If you’re thinking of picking up a Christchurch car hire and heading north, there’s one great track you can follow that will serve as your cultural education for the trip.
Unlikely as it sounds, you can follow an art trail from Kaikoura to Nelson as you head up the east coast of the South Island.
It will give you the chance to jump out of your car rental and stretch your legs, look at some of the finest local Kiwi art on offer, and smell the roses – or at least, the oils and acrylics.
First stop is the Two Sister Gallery in Culverden and Carol Moffatt’s Culverden Gallery just down the road.
If you head up through to Havelock, Marlborough, you’ll find Lindsay Jefferis and his small gallery. He is a realist painter, calling his artworks ‘distinctively New Zealand’ flavoured, and running his country cottage as a gallery in what the Kiwis would call ‘the wop-wops’ (New Zealand slang for somewhere in the middle of nowhere!).
His stunning scenes are worth a thousand words – some of which would be ‘picturesque’, ‘idyllic’ and ‘spectacular’.
If you want to see a true creative genius at work, pay a visit to Rebekah Codlin and her gallery at the Slip Inn Restaurant in Havelock.
She also has paintings for viewing at the Terrace Downs Luxury Resort in Christchurch and the Brancott Estate Heritage Centre in Marlborough. You’ll struggle to decide what is more impressive, the realism and emotion in the works themselves, or the fact that Rebekah is just 19 years old.
Of notable mention are the array of galleries in Nelson. This area is famed for its creative abilities, but two stops not to be missed are the Wearable Arts Museum and the Hoglund Glass studio.
The benefit of taking a car on this kind of journey is that you get to visit anywhere you like. You might even find some more hidden artistic gems around the countryside, and who knows, maybe you’ll be inspired by the stunning scenery to paint something for yourself.