Mel and I took a road trip after Christmas to visit Ron in Tauranga, Rotorua, Taupo and Mel’s parents bach at Amuri on the other side of Lake Taupo. It turns out that this trip turned out to be a trip to check out to be a tour of the artists!
Being my first real visit to Tauranga, Ron took us on a tour around the Mount and then into town to check out the amazing art works by Owen Dippie. I took some photos but I must admit the photos on Owen’s website does his artwork a lot more justice than my photos. After the tiki tour of town, we stopped at Ron’s favourite fish & chip shop on the wharf where the queues are long even at lunchtime
After lunch we headed out to Katikati - a town with 42 murals painted on the walls and a pretty cool sculpture – “designed to celebrate the unique identity and heritage of Katikati and the surrounding area through murals that would highlight specific historical, cultural and environmental influences.”
After a few days with Ron, Carlos, Ellen and the kids we headed south to Taupo via the Wai-O-Tapu thermal wonderland . Here the artist was nature itself! We spent 3.5 hours walking the parks trials checking out the different craters, thermal pools, sulphurous springs, lookouts, lakes, etc and my favourite place - the artists palette. I took so many photos of this beautiful area that it took me days to decide which ones to delete and which ones to keep lol.
As we left we checked out the boiling mud pools just down the road. The mud was plopping away making very cool mud shapes –definitely worth a stop
We had planned to visit the thermal pools at Waikite after our visit to the thermal wonderland, but we were out of time… another trip. We carried on to Taupo. On a lovely summers evening we headed to the Crafty Trout brewery so Mel could check out the local beers before dinner.
At the end of a big day we enjoyed the last of the day sitting on the motel room balcony watching the sun set over lake Taupo over a glass or two of port and chocolate before finishing the evening in the room’s spa.
The next morning we headed for L’Arte – we saw a brochure in the motel room and I just had to go….and thankfully they had a café so we could have a yummy breakfast while we were there! Judi Brennan does amazing pottery and mosaics and her shop and gallery have pretty amazing pieces to buy. Judi’s room mosaic is just awesome
….and I loved her quirky birdhouses – I wanted to take one home, but I really needed to have one that could hang in a tree – so I left my name for when she makes these. Mel on the other hand found Nigel the Kereru (wood pigeon) by Mark Dimock and he now sits in the grape vines but does not scare the local birds lol.
We strolled the streets of Taupo checking out some of the shops and found some more really cool murals painted for the Graffiato Street Art festival. My favourite has to be the Tuis, although I liked the ducklings on the mans body as well.
Next stop was Amuri for new year with Mel’s family and a spot of fishing (…but the only fish got away), before heading home and the end of our unplanned cultural-artist trip!
For more photos visit the photo gallery.