Discovering Stratford in Taranaki

Now that we are experienced dairy farmers, thanks to yesterday’s milking session, it’s time to leave Vanessa, Andrew and the kids’ farm. Vanessa loads us up with free range eggs, lemons grown in the garden, and even some fuel vouchers. We leave our hosts with some awesome memories and a dream of making lemon juice.

Stratford, here we come! Not only are we pretty excited to see the town with the best accesses to Mt Taranaki, but we are intrigued by its Shakespearean obsession. Back in the day, a Shakespeare fanboy proposed that the street names of Stratford be named after the works of the English writer. From then on, Stratford went all out on making Shakespeare “their thing”. There’s a Stratford Shakespeare Society, there has been Shakespeare Festivals, and there is the pride of Stratford: The Glockenspiel. That is our first port of call today.

A spiel about a glockenspiel

Hold onto your hats, because New Zealand’s only glockenspiel is located right in the centre of Stratford! Glockenspiel literally mean “playing clock”. This huge Edwardian-style clock tower is hard to miss on Broadway Street, however, Laura completely misses it because she is too amazed by the public toilets decorated as if from Shakespearean times!

“We only have 5 minutes before it starts! Where’s the glockenspiel?!” Laura yelps as she runs around the public toilets.

“We are stood right underneath it, you moron,” Robin lovingly replies with his famous French tact.

That’s right, this overgrown clock tower plays a Shakespeare-inspired performance at 10am, 1pm, 3pm and 7pm every day. We’d be fools to miss it, we tell you, fools!

Two love birds on the Stratford Glockenspiel Two love birds on the Stratford Glockenspiel
The moment Laura realises her ridiculous spelling mistake The moment Laura realises her ridiculous spelling mistake
Lush coffee and games at Cafe x.o.x Lush coffee and games at Cafe x.o.x
Crossing the swingbridge over the Patea River Crossing the swingbridge over the Patea River

The best show on Broadway

The best place to stand to watch the performance is from across the street, but some person had the wise idea to place a pedestrian crossing (zebra crossing) right in front of it. So Laura had to move Robin away from the crossing several times when cars kept stopping for him. F*cking tourists.

Indeed, at 1pm, the bells start to chime to announce the best show on Stratford’s Broadway, Romeo and Juliet. Out of the speakers plays some high pitched music with voices of Romeo and Juliet saying… something. We have no idea. It echoes far too much around the streets to make out what they are saying (something from the Shakespeare play, we guess). But hell, we don’t need to hear voices! We have these errrrm lovely figurines of Romeo and Juliet slowly emerging from one window of the clock tower to the next, until eventually they emerge from the same window where we can only assume they are finally together at last.

It’s cool to see locals just stopping for five minutes between their hectic farming lifestyles to look up at a clock tower, before moving on with their day. That’s exactly what we feel like doing now.

So “teat” is not spelled “tit”?

We want to have a quick walk around Stratford – see what’s going on in town. We go to an art gallery. We leave an art gallery. We go into some op-shops for board game inspiration. This time we are unsuccessful. We go into the i-SITE and see a flyer for a dairy farm selling raw milk “Straight from the teat”.

“Oh my God, nooooo!” Laura exclaims.

“What’s wrong with you?” Robin replies snootily from under his nose.

Laura gets out her phone and manically starts editing the blog post from yesterday. “I kept writing ‘tit’ instead of ‘teat’.” Yes, for anyone who saw yesterday’s blog post, Laura was throwing our sentences like: “Squeeze the tit hard enough, and the milk will catch some metres”. Hilarious as that is, people should know that “teat” is part of a cow’s udder, not “tit”.

And then we find this quirky cafe!

How to procrastinate in a Stratford cafe

After about 30 minutes of cracking up in the i-SITE, we find a quirky little cafe/art gallery called Cafe x.o.x. Not only did we get some mean coffee and homemade cake, but the cafe also had board games on the tables! Robin is buzzing right now at playing Solitaire and Connect Four. This is a good place to keep out of the rain for a couple of hours, talk with the lovely cafe owner and procrastinate from doing the grocery shopping.

We leave with some homemade chocolates to start our grocery shopping off.

Finding the Stratford Swingbridge

Food bought, we are now parked up in the Stratford Holiday Park. It’s almost dark, but we are keen to go for a wander into the park behind the holiday park. Vanessa had told us about a swingbridge worth checking out, so we wander aimlessly until we find it hidden among the trees. Admittedly, the walking tracks in the park are a good indication that we would have stumbled upon the bridge eventually.

We watch the Patea River flow beneath us, while the strong winds make the bridge bob up and down. Now that all we can see is moonlight, it’s a good idea to head back to the holiday park, have some of Laura’s famous burritos and for Robin to experiment making lemon juice.

Laura and Robin

A nighttime stroll in Stratford
A nighttime stroll in Stratford Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

Want more?

Word on the street is, tomorrow is going to be better weather, so hopefully we’ll be seeing some more of that might Mt Taranaki in the Egmont National Park. Until then, like us on Facebook, follow our pins on the HerePin app, and check out these useful articles:

See you tomorrow!

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