure was Rotorua. After a brilliant few days in Taupo including an amazing trip to Orakei Korako we took the hour long drive from Taupo up to Rotorua. On the way we stopped at some mud pools (which we had also seen on our honeymoon visit back in 2010) to have another look and take some photos. We loved watching the mud bubble up and spit great big bubbles – I captured a few using the action setting on my camera. Good old Draco (our awesome Spaceship) then took us on to Rotorua. We decided to treat ourselves here after a long time in the spaceship – so stayed in an apartment for a few days (Quest Rotorua). It was so lovely to have a base and having stayed in loads of different places in NZ this was certainly one of the best! It was run by such a lovely couple called Colin and Lisa. Also, the really cool thing about our Beta 2 Berth spaceship is that if you do decide to spend the odd night not sleeping in it, then because it is the size of a car it can be parked anywhere! So we easily fitted it into the undercover secure parking at Quest – where a larger camper-van definitely would not have fitted!

Rotorua museum

Rotorua museum

One of the main reasons for staying here was so we could try and watch my husband John’s football team (Crystal Palace) play in a really important game – the play off final – where the winner gets promotion to the premier league. It was such an important match and being huge football fans we didn’t want to miss it! Colin from Quest couldn’t have been more helpful and arranged so that we would be able to watch the sports channel in our room 🙂 The game kicked off at 2.00am New Zealand time!! We did manage to get some sleep before and then set our alarm so we would wake up in time. A few hours later and Palace had won 1 v 0 (after extra-time)!! They were in the premier league 🙂 We were also in touch with my parents back in the UK who were holidaying in Cornwall when the game was on. They were listening on the radio and also cheering Palace on – they had their own drama with flattening their car battery whilst sat in the car listening to the game but that is a whole other story! We were delighted Palace had won and it was worth being awake at such crazy hours. We were also really grateful to Colin and Lisa for arranging for us to be able to watch the game.

Exploring underground

Exploring underground

Back to our time sight-seeing in Rotorua. We spent 5 days there and due to the location of our apartment were able to walk to quite a few places which was great. One of the best things we did was visit Rotorua Museum. We also took a lovely walk through the park to get there where we saw pukeko. We felt the museum entrance price was a little steep at $20 each but we still really enjoyed our time there (especially considering London’s amazing museums back home are free!). We loved the introduction video which was also part-ride and included a section which shook the audience to resemble the Tarawera eruption. It was great and really added to the learning experience! We also loved exploring the underground section which showed the old mud baths people used in the past. And we walked up all the steps to the lookout at the top of the museum which had great views.

Kuirau park

Kuirau park

We also took a lovely walk along the lakefront, as well as a trip to Kuirau park. This a free park completely open to the public where they have geothermal activity. We enjoyed having a wander and looking at the various steaming bubbling parts.

Blue and green lake viewpoint

Blue and green lake viewpoint

Places a little further afield that we drove to in our spaceship included the blue and green lakes. We took a nice drive there and parked up on the blue lake waterfront. We also enjoyed a lovely walk around the lake, before driving to a viewpoint between the two lakes. From here you could see both lakes, and apparently their distinctively different colours (although the cloudy weather when we visited made this a little difficult!).

From there we then took a drive to Lake Tarawera and read all about the 1886 eruption of Mount Tarawera. We took a few photos from a viewpoint and also drove down and parked alongside the lake itself which was beautiful.

Redwood trees

Redwood trees

The final place we visited in Rotorua was the Redwoods where we saw Californian redwood trees. The park is really well planned out and there are loads of great walks. Each walk is colour-coded and well signposted and they are at varying levels of difficulty. We took a 30 minute walk through the woods to see the redwoods and really loved exploring. They were huge trees and it was lovely and sunny too so made for a lovely afternoon out.

Like Taupo, we loved the time we spent in Rotorua and did a whole variety of different things which were brilliant. We also visited the amazing Hobbiton from Rotorua, but I will post about that separately as it was an incredible day and certainly warrants it! 🙂

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Categories: Accommodation, Activities, New Zealand, North Island, Photographs, Spaceship | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

New Year in windy Wellington

Monday 31st December – Thursday January 3rd 2013

Wellington cable car

Gollum at Wellington airportI am rather behind with my blog postings (due to difficulty finding free wifi where I am currently) but am now up to writing about our New Year Adventure in Wellington – the middle of middle-earth! Despite having been to New Zealand twice before and having been here since September we had still not yet visited Wellington. Almost everyone we had met had told us how much they loved Wellington (or Welly as it is affectionately known) and declared we just had to visit. So we thought the perfect time was New Year – as we could spend a few days exploring and take in the supposedly spectacular fireworks. Unfortunately the weather had other ideas . . .

Us enjoying Wellington waterfrontI will take you back to New Years Eve, as we checked out of our lovely suite at the Heritage in Queenstown, dropped our hire car back and waited for our flight. We enjoyed some nice potato wedges and ice cream at the airport (definitely one of my favourite airports!). We left Queenstown and after a pretty bumpy first part to the journey soon arrived in Wellington. We took the bright orange airport bus to our accommodation – and it was certainly nice that the airport was closer to the city centre than in Auckland! We hopped off the bus at Courtney Place and walked the last part to our accommodation – called ‘At Home‘. This had recently won an award for ‘Top 25 hotels in the South Pacific’ so we had high hopes, and it didn’t disappoint! The living space was large – we were in a one bed apartment, and the owners seemed very friendly. The apartment had everything we needed and we overlooked Te Papa museum so were in a great location. That evening we headed out for a walk along the waterfront and grabbed a takeaway pizza. By this stage the wind was pretty strong and unfortunately they cancelled the New Year’s fireworks – which was a real shame. We still headed down to the waterfront for the New Year countdown though which was a nice way to see in 2013.

IMG_8036The following morning we decided to take a trip on the famous cable car, which we really enjoyed. It took us up to a viewpoint with great views over the city and we took a nice walk back down to the city centre through the Botanical gardens. The cable car was pretty cheaply priced at a $6 return. In the afternoon we headed to the amazing Te Papa museum – which is free! Situated just across from our apartment, it wasn’t far to go and we were right in the midst of (in our opinion) New Zealand’s best museum. The content and layout of the museum is brilliant. It was pretty busy as it was New Year’s day, but we were able to explore some levels of the museum and take in all of the amazing exhibits. The variety of things in the museum, along with the innovative and interesting design made it a fantastic afternoon. I enjoyed the section about New Zealand’s native wildlife, as well as the 20th century displays. My husband enjoyed learning about the treaty.

Embassy theatre

That evening we had booked to see The Hobbit (for a second time!) at the world-famous Embassy Theatre – where they held the world premiere of The Hobbit. It was great to be in the same building, and it was also a stunning cinema – so beautiful and quaint inside and watching the film there was incredibly comfortable and really special. Something we won’t forget in quite some time!

The following day we had planned to take a walk up Mount Victoria but the weather was pretty crazy and the wind so strong that we decided to spend more time at Te Papa museum. Te Papa signWe spent more time exploring (when it was less busy) and covered as much of the museum as possible. I enjoyed seeing the LOTR trolls in the entrance area, along with a huge real gingerbread house – it was great! Other areas we explored were about Maori history and culture, and 19th century history. We also enjoyed looked at some of the art up on the higher levels. Definitely a must if you are visiting Welly! And an incredible bargain as it is free!

That evening the wind got up to incredibly gale force strength so we relaxed in our room. We watched things blowing around in the streets and people really unable to walk because it was so strong. We heard that some flights heading into Welly were cancelled or delayed. The following morning the wind had luckily subsided as we were flying out, and our taxi driver taking us to the airport said he had lived in Welly for a long time and it was the craziest and strongest wind he had ever witnessed there! We headed to the airport then for our flight back up to Auckland.

Wellington streetsOverall we did really enjoy our time in Wellington – especially seeing it so soon after the premiere of The Hobbit and feeling some of that special atmosphere. It has a pretty waterfront and a nice smaller city feel than Auckland. I do think though that a lot of hype can also make it difficult when you finally arrive somewhere – as we perhaps (being honest) may have been expecting a little more from Welly. I think strangely we saw it at its crazy busiest (New Year’s Eve), were disappointed by the lack of fireworks, yet also saw it pretty quiet (as locals commented) as lots of people head out of the city for New Year. So perhaps we didn’t see it at its complete best, but a great time we had nevertheless. Now on to the next part of our ‘unexpected journey’ . . . !  🙂

Categories: Accommodation, Activities | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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