Monday, January 23, 2012

Campervan-ing New Zealand: Craft,Vintage and Good Sorts

No holiday is complete without the search for local craft, op shops and art.  The Mr has come to accept this over the years, and will now happily send me off to wander local markets, will pull over suddenly when I spy an op shop and does not get too edgey if I stray into a yarn shop.  As the Little Miss gets older she is a great companion on these little trips, and has a growing appreciation for old things and that which is handmade and well made.

In Te Anau  en route to a Dairy (for our daily ice cream) I spied a yarn shop packed floor to ceiling in that tidy looking box shelving you often find in yarn shops.  I decided on the spot that a few balls of New Zealand wool would make a souvenir much nicer than a stuffed kiwi dressed in an All Blacks uniform. This grey Aran weight seemed perfect.  I am thinking of knitting up a wee vest for The Boy, who has to date missed out on my attempts to knit garments.

Grey Aran weight New Zealand wool

Hokitika.  The Mr wishes to never mention the name of this town again, because that is were he, um, damaged the Campervan on a shop awning.  None the less, Hokitika, on the West Coast, is the local art and craft hot spot.  Mostly jade and timber stores, which I did not think I would go for, however, I was pretty smitten over a pair jade earrings (sob, these stayed in the shop...)
Stone painter, William Steyn, gathers local stones from the beach and paints cute little kiwi's on them for a (somewhat) novel souvenir.  He had a lovely light filled studio and we were smitten with his old red Kelvinator, topped with local driftwood and awash with his stones.  

Stone painter, Hokitika

He noticed the little Miss was left handed, and being a left-y himself, told her all the best people are left handed and encouraged her to continue with her arty ways.  Later on at Arthur's Pass we went fossicking for some stones she could paint herself.  Our last night was spent camping here, in a meadow of flowers along side a meandering rocky creek, high up in this mountainous pass connecting the west and east coasts.

Meadow camping, Arthur's Pass

river rocks, Arthur's Pass

The Queenstown markets were a busy hub the day before New Years.  We were pretty quick to get out of there, as it appeared all of the youth of the South Island including the seasonal back packers, were due to descend to celebrate at one of the first towns in the Oceania to welcome the New Year.

Queenstown Markets

We bought some lovely soy candles, packaged in an 1960's newsprint.  One of the classiest stalls at the Market, George and Edi makes beautifully packaged, not to mention the prettiest smelling candles.

Queenstown Markets

Queenstown Markets

More local sourdough and salmon was picked up at the nearby food market before we bolted out of town.  

Okarito is situated on the West Coast of New Zealand's South Island.  A small relatively untouched coastal township with a community run camper park and no shops.  We came here to kayak on the Okarito lagoon and enjoy some of the stunning water birds, including the New Zealand White Heron.

Okarito nature tours are one those small family run companies that make you want to go home and tell all your friends about them.  Ultra professional, environmentally aware, passionate and knowledgable.  The best outing of our trip, the hours we spent kayaking together on that peaceful lagoon, exploring it's tributries, bird watching and enjoying the changing habitats: coastal forest, wetlands, back dropped with snow topped mountains.  Bliss.  It also happened the owners have a thing for vintage.  The little cafe/meeting room was adorned with old sofa's and home made cushions from vintage fabrics.  Loving the sofa upholstered in an old army blanket. My kind of people.


repurposed seating

White Heron


The smalls are off to school today.  It is the big "O" day for The Boy, who is now a preppie and I am now a mum with two kids at school.  This of course means more time for blogging, so I hope I shall not be too late with the next New Zealand post:playing with the new click/how-cool-are-these-photos?

Happy first day at school Queenslanders!

Trace xx


  1. oh wow - school starts already for you guys?? We are still two weeks away and it will be my first born starting, so nerves all round! Love the sight of your NZ adventures...those candles look if only they could invent scratch and sniff on the internet!!! xx

  2. Awesome souvenir indeed! Looks like lots of fun adventures. I want to sniff those candles too. :)

  3. Tell the Mister not to worry to much about the campervan. Back when I worked for McDs I had someone try to drive a truck through the drive thru and hit the corner of the roof.

  4. Those earrings are incredible! Glad you had a good time in little ol' enZend (and thanks for not mentioning our appalling excuse for summer weather!)

  5. Loved your last post with all that scrummy food- I was practically drooling reading. Enjoy your first day flying solo today! melx

  6. Oh, those mountain scenes are amazing! You are inspiring me to travel to new wondrous places!xx

  7. Looks like you had a brillient time Trace! :) You were quite restrained just bringing home some yarn to knit up for the boy - and yes - a much better souvenier in my oppinion too! :)
    Thanks for sharing your gorgeous photos.

    Sheree xox


Why hello there, thanks for commenting!