Free Public Art Destinations – South Island Edition

Sun mosaic art piece

Free public art destinations

The South Island of New Zealand Edition


Sun mosaic art piece

I think we all agree that Kiwis are a pretty crafty bunch. Looking at art can be inspirational, provocative, and give us something to talk about. Going to see a piece of art near you can be a fun destination so I’ve put together a list of public art pieces you can safely explore. These are all public access areas, but some may be inaccessible for those with mobility challenges, therefore I have tried to include as much information as possible. Destinations are listed from south to north. Please read on for the South Island edition of Free public art destinations

The Stumpery, Queens Park, Invercargill
Created by Invercargill artist Frank Well.

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This collection of stumps and gnarled tree roots is a fantasy world come to life. The stumpery is a collection of storm damaged wood and roots from peat bogs on the Awarua Plain. Combined with recycled railway sleepers. The stumperies twists and turns into all sorts of creatures. There’s a spiny dragon guarding her eggs, and as the wood slowly rots it becomes home to various insects, lichens, mushrooms, mosses and ferns. All of this makes it a sort of living art exhibit. For those who aren’t fond of the creepy crawlies, best not to look too close.

Hunt for street art in Invercargill and Bluff

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Invercargill boasts some seriously talented street artists. Plus Bluff, the southernmost town in the South Island has been given a recent colourful facelift. In Invercargill there is the huge image of ‘Mia’, a little girl in red band gumboots looking out over the central city from 20 Kelvin street. Another creation by the artist known as Deow is ‘The Ghost Bird’ which can be found at 354 Elles road. There is a stunning tribute to Burt Munroe, created by Graham Hoete at 16 Victoria avenue. Finally for this list (although there’s so many more I could include) is a vintage style mural (artist unknown) which depicts men and women going about their jobs on the side of the Invercargill workingmen's club. To inspire your own street art hunt check out streetartcities.com, and see if you can spot any new works to add to their list.

The Basket of Dreams
Created by Queenstown Artist Caroline Robinson

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The Basket of Dreams with snowy mountains in the background.

‘The Basket of Dreams’ sculpture is a large shallow basket capable of holding one or more people. It is located near the highpoint of the Queenstown hill walk. This walk is popular with locals and visitors. It is a 500m climb to the summit of Te Tapu-nui (otherwise known as Queenstown Hill. You begin from a small car park off Belfast terrace, near central Queenstown. Not only will you encounter this large scale sculpture, but some stunning views.

Kelvin Heights Sculpture Trail
Queenstown, New Zealand

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If sculpture is your thing, here’s another trail in the Otago region. At the end of Peninsula road in Queenstown is a three and a half kilometer loop circumnavigating the kelvin heights golf course. This trail can be walked or cycled and has four different sculptures along the way.

Hotere Garden Oputae
Port Chalmers

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Hetere Gardens Oputae Sign with information

One of Dunedin's best kept secrets is a hidden garden at the top of the flagstaff lookout in Port Chalmers. This unruly native garden was created in 2005, fulfilling the wishes of Ralph Hotere (1931-2013). Ralph Hotere was an important Maori sculptor and artist whose work can be found in the Otago art gallery, as well as collections all over the world. The garden is home to four sculptures. ‘Black phoenix ll’ by Ralph Hotere, ‘Brick Column’ by Russel Moses, ‘They do cut down the poles that hold up the sky’ by Shona Rapira Davies, and ‘Aramoana’ by Chris Booth.

South New Brighton Sculpture Park
Christchurch, New Zealand

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In South New Brighton you will find a sculpture park unlike any other. You might not notice these limestone carvings unless you were looking. The size of them is impressive and they blend beautifully with the sand dunes they're located in.

Mosaic Coach on Days Track
Nelson, New Zealand

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The Mosaic Couch was a community effort led by Ellie Fijn. It is a couch covered in concrete then a brilliant colourful mosaic.The couch is located near the high point of Days Track. Day’s Track is a sealed walkway in Nelson city. It is about 15minutes long and has many steps. How to get there: You can begin the track on Rocks Road, a few hundred metres past the traffic lights heading towards the City, or in the other direction from Toi Toi Street.




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