Thursday, September 30, 2010

North Island Wool Shop Review

My trip to New Zealand was quite excellent. I've drawn up a little map of where we travelled. Yellow = airplane, red = car, and black dots = yarn shop. I managed to visit 8 shops, so I thought I'd review them all. Overall, I was very impressed with the selection I found in all the stores. Prices and quality were miles ahead of that in the States.

I visited Stansborough first. It isn't really a yarn shop and the tours had ended three days before I arrived, but the lady who has bred the Stansborough sheep (which is recognized as its own breed) was very kind and gave us a mini tour. She also sold me some of their test yarn for yarn they hope to produce in the future.

The next stop was at Wellington's Knit World.
Parking: Bit hard to find as it is in downtown Wellington.
Selection: Excellent. Touch, Naturally, Zealana, Rowan and many many more.

In Rotorua, I went to the Woollen Mill at the Agrodome.
Parking: Pretty good.
Selection: Also pretty good. Touch yarn and Naturally could be found. Wide color selections.

In Tauranga I went to Creative Outlet. I came away with a bunch of merino roving. IT was the only place I actually found roving.
Parking: Hard to find due to it being in a well used shopping area.
Selection: Wide. There was yarn, roving (wool, silk, and mohair)

In Brown's Bay, near Auckland, I found Shore Wools.
Parking: Pretty good.
Selection: Look at the picture below. The place is packed to the rafters. There might not be a giant brand range, but there was an amazing selection within brands.

In Medford, near Auckland, there is a newish store called Crafty Knitwits.
Parking: Easy to find if you aren't around when the schools let out.
Selection: A good range of New Zealand and Italian yarn.

In Auckland, within the Westfield shopping center, you can find Masco Wools.
Parking: Not easy to find in Auckland.
Selection: Pretty good. Wide range of brands, but not a large range of colors in most brands. Although in Shepard's Wool, it looked like there was every color.

In Devonport, near Auckland, there is Wild and Wooly Yarns.
Parking: Great. You might not get a spot next to the store, but you will be able to find a spot further down the road.
Selection: Respectable
I did notice that the prices seemed a tad higher than other places. But with certain brands, it wouldn't be more than $.10.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

New Zealand Politics Are Cheeky

Day 1: We see a boring John Banks sign.
Day 2:

Day 3:

Monday, September 27, 2010

Ferry Ride

Dad and I took the ferry to Auckland so we could visit Grandad's stockbroker. I love riding on the ferry. It seems like the trip was a lot longer when I was little, but it only takes 15 minutes to get from Devonport to Auckland.

The stockbroker is in the second tallest building in the picture below.

The view was breathtaking from the building. I may have had a bit of vertigo looking down.

When we got back to Devonport, I talked Dad into stopping by the cemetery on Mount Victoria. It is a very steep cemetery.

Unlike all the tombstones I've seen in the States, many of the ones here had metal lettering rather than letters carved into the stone.

There were also a few Maori tombstones.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Dad and I found a giant chess set at Grandad's retirement village. I'm not sure how many people know this, but I love playing chess.

I'm not particularly good, but that doesn't really matter. I only ever play against Dad.

We have one rule: Neither of us are allowed to read any chess strategy books.

As a result, we are pretty even in skill level. We also always play the same color. I play black and Dad plays white. White gets the first move.

Round 1, I lost.

The next day we started out by stopping by this cafe called Decadence.

Quite decadent.

Refreshed and ready to go, I won.


Saturday, September 25, 2010


We got a greenstone for my Mum while we were in New Zealand. I was told that there are two rules with greenstone.
1. It has to be a gift. You can't buy one for yourself.

2. You are suppose to dip it in water before giving it away.

We took the dolphin to the beach my grandparents use to live near.

I remember looking at the newspaper as a child, trying to determine when low tide was. If it was low tide, we could take the secret way down to the beach and look for starfish.

Things have changed a bit since I was here last. For one, we found this interesting sculpture in the sandstone.

Before returning to my grandfather, we stopped by my very favorite second hand bookstore in New Zealand. It is a bit difficult to find as you have to walk down this rather untidy arcade to get to it. But it is a treasure chest of books. I managed to find an old Maori fairytale book.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Wizard In The Middle Of Nowhere

Today Dad and I went to the Matakana Farmers' Market. It wasn't nearly as big as the one back home, but it was still quite nice.

I can't say I've ever seen beer for sale at the market back home.

We came away with two beers, one apple cider, and a canvas bag.

We poked around Matakana for a bit. I learned that the reason I haven't found a thrift store in New Zealand is because they are not called thrift stores. If ever you find yourself in New Zealand, look for the opportunity shops. I found a cute little dish for my bar soap.

We were rather hungry after seeing the farmers' market, but the cafes were all full (and a bit overpriced) in Matakana, so we continued on to Leigh.

We had a nice mocha, chocolate cake, and sandwich at the Swell Cafe.

We weren't ready to be done with our adventure, so we carried on. The road we ended up on seemed quite narrow. That was until we saw a sign that said, "Narrow Road Ahead." Dad said, "I though that this WAS narrow."

I spotted a sign that said Pakiri Beach, so we headed down bumpy road until we found this.

I don't think I've ever been on such a large, almost completely deserted beach. It went on forever.

The adventure was nearing a close. We were still in the middle of nowhere. And I do mean nowhere, when I saw this guy. Seems that a farmer had a good sense of humor, and perhaps a little too much time on his hands.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Lemon & Paeroa

After the Agrodome, I managed to convince Dad to swing by Tauranga on the way back to Auckland. Only an hour out of our way. I, of course, found a yarn shop. I ended up buying roving.

We then had a nice lunch by Mount Maunganui. When I was a child, we would stay in a lodge for a week right by the mount.

Lunch was lovely and I had a bit of chocolate cake as well. But you had to keep an eye on your food. Otherwise the little birds would be all over you.

After lunch I convinced Dad that we should walk around the mount for old time sake. It took less than an hour.

Plus the view of the sea is unrivaled.

After we left Tauranga, we drive for an hour and a half before stopping in Paeroa. I was unaware that Paeroa was well known for a soft drink, which I sampled next to the large bottle statue. The tagline on the bottle is excellent. It says, "World Famous in New Zealand."

Paeroa is also home to the scariest loo ever. When you go into the bathroom, this voice says, "The door is locked." Then some muzak is piped in. I got a round of "What the World Needs Now is Love Sweet Love." It was a little worried that the voice would start sounding like HAL and tell me I was locked in forever. No toilet needs to have that much technology.

The scenery on the way back was quite lovely. I don't think I'd care to leave.


We went to the Agrodome, which is in Rotorua, to see the sheep show. There are 19 rams presented in the show. The top ram was a Merino. He didn't seem to have much of a problem with the dog on top of it.

I hadn't seen the sheep show since I was was shorter than the sheep. I recall them frightening me. Not so much this time, although this fine looking fellow, a Border Leicester, was a bit more interested in the puff ball on top of my hat than I cared for.

It is lambing season in New Zealand right now. I got to feed the lambies. The ones who weren't getting the bottle sucked on my fingers. It tickled.

Across the parking lot from the sheep show was this gem.

With my favorite thing inside. Yarn.

I came away with a bit.

They had a 104 year old card on the inside, which is still in use. It seemed a bit longer than the ones we have at the Yolo Wool Mill. This card was made in England.

They also had a lovely collection of spinning wheels.

My favorite one was this. It was fashioned out of bits and bobs during the war, which I'm assuming was WWII.

I also found this lovely collection of signs in shearing shed. I already knew wool was excellent, but it was wonderful to learn why.

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