Wheel alignment

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Trippin' to the Top of the South - pt 1

Top of the South Island, NZ

Every year, we meet up with friends Mike and Georgina and go exploring, mainly road trips.  It has been a few years since any of us has spent any time at the top of the south island and in the case of Jennie and me, it was 2001 since we last visited the Golden Bay area! We flew to Nelson from Auckland, picked up a rental SUV and collected our friends from Wellington when they flew in a few hours later.

Before heading north west to Golden Bay, we all wanted to visit the world-class World of Wearable Arts (WOW) and automotive museum in Nelson. WOW is a spectacular annual fashion show of wearable arts held in Wellington, but which has its roots in Nelson where some of the past entries from around the world are on show.  The weight of some of the costumes must challenge the models on the catwalk!  It certainly didn't disappoint.  The level of detail on all the costumes was unbelievable.

Jennie and Georgina outside WOW entrance with a Plymouth Prowler

Some of the WOW exhibits

Errr... a bit of a weight to model on the catwalk!

Spectacular colours

Great use of black walls and mirrors

Stunning detail

A tad disturbing.....

Just brilliant!

The automotive side of the museum was just as spectacular with great care taken over the presentation of a lot of exhibits. There was a huge mix of vehicles from everyday family cars to absolute exotica.  Take the Cord roadster shown below as an example of being superbly displayed:

Magnificent setting

1955 BMW Isetta with a 250cc single engine

A pink Cadillac - thanks Mr Springsteen! 

Wolseley 6/110 - this is what Jennie and I did our courting (quaint word) in!!

1960's Austin Healey 3000 - still looks magnificent

I want one!!!!

Yes indeed, Mr Powers!

Arty-farty shot of the front of a 1915 Stutz Bearcat racer

Pure sex or what????

Ultimate trans-continental luxury - Maybach saloon

There was only a small display of bikes but a couple of them were quite rare (and ill-fated!).  The first was the Ducati-powered Bimota Tesi from the early 1990's.  It had centre hub steering and from memory, only 150-odd were ever built.

Ducati Tesi front end - not the prettiest front end ever

Another Bimota on display was the Bimota V-Due  V4 500 cc 2 stroke.  Released in 1997, rare as hen's teeth and it was also the bike which sunk Bimota.  A brilliant concept but a combination of both mechanical and electrical problems, selling price and EPA emission laws largely reduced them to static exhibits.  However, aftermarket upgrades are available which have apparently fixed the problems for the handful of loyal owners who didn't pass them on at the first opportunity to some wealthy sucker!

The ill-fated Bimota V-Due

A famous racing name and early road bike version

After a few well-spent hours of drooling down our shirts, it was time to get on the road and travel the 2 hours over the Takaka Hill to Golden Bay for the next part of our adventure.


  1. I think that you will be surprised how much of the northern part of the South Island is under vine compared with your last visit - especially down Blenheim way.

    1. I was surprised Jules! Even between Nelson and Takaka, vines have sprung up everywhere although orchards are still big land users in that area.

  2. You went over the Takaka Hill in an SUV? (shakes head).

    Must check out the car museum one day...another excuse to go South (along with sister there and their batch in Pakawau).

    1. Yeah, I know **hangs head**. You'll be pleased to know that I always moved over for bikes as soon as they appeared in the mirror though, and I still took Roadcraft lines and positioning! We came back through Nelson on the bikes in 2007 but didn't have time to visit the museum before heading for the ferry. The Golden Bay leg was the one I hadn't done since 2001.

  3. Wow, does that look like a fun place to spend a few hours. Too bad you and Jennie couldn't see if you'd still fit in the backseat of that Wolseley, wink wink. :-)

    Thanks for sharing.

  4. Hi Brandy,
    We were blown away with the quality of the exhibits, both fashion and automotive. I took Jennie and our daughter to the live wearable arts fashion show in Wellington a few years ago and that was outstanding too.

    Hahaha - happy memories! The Mk 2 Wolseley had reclining front seats but unfortunately, ours was a Mk 1. When you're young, it doesn't matter :-)

  5. Great pictures! The WOW is probably where Lady Gaga got her inspiration from.

    I am curious, Geoff, how "the courting" would have worked out for you if it had been in that Isetta ;-)

  6. Hi Sonja,
    Hadn't thought of that but you're right!
    You and Brandy are bad people, hehe! When you're young, there's always a way. When you're older, it's either impossible or requires large amounts of money spent on physiotherapy!

  7. Just caught up on this post Geoff. What an interesting place, not sure about the weird art works but what would I know right?
    Did you and Jennie hop in the back seat? Lol

    Nice to see one of those Bimota 500cc strokers what a find. Nice photos too Geoff.

  8. Hi Steve,
    Yeah, the wearable art was weird all right but the workmanship was breathtaking. Haha, a bit public for trying it on :-) .

    I remember An Auckland dealer trying to desperately sell one of those Bimotas by heavily discounting when rumours about reliability started to surface. I've ridden the Yamaha RZ500 equivalent which a mate owned. Surprisingly flexible to ride but the riding position was a killer. Your R1 would be sheer luxury by comparison!

  9. Nice pictures Geoff, I particularly liked the Wolseley which is closely related to the Austin Westminster both of which I drove as a young man in the then Rhodesia, lovely cars. My eye was really drawn to the black Mustang behind you though!

  10. Hi Andrew - great to hear from you!
    Yep, the Westminster was the Austin version with a higher spec interior if I remember correctly. Happy, carefree days eh?

    Yes, that Boss 302 was a stunner. So many brilliant cars to choose from!


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