Monday, May 9, 2011

HDR at Waitomo

The Waitomo Caves Hotel that you can see in the centre of the first image in this post was built in three stages.  The first part of the building, the Victorian part, was completed in 1908 and was originally called the “Government Hostel at Waitomo”.  The architecture is typically New Zealand Victorian but is based on an Eastern European mountain chalet.  Victorian architect loved asymmetry and none of the hotel’s four walls or four corners are the same.  There were only six bedrooms for guests; the other rooms were an office/reception, kitchen, dining room and staff rooms.

By the mid 1920’s the “Government Hostel” was too small for the growing number of visitors to the Waitomo caves.  In 1928 the “concrete wing” was built.  This was the Art Deco period, which took its architectural influences from many sources.  The concrete pillars and facades are in the Cape Dutch style often seen in South Africa.  The use of thick concrete walls, decks and patios are an American influence and come from the Spanish missionary settlements in California.

In 1954 a liquor license was granted and the hostel became a Hotel.  In 1955 the Hotel became a part of the government owned Hotel chain called the Tourist Hotel Corporation.  In 1990 the Government sold the hotel lease to Southern Pacific Hotel Corporation who then sold the lease to Tourism Holdings Limited in 1996.

Click on the image to get an enlarged view .. you may then be better able to distinguish the different architectural styles in this grand old hotel.

The second image in this post is of the Mangapohue Natural Bridge ... you may recall a shot of this natural feature from my last posting.  You can just make out the lower "bridge" to the bottom left of the image and the uppser "bridge"at the top of the image.  The place was somewhat damp ... but still worth a visit.

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