Review: The Rees Hotel Queenstown
After a long week of making my greatest attempt at work-life-mum balance, a weekend away from it all is the perfect, luxurious southern ...
What’s up with New Zealand’s small towns and giant statues? Compensating for something? You’ve probably spotted at least a few big things in your area or road tripping around the country – maybe the world famous in New Zealand L&P bottle in Paeroa or the carrot in Ohakune that went from orange to black and back – but you might not have realised the extent of this national obsession. Here’s our round-up of larger-than-life big stuff around Aotearoa.
The very definition of world famous in New Zealand, this unique beverage was originally lemon juice mixed with carbonated water from the town of Paeroa – hence the name. The town pays tribute to its quintessentially Kiwi drink with a giant L&P bottle in the middle of a roundabout.
Holding the enviable title of New Zealand’s biggest vegetable, the 7.5 metre-tall Ohakune carrot was originally built for an ANZ television commercial. Did you know the area produces two thirds of the North Island’s carrots?
We’ve some pretty darn good trout fishing here in Aotearoa, and in fact there are two places that commemorate such abundance with a giant trout statue. Taupō’s trout is made from metal, while Gore’s brown trout sits atop a rocky fountain next to a sign that proclaims the town as the World’s Capital of Brown Trout Fishing.
The oversized trout aren’t the only big fish in the Aotearoa pond. Rakaia is world-renowned for salmon fishing, and you can’t help but admire the town’s dedication to the claim when you come upon the 12-metre salmon statue, frozen mid-flop.
Originally gifted to our Springfield by 20th Century Fox to celebrate the 2007 Simpsons movie, the iconic pink frosted donut gives a cheeky nod to the fictional home of Homer, Marge et al that this Selwyn township shares its name with. The original donut was damaged by fire in 2009 and replaced with a new, improved, fire-proof version.
Causing confusion to visitors since ages ago, Taihape’s giant, multi-coloured corrugated iron gumboot pays tribute to the town’s annual Gumboot Day and solidifies its status as Gumboot Capital of the World. No one was fighting them for the title, but that’s entirely irrelevant when it comes to giant gumboots.
This giant slice of kiwifruit marks the entrance of Kiwi360, a working orchard-slash-visitor attraction that fits right in here in the Kiwifruit Capital of the World. The kiwifruit slice is four storeys high!
There’s another world capital here in the Waikato: the sheep shearing capital. Te Kuiti holds an annual Great NZ Muster event every year, and as well as the six-metre statue of a shearer and his sheep, the town is also the home of a real-life shearing champion, David Fagan, who won the Golden Shears 15 times, the New Zealand title 16 times, and the world championship five times.
Only got one carrot or one slice of kiwifruit? Amateur hour. Cromwell takes it up a notch with a veritable bowl’s worth of fruit, including an apple, pear, nectarine and apricot. The sculpture is all about the region’s abundant fruit orchards, and rumour has it that grapes and cherries might soon be added to the mix.
This isn’t just a big cow, it’s a Mega Cow, and if it made milkshakes, they would definitely bring 100% of the boys to the yard. Morrinsville has a strong dairy farming history, and the Mega Cow is backed up by a collection of colourful, life-size cows throughout the town, part of the Herd of Cows? street art project.
This large ornamental pāua shell is not only a pretty place to sit for a photo op, but also pays homage to the pāua fishery here and lets you know that this is a top spot for picking up a beautiful piece of pāua jewellery.
An oldie but a goodie: this larger-than-life statue of the native, endangered and flightless takahē has watched over Te Anau’s waterfront from more than 30 years. It was erected to give big ups to the Southland region for its takahē recovery efforts.
This is a real sausage party – the giant sausage-on-a-fork lets you and any possible competitors know that Tuatapere is the sausage capital of New Zealand, and its award-winning Tuatapere sausages ain’t gonna be beat.
Taupō is a hot cycling region and wants everyone to know it. This giant bike sculpture is around 300kg and its wheels are almost as big as you are, enticing cyclists and pedestrians from all over to take a photo with the giant 10-speed.
A symbol of the popular Big Apple Café, this 7.5-metre fruit helps draw you in for a nice hot cup of coffee after a long day exploring underground in the Waitomo Caves.
Any place calling itself the Kiwiana capital of the world would definitely be missing something from its repertoire without a giant kiwi sculpture; luckily, Otorohanga has that covered, with a giant corrugated iron kiwi presiding over each end of the town.
An iconic surfie destination in Southland, Colac Bay’s giant fibreglass surfer lets it be known that this is the ultimate spot for hanging ten. Just don’t climb on the sculpture – this dude prefers to surf alone.
Smell that? It’s the mouthwatering scent of a thriving bakery industry, and the reason this ‘bread capital’ greets you with two giant, perfectly risen loaves over the town sign as you drive in.
This one’s a straight up overachiever – this entire art garden and gallery house is filled with oversized sculptures from giraffes to ballerinas to cellists, many of them mosaicked, some inviting you to sit, climb or play music with.