Sunday, November 27, 2011

New Zealand Signs

When I travel, I love to take photos of signs. Some grab me because of the graphics; some because of the funny typos. Some signs have a way of summing up the nature of a country.

Without any more blather, here are some of my favorite signs from my recent trip to New Zealand; I hope you get a kick out of them.

The "Occupy" movement has made its way Down Under:

A chocolate shop with wheels in Wellington's harbor area:

Funny little stickers underfoot announcing a Halloween party (yes, they do celebrate Halloween in NZ, but it's not yet the over-the-top holiday it is here):

A gravestone from 1896 in Wellington's cemetery. The headstones of babies always get to me:

A bookstore in Wellington:

Metal plaque on a gate near Wellington's harbor:

The apron on an employee from the southernmost chocolate factory in the world (the plant is in the southern part of South Island):

*Sigh.* Why are some of the most beautiful buildings in the world pressed into service as American fast-food joints?:

A helpful sign on our rental car. Every time he slid into the driver's seat, The Hubby said out loud, "Keep left!" to help him remember how to drive there, where it's all on the "wrong" side of the road:

This road sign cracked us up. Sometimes it would be all by itself, like this:

...and sometimes it would have a little more explanation, like this:

At lunch one day, I noticed some silly copy on the side of my Diet Coke can (look at the red words):

This is a bar mat, on the counter of a bar in Collingwood. "Tui" is both the name of this bird, and a popular beer:

Turns out "Tinky" is the guy in the back of this dive that makes the meat pies:

In a grocery store in Blenheim, I was amused by the signs with different names for things. This is their granola bar section:

This shortening of the word "vegetables" actually comes in quite handy. Say it out loud a few times, and you'll get used to it quickly!:

Shopping carts are "trolleys":

Cookies are, of course, "biscuits." But what made me smile is the chocolate biscuits have their own signage (plain biscuits are farther down the aisle):

Some ketchup is labeled "ketchup," and some is "tomato sauce" but they are almost indistinguishable:

These are "jandals"--a mashup of "Japanese" and "sandals":

I guess in the States this sign would read "canned milk," but I prefer the NZ version:

In a garden shop in Blenheim, I was amused by the different names for veges (see how handy the word is?). This is the word for "bell peppers":

This is what they call Swiss Chard:

Sounds almost the same as "Bok Choy":

I saw this from afar and said, "Oh, that's gonna be called 'aubergine'!" Nope. Just "eggplant":

This sign got me all excited. But alas, kiwis are nocturnal birds. We never saw one on the road, or anywhere else, for that matter:

New Zealand is famous for its wineries. I practically drank my way across South Island. (I had a glass of wine every night. But for me, that's a lot!) This was one of my favorite labels, simply because of the look of it:

This was the view from our lunch table at The Store, a fabulous seaside restaurant near Ohau. You take the numbered block to your table, and a staffer brings your food and drink:

Also near Ohau was this sign. I find it amazing, because in the Los Angeles area, wild abalone (which New Zealanders call "Paua") hasn't been commercially available for, like, 40 years:

Kiwis are very protective of their animals:

Sugar packets in a motel in Kaikura:

A great sign for a beer-brewing company, featuring the Moa, an extinct, flightless--and huge!--bird:

More Moa-ness:

It turns out that the guy who put up these tongue-in-cheek signs and the statue of the Moa is the grandfather of our guide on Fox Glacier. Small world!

A"short black" = espresso. A "long black" = espresso with a lot of hot water added. A "flat white" = a cappuccino, but with less foam (so therefore, "flat"). A "fluffy" is a hot, milk-based drink for children:

In Christchurch, which suffered a devastating earthquake last February, we visited the hard-hit center of the city. Entire blocks are behind chain-link fence as engineers painstakingly pull down buildings beyond salvage, brick by brick.

Many establishments had spray-painted signs on their front doors, understandable to the rescue professionals and engineers, perhaps, but not to us:

Outside the off-limits area, there are still plenty of locked-up stores. Through the windows of a men's store, we could see folded shirts, still in their plastic sleeves, and dressed mannikins, all knocked down:

Are the folks who stuck up this sign opportunistic bloodsuckers? Funny promoters? Savvy business folks? You decide:

Natural disasters are part of the landscape. When hiking "in the bush," we always walked a bit faster past the areas with signs like this:

The New Zealand All Blacks recently won the Rugby World Cup--a very big deal! In celebration, a seafood restaurant in Kaikoura repainted its usually-red lobster:

A local high-schooler designed this mom-and-child-friendly sign I spotted in Hokitika:

Also in Hokitika, a sweets shop had these for sale. Why is this candy called "pigs"? I have no idea:

One of our traveling companions loved ordering Ginger Beer whenever he could. Some of the label graphics were very handsome:

In Hokitika, I spotted a pug. Not a live one, but on a poster:

I went bonkers over the beautiful circular and oval rocks on Bruce's Beach, some of which seemed to be painted with letters like little, natural signs. I saw a bajillion letter "O's":

I also found the letter "K":

and a lower-case "f":

This could be an "I" or a lower-case "l":

and this is clearly the letter "x":

On another beach, we came across signs of beachgoers past:

Folks signed a rock, then piled them up on this boulder:

In the jade shops lining the streets of Hokitika, this gorgeous chunk of nephrite jade, about the size of a small dog, lay resting underneath a fairly unnecessary sign that read "Security Camera in Operation."

No, really?:

One of the highlights of our trip was hiking up to Fox Glacier and walking with crampons on our boots around its ethereal, blue/white beauty. On the way up, we encountered these sobering signs:

Back at a restaurant near the glacier on Lake Matheson, I spotted these wonderful, vintage tins:

In the same restaurant, this wall art looked like signage:

Another exclamation sign. This one warned that only one person at a time could be on a footbridge:

Why? Maybe because this is what the footbridge looked like:

Yeah, that'd do it!

Here's another serious sign. "1080" is the common name for a poison laid out to help reduce the out-of-control possum population on the islands:

We hiked through temperate rain forests that get 20 feet of rain per year. That's a lot! At the end of the day, this was a welcome sign at the Lake Moeraki Wilderness Lodge:

It's a special room with a heater set on "low" and a fan to recirculate the air, so boots dry out slowly overnight:

This amusing sign caught my eye near a visitor's center. The center's boardwalk was a poor place to ride a bike:

I love the simplicity and artistry of this weather vane sign atop the Hard Antler Cafe and Bar:

No matter how carefully one tries, typos happen. The mountains here apparently "inspried" fear:

Kiwis display some of their national sense of humor in their signage. Here's a car for rent:

A car advertising a wildlife park:

At a winery, this small wine silo was known as "Caroline":

At the same winery, a sign warned guests away from an off-limits area:

And lastly, this sign describing the delicious desserts at a lakeside restaurant:

Next up: New Zealand food!


  1. That was fun! I'm really enjoying your post-NZ posts. Keep 'em coming!


  2. WOW! Fabulous stuff!! And thanks for the hair tip!

  3. Juli- It looks like your trip was amazing! Thanks for sharing the wonderful photos!

  4. Was looking through Google from this time and I'm laughing that I found myself from back then 😂



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