Smash Palace, Horopito


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Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Central Plateau
April 23rd 2022
Published: April 23rd 2022
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On my recent road trip to Auckland I stopped at the amazing Smash Palace.

What is Smash Palace? And why does the name sound familiar to you? It is an auto repair business. It is a museum. It is a car graveyard. It is a place that has featured in New Zealand films: "Smash Palace" (I can hear it all falling into place for you now), the original "Goodbye Pork Pie" and "Hunt for the Wilderpeople".

This is an absolute must see if you are travelling through the central North Island. It is north of Raetihi. Keep an eye out for the sign as you need to turn off SH4 and travel a few hundred metres to get to the entrance.

The museum costs $10 for an adult and $5 for a child. I had my 6 year old grandson with me who had zero interest in the museum which suited me. He just wanted to get in amongst the old vehicles. We had been in Auckland to see the T-Rex at the Auckland Museum and he had been very disappointed with it. Smash Palace quickly became the highlight of the trip for both of us. All we could say, as we walked round, was AWESOME!!!!!

I am clueless when it comes to vehicles. My grandson couldn't identify many either which was great as I am used to having every shark or dinosaur or fish or reptile painstakingly explained to me. All I know is that many of the vehicles are either old, very old or downright ancient! We even came across an old boat, buses, tractors and wagon wheels. I cannot imagine what it would be like seen through the eyes of a car enthusiast.

Keeping up with my grandson meant I had to grab photos on the run. One day I will go back and spend a day there, just soaking up the atmosphere and taking thousands of photos. Yes, I mean a day. It is impossible to describe how vast an area Smash Palace covers. Every time you think you have come to the end of the vehicles you find yourself looking at yet another paddock full of them piled on top of each other. And then you look across the road......

This will now be our place to stop on our way north. Stopping here took my grandson's mind off the rest of the winding roads ahead of us (he gets carsick) and used up some of his energy. I suspect I won't be able to go back there without him right beside me.


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