The Lost Gypsy Gallery – Papatowai, New Zealand - Atlas Obscura

The Lost Gypsy Gallery

Papatowai, New Zealand

This quirky collection is an interactive exhibit crammed with creative contraptions and tinkered-with toys. 


While traveling southbound from Dunedin toward Invercargill, take a detour through the Catlins to the sleepy village of Papatowai. Once there, stop at the Lost Gypsy Gallery, where artist Blair Sommerville has spent nearly two decades tinkering with random curiosities to create his interactive exhibit.

The abundance of gadgets and gizmos make it seem like this is the unconventional laboratory of some sort of mad mechanic with a penchant for converting everyday items into bizarre creations.

Step inside the green caravan, which is packed with delightful doohickeys like kinetic sculptures, automated contraptions, and other tinkered-with toys and technologies. Outside, you’ll find a garden packed with gadgets powered by water or wind made from found objects like coins, shells, and wire.

Crank a handle to make an iron whale look like it’s swimming through the air or hop on a bike to turn on a television. Be sure to enter The Winding Thoughts Theatre of Sorts to check out a repurposed old-fashioned hair dryer, where the sounds of a kakapo will fill your ears.

There’s even a funky little coffee caravan on the site, so you can grab a quick cuppa something hot and caffeinated to power you through the rest of your road trip.

Know Before You Go

It's closed on Wednesdays and closed entirely throughout the winter.

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