Phillip Wong // The Articles

It’s easier to go to the gift store

28th December 2017

Parade on the Opernplatz in Berlin - Franz Krüger.

It was with great amusement that the security guard at the Alte Nationalgalerie and I watched this woman – clearly enamoured by Franz Krüger’s “Parade on the Opernplatz in Berlin” – painstakingly take close up photos across the entire width of this 3.74m painting. I don’t know what her end game was as she would only be able to reach the lower portion of the painting and her phone would only be taking average quality photos in this setting, but – hey! – each to their own.

White Island

4th December 2017

Walking towards the inner crater.

Amazingly, White Island is privately owned. Well, perhaps not amazingly. After its initial sale into private hands, several attempts to mine the island’s sulphur all turned sour (see what I did there) and eventually brought an end to any dreams of commercial success. Only the decayed remnants of those mining operations remain.

I don’t know how many active volcanic islands there are that you can visit, but this is one of them. It’s very accessible at a leisurely 1.5 hour boat ride from Whakatane and the tour itself is a gentle walk around the crater.

Hot tip: The tours to White Island are run by White Island Tours who also run the adjoining motel. You may as well stay there too so you can roll out of bed in the morning and walk the few steps to the tour office. You’ll also get a discount for staying and touring with them.