Japanese Tea Garden, San Francisco

The Japanese Tea Garden is a jewel in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.


This is the oldest Japanese garden in the United States. It was originally created for a Japanese village exhibit as part of the California Widwinter Exposition in 1894.

After the exposition Japanese landscape architect Makoto Haigwara developed the exhibit into to a permanent Japanese tea garden. Haigwara and his family lived on the property until World War II when they were evicted and sent to an internment camp.

The garden’s winding paths weave around pagodas, wooden bridges, rock gardens, koi ponds, and buddha statues.

There is a tea house serving Japanese refreshments. I had a cup of green tea with a slice of green tea cheesecake.

If you visit before 10am on Monday, Wednesday or Friday admission is free. The garden opens at 9am and closes at 4:45pm in winter and 6pm in summer. See their website for prices and seasonal hours.

The Japanese Tea Garden is located at 75 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, Golden Gate Park.








Yoda Fountain, San Francisco

The Yoda Fountain is a quick tourist stop for Star Wars fans, located outside the Letterman Digital Arts Center in San Francisco’s Presidio National Park.


The Letterman Digital Arts Center is home to Lucasfilm, hence why one one of the Star Wars franchises’ most popular characters stands outside.

The 26″ life-sized Yoda bronze statue stands was installed in 2005. During weekday office hours you can find more Star Wars memorabilia in the lobby. I didn’t see any of this as I visited during the weekend.

If you are visiting the Palace of the Fine Arts the Yoda Fountain is about a 10 minute walk.

The Letterman Digital Arts Center is located at 1 Letterman Drive.


Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco

The Palace of Fine Arts was constructed during the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition, a world’s fair held in San Francisco.


The Palace was designed by Bernard Maybeck in the style of Roman and Ancient Greek architecture. It is built around an artificial lagoon.

The structure was not built with durable materials as originally it was only intended to stand during the Exposition, which run from February 20th – December 4th, 1915.

Unlike many of the other buildings built for Exposition the Palace was saved. But due to its construction and vandalism it was in disrepair by the 1950s. In 1964 the structure was demolished and the Palace of Fine Arts was completely reconstructed.

Today it is a nice picnic spot or place to stroll. It is a very popular location for wedding photography.

The Palace of Fine Arts is located at 3301 Lyon Street.






Lombard Street, San Francisco

Lombard Street is San Francisco’s famous crooked street.


The one block in the Russian Hill suburb between Hyde and Lavensworth Streets with eight hairpin turns is what led to its title ‘the crookedest street in the world.’ Technically Vermont Street in Potrero Hill is actually the ‘crookedest’ street in San Francisco.

Russian Hill has beautiful stately mansions with manicured gardens and flower beds. You can either drive down the street or walk up and down the stairs.

The street was named after Lombard Street in Philadelphia, its switchbacks were built in 1922 to allow traffic to descend the hill’s steep incline.








Coit Tower, San Francisco

Coit Tower is a 64 metre (210 foot) tower on Telegraph Hill in San Francisco.


Coit Tower was paid for with a bequest from socialite and philanthropist Lillie Hitchcock Coit who died in 1929. The art deco concrete column tower was completed in 1933.

The interior features 27 murals painted in American Social Realism style by 26 artists.

It is free to enter the ground floor where many of the murals are located, but there are charges to take the elevator to the observation deck, which provides 360 degree views of San Francisco.

The tower is open April – October from 10 am to 6pm, and 10 am to 5 pm November to March. Last ticket is sold 30 minutes before closure.

Coit Tower is located at 1 Telegraph Hill Boulevard in Pioneer Park.










Fish out of Water

The Fish Out of Water Art Trail is an annual summer event in Rotorua. The decorated fibreglass fish are currently on display at Te Aka Mauri Rotorua Library.


The art trail, which ran from 20 December 2018 until February 3rd 2019, featured 13 fish decorated by local Rotorua artists.

This is the 14th year that the art trail has been held. This summer there was an extra roving fish ‘Captain Peggy Wetbeard’ that was displayed at various locations.

The 13 fish and Captain Peggy Wetbeard will only be at the library for another couple of weeks before they are painted white ready for the 2019/20 summer trail.

01 Plastic Ocean Siobhan Foster

‘Plastic Ocean’ – Siobhan Foster

03 Forest Fairytale Jemma Pirrie

‘Forest Fairytale’ – Jemma Pirrie

06. Aqualung my friend John Skudder

‘Aqualung my friend’ – John Skudder

07 Nanabozho The Rainbow Trout Lori-Ann Herder

‘Nanabozho – The Rainbow Trout’ – Lori-Ann Herder

09 Plastic Fantastic St Chads Charitable Trust Artists

‘Plastic Fantastic’ – St Chads Charitable Trust Artists

12 Cheshire Cat Fish

‘Cheshire Cat Fish’ – Nicola Wright, Grace McQuoid & Lauren Stephens

Moustache Milk and Cookie Bus

The Moustache Milk and Cookie Bus was in Rotorua this week.


Deanna Yang run the popular Moustache Milk and Cookie Bar in Wellesley Street next to the Auckland Civic Theatre for three years. She was forced to close the business in 2016 due to a 40 percent rent increase. Deanna crowd funded over $90,000 to take her business on the road.

A 1978 Bedford school bus purchased and fitted with a commercial kitchen. The front end of the 10 metre long bus has bench seating, while the back end houses a commercial kitchen, which they serve out of.

On Wednesday the bus was park in the back carpark of Digital Basecamp on Hinemoa Street. On Thursday the bus was parked at Te Manawa as part of the regular Thursday Night Market.

The bus is currently in Tauranga (February 2nd, 5th and 7th).







Oreo Marshmallow Cookie and Cookie Dough Shake