As Big Ben announces the hour of the day to the people of London, the same tune sounds out across the Town Basin in Whangarei some 18,000 kms away on the other side of the world.
The chiming-in-unison is a legacy from Archibald Clapham, an Englishman who settled in Whangarei in the early 1900s.
An engineer by profession, Archibald was also an avid collector of clocks and used to open his home for people to see his extraordinary collection crammed into the family lounge.
The collection, regarded as the quirkiest and most historically significant in the Southern Hemisphere, is now available for all to see in the Clapham’s National Clock Museum in the heart of Whangarei.
There are hundreds of time pieces and music boxes ranging from the very rare to the super quirky ‘Nark’, a clock redesigned by Archie to work anti-clockwise travelling backwards in time.
While in Whangarei make sure you also make time for the other attractions of this beautiful sun drenched city.
Our top 10 highlights include:
Mount Parihaka lookout – climb up to the lookout for panoramic views of the city and harbour
Whangarei Falls - travel just 5kms from the city centre to see the most photographed falls in the country. It’s a very pleasant walk and a great spot for a picnic
AH Reed Kauri Park – take the canopy walkway ( wheel chair friendly) through this magnificent remnant of the original Kauri forests that covered Northland
Diving – head north to Tutukaka for the opportunity to learn to dive, take a diving charter or do your own thing in the Poor Knights Islands , one of the premier marine and nature reserves in the world
Other water pursuits – make the most of this stunning coastline with your choice of fishing, sea kayaking, surfing, swimming or just soaking up the sun on the beach
Mountain biking – take to the trails in Glenbervie Forest, a haven for mountain bike enthusiasts
Arts and crafts – get a feel for the artistic bent of the region which is purported to be home to more artists and craftspeople than anywhere in the country. There are numerous galleries and studios open to the public
Food & Wine– buy the best and freshest of local wares from producers at the Whangarei Growers Market held every Saturday morning at the Water Street car park. The city also has many notable restaurants and cafes plus wineries and New Zealand’s oldest microbrewery
Botanica Whangarei – see the largest collection of native ferns in New Zealand
Museum & Kiwi Heritage Park – get a taste of Northland history, observe the native Kiwi and take the chance to walk or picnic in the surrounding 25 hectares of park lands
And a lucky number 11 is a visit to Whangarei Heads.This stunning peninsula is often visible from flights departing from, or arriving at, Whangarei Airport and it's a very short journey away from there.
Catch the spectacular scenery from rugged volcanic peaks to beautiful bays and coves.
Air New Zealand flies between Whangarei and Auckland and Wellington connecting it with 24 other destinations on its domestic network. For information and to book flights to Whangarei visit www.airnewzealand.com