Lonely Planet Review

Lost Gypsy Gallery occupies a roadside house bus at Papatowai. Based on found objects and specialising on self-wound automata and things that go whirrr, this place is guaranteed to make you both laugh and think. A fascinating gallery (admission $5, young children not allowed sorry…) showcases some of artist Blair Sommerville’s larger one-off pieces. We especially like the TV that runs on bicycle power. Blair’s always up for a good chat, and there’s also a funky coffee caravan and wi-fi.

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Trip Advisor Reviews

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An unexpected Wonderland (well a small wonderland)

5 of 5 starsReviewed 2 May 2014

Have stopped off in the Catlins to see Blair’s Lost Gypsy Gallery more than once; it really is a lot of fun. The caravan is free to enter and look around ( i think) all the quirky toys are made there. A model train runs around at head height activating things as it goes. There are so many interesting things to see. Entry into the upper area costs 5 bucks but it is very cool ; everything is interactive l from a push button kind of interaction to peddling a bike to make at TV run. Not only are there some really clever pieces but many are really beautiful. Like watching an old stylized movie.
This place appeals to adults and kids alike. There are gurglers and other items to buy in the caravan; There is even a cafe bus to have a quality coffee while you are there! Well worth a visit.

Paul O

5 of 5 starsReviewed 15 April 2014

On our end-to-end drive in New Zealand, Nov 2013, we drove through Catlins, one of the best parts of our drive. The lost gypsy gallery of Papatowai can be missed by those who do not know about it, as you drive past, this is a less advertised, less known quirky little place and actually a MUST SEE place to spend an hour on. Even people living in and around Catlins have missed this and so have many NZ travellers. But for my thorough research on the area, I would have driven by without seeing this astonishing little alcove of surprises. The owner of the caravan, Blair Somerville is a genius at work, all things in the exhibition created by this wizard, a series of interactive artworks, a pinnacle of do it yourself, if you will. You have a coffee shop there, a curio shop there and much more that would linger in your memory for years to come. This is utterly unique, I smile even as I think of this place months after the trip, will take you back to your school day memories where you pottered with basics of engineering and tools. There’s a 5$ entrance to get into the special gallery, but worth every penny, a gem of a place waiting to be discovered.

ARKZ

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