Friday, October 4, 2013

FSO - Another Place from a Visitor's Perspective

I first blogged about Alan Gibbs' farm in December, 2009.  I said then my preferred route to Auckland was not via State Highway One but rather the less popular SH16 which twists and turns, following the Kaipara Harbour most of the way.  I still prefer to have a second rate road to myself than to share a first rate road with others.  Still prefer the road less travelled.
One of the big attractions for me about SH16 is the 1,000 acre property, modestly named Gibbs Farm, owned by millionaire Alan Gibbs.  He bought the windswept site in 1991. Since then, he has commissioned sculptures featuring original works by local and internationally renowned artists. 
My fascination with the place has been growing since 2001 when a huge wall appeared on the landscape.  I now know it's dimensions - 252 metres longs x 6m x 50mm, made from 56 Corten steel plates.  It has always looked huge to me and now that I've stood beside it, I am even more impressed by it.  And it leans out by 11 degrees from the vertical.  And, contrary to how it looks from the road, it has beautiful sensual curves.   

I had been so thrilled when my friend Chris announced she had gained access for us to an Open Day at the farm.  That was late 2012.  I can still clearly remember how excited I was, I even tried to prepare myself for a little disappointment - surely nothing could live up to my expectations.   
Hah!  It was even better than I expected! 
I was so impressed by everything I saw at the farm.  Although it's so much more than a farm.  The farm it used to be didn't warrant a second look.  Believe me, I know, I've driven past that place regularly over many years.  Since falling into Mr Gibbs' hands it has become a place of beauty.  It's a sculpture park like no other.  The scale of the sculptures are deceptively disguised by the scale of the landscape but approaching them on foot, they grow and become more and more impressive as you draw near.  The size of some of them just took my breath away.  I felt dizzy looking to the top of the one I've known as the steel struts for the past year or so. Eash of the 8 pieces of Corten steel are 27 metres long, 0.75m square.

Thanks to Rebecca's photos of the quarry - they reminded me of this sculpture:

And that reminded me of the perfect place to take all my visitors this weekend.
To say thank you to Alan Gibbs falls way short. He allows the public to visit, for free, by prior appointment, about once a month.  It blows me away that I've visited one of the world's leading sculpture parks - and it cost me nothing.  I've been up close to monumental art works by some of the world's most famous artists - and I only had to travel an hour or so. 
Hope you enjoyed the visit.  You will notice a few other people in some of the shots.  We figured, from the number of cars in the carpark, that there were well over a thousand people there.  But at no stage did we feel crowded, the landscape seemed to swallow many or they looked like dots in the distance.
I look forward to some virtual travel this week visiting lots of new places.  They will be here.


  1. I always enjoy your visits here. It is a mind boggling place. I just wish it were next door to me.

  2. This place is very familiar to me, although I have never actually visited it, but driven past it on a regular basis as my parents live in Kaukapakapa and we have seen it change over the years - they more than me now I am in UK! I must try and see if I can get a visit next time I am over.

  3. Sorry, but all I can post is jealous.

  4. Oh yes, I wish I could visit there. Very striking photos for sure. I agree about the crowds. One of my photos is of The Alamo in Austen Texas USA. I was so shocked by how small it looked with all the modern buildings and landscape around it. My vision of it has always been standing all alone on a hillside. Of course that was a couple of 100 years ago.

  5. Sometimes I wonder where all the sculptures are - they certainly are not in my part of the country. Thanks for sharing.

  6. It's almost like a piece of Wonderland, or a Picasso painting with so many strange objects and sculptures surrounded by nature!

    Mersad Donko Photography

  7. Such lovely place to be for a photographer!

  8. It's worth a trip across the ditch just to see that!!! It's mind-boggling that not only is the owner using his money to make something meaningful, but that he's sharing it wit the public. Makes me realise how infrequently that happens!

  9. WOW...what a wonderful opportunity. There as a sculpture garden no to far from here that costs a fortune!

    Love your first image, so creative.

  10. Must be a really amazing place to visit. I do remember you showing some pictures from there before.

  11. An opportunity to be treasured and remembered always. When you first showed me the 'farm' I could never have envisaged from the outside what lay inside. I love these posts.


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