New Zealand is one of those countries that’s on almost every traveler’s bucket list – and for very good reason. It’s a stunningly beautiful place and our amazingly varied landscape capture everyone’s hearts.
There are some tourist attractions to see here that are a little stranger than yet another gorgeous mountain range or another perfectly sun-kissed lake with snow capped hills in the background.
We’ve started from the North and headed South to give you a tour of 15 of New Zealand’s must-see, wonderfully weird tourist attractions for your next New Zealand adventure.
Kawakawa’s Hundertwasser Toilets
These bathrooms were designed by Friedensreich Hundertwasser in 1998. They were built with the help of the local community and used locally recycled materials to create these beautiful public toilets. It’s one of the few public loos in the world where you might actually want to take a selfie!
Dargaville’s Kumara Box
This is a family farm come tourist attraction run by ‘Ernie the Kumara King.’ Ernie, whose real name is Warren Suckling, will take you on a trip around his kumara farm on a tractor powered train. He’ll show you the kumara shed, his kumara memorabilia and answer any questions you might have about kumara farming. You’ll also get to see New Zealand’s smallest church and can even join the family for a snack, sampling kumara based cuisine.
You can find out more and make bookings at their website,
Paeroa’s L&P Bottle
L&P is one of those curious things about New Zealand. Us New Zealanders love it, and so do most visitors who try it once they get over the idea that it’s fizzy. Paeroa is an amazing, often overlooked New Zealand town, and it’s definitely worth a visit. While you’re there, stop in at the big L&P bottle. It’s right on the main street and at 7 metres high, it’s hard to miss.
Interestingly, this bottle is the third weird creation of Paeroa – the first was a rocket ship that was erected in the 1967 holiday season to commemorate the moon landing. The following year, a big L&P bottle was erected in the middle of the main street. After that had proved to be a traffic hazard, a similar bottle was constructed in its current resting place.
Ohaupo’s Tree Church
Barry Cox is the creator of this amazing Tree Church in Ohaupo. The project was inspired by his love of churches and demonstrates how quickly beautiful gardens can be created almost instantly with the right tools.
Barry’s Tree Church and surrounding gardens were created in 2011 and opened to the public in 2016. They will continue to grow and change over their lifetime. Check out his website for amazing pictures of the stunning tree Church and details on how you can visit.
Morrinsville’s Herd of Cows
Morrinsville is a dairy town, which is why this work of art is perfectly at home here. Herd of Cows is an art installation of 42 life-size cows. Each cow is painted by local artists, sponsored by local businesses and people. Each one has a unique story, which you can read about here. If you’re a pun-lover, you definitely shouldn’t miss this.
Te Puke’s Giant Kiwifruit
We’re really into giant statues of everyday things in New Zealand, and here’s another one. I’d love to say this list contains them all, but some didn’t make the cut onto this list.
Te Puke is New Zealand’s kiwifruit capital, so it’s fitting there’s a giant kiwifruit here. Te Puke’s kiwifruit is hard to miss given its size. It’s attached to a kiwifruit farm where you can take a tour and learn about the growing process.
Tirau’s Giant Dog, Sheep and Ram
This is my personal favourite of the bunch. Tirau is known for corrugated iron art and sculptures, so the giant corrugated iron sheep, dog and new ram are perfect additions to Tirau. You’ll find Tirau’s information centre inside the dog. It’s definitely worth stopping in one of the many great cafes in Tirau and taking a look around – see how many corrugated iron artworks you can find!
Te Kuiti’s Shearer
Te Kuiti is known as the town which produces amazing shearers, including Sir David Alexander Fagan who is New Zealand’s best sheep shearer – maybe the best in the world, given he’s won the wold championship five times! It’s appropriate that Te Kuiti, the ‘Sheep Shearing Capital of the World’ is home to a huge stone carved sheep shearer statute.
Ohakune’s Big Carrot
Another classic ‘giant statue of ordinary things’ lives in Ohakune. This one is a carrot that towers nearly 8 metres high. The statute was donated to Ohakune in recognition of all the carrots produced in the area after it was used in a television ad for ANZ Bank. The statute is just off the main road – you can see it from the road. Don’t worry about finding it – according to Wikipedia; it’s ‘reputedly the world’s largest model carrot’ so it’s easy to spot.
Taihape’s Giant Gumboot
Taihape is known as the ‘Gumboot Capital of the World’ (do you see the theme here?) because it was Fred Dagg’s hometown. Fred Dagg is a character created and acted by iconic New Zealand satirist John Clarke who embodied the stereotypical New Zealand farmer. The giant corrugated iron gumboot was erected in honor of one of Fred Dagg’s song ‘Gumboots,’ a modified version of A kettle, came from the old camping billy. Connolly’s ‘If It Wasna For Your Wellies.’
Taihape also holds a Gumboot Day every year, complete with events including a gumboot throwing competition that every New Zealander or visitor should attend once in their lives.
Wellington’s Bucket Fountain
Cuba Street is a busy arty street in the middle of central Wellington. The Cuba Street Bucket Fountain which has been around since 1969 is one of Wellington’s most iconic art pieces. It’s bright buckets tip water from the top to the pool below. Of course, in Wellington’s wind, lots of the water ends up blowing out of the fountain.
If you catch the fountain in late February/early March, you’ll often find students have poured dishwashing liquid into the Bucket Fountain creating a bubbly delight. The Bucket Fountain often features in celebrity insta-selfies – Elijah Wood apparently peed in it while in New Zealand filming Lord of the Rings!
Springfield’s Giant Doughnut
New Zealand’s own Springfield has a giant pink doughnut covered in sprinkles in the middle of town. It was gifted to Springfield (and lots of other same-named towns around the world) by 20th Century Fox as part of a marketing campaign to promote The Simpsons Movie which was released in 2007. The doughnut was set on fire by an arsonist a few years ago, but thankfully it was replaced in 2012 by a fire-proof doughnut and is still there in all it’s glory waiting for your visit.
Cardrona’s Bra Fence
Cardrona Valley is a beautifully winding scenic road near Wanaka. The Cardrona Bra Fence is an amazing tourist attraction which started appearing in 1988 when locals noticed some bras mysteriously hooked to a fence one morning. Rumour is some women celebrating New Year’s at the local Cardrona Hotel left them there for safekeeping. The fence is now home to thousands of bras left the by visitors. It’s almost impossible to resist leaving yours.
They also have a collection box to collect money for the the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation. Check out the bra fence’s Facebook page – they regularly update how much money has been raised for this excellent cause.
Dunedin’s Whakamana Cannabis Museum
The Whakamana Cannabis Museum is run by Abe Gray, a New Zealand drug reform advocate. Abe sometimes also appears on New Zealand Radio talking about drug reform. The museum will take you through the history of marijuana, its legal status in New Zealand and its uses. If you’re interested in Cannabis or drug reform, definitely check this out. The museum is also on AirBnB, so you can stay the night if you’re so inclined.
Riverton’s Giant Paua
Tucked right at the bottom of the South Island, this amazing 4-metre paua shell is something you need to see with your own eyes. This giant paua shell is decorated with beautiful pieces of real paua. Take a look, then head to one of the nearby restaurants to grab yourself a paua fritter, one of the delicacies of the deep south.