About us



I am very sorry to have to report that my wonderful husband and partner in every way, Cliff, died on December 10 2016 after an intense 172 days with cancer. We were both lucky and blessed that Cliff was able to stay at Arnold Acres until the end.

I’m fortunate to live on 2.5 acres on the Arnold River of the West Coast of New Zealand. Although retired I enjoy doing freelance graphic design. After moving to New Zealand over 30 years ago, I’m proud to say I became a New Zealand citizen on February 19 2016.
With lots of time, we baked everything from scratch and had a vegetable garden and small orchard. I still grow some food but am more interested in  growing flowers now.
Keeping our land looking good kept us busy. We did a little woodturning and fiddled around in our workshop, practised yoga and went out with a walking group every second Wednesday—there are many beautiful walks within a few hours drive. Now it’s up to me to keep our place looking good but it’s not a chore, everywhere I turn there are happy memories of my time here with Cliff.

The photo in our blog header is part of the view from our kitchen window. No wonder we liked cooking so much!


CliffLife here with Cliff was so good, there is no reason to change his short biography written several years ago.

I am a fully retired typographer. After spending 40 years in the pre-press area of the printing trade I am happy to be spending my days on our beautiful property we have on the West Coast.

Like Clare I spend most of my days either working on our patch of land or (especially when it rains) being inside either baking, playing the piano or on the computer developing programs mostly for fun. Life is good here on the coast, every day is an adventure.

10 Responses to About us

  1. Barbara Mulligan says:

    Hello Cliff. My husband & I are about to complete a book on NZ’s “ghost” railways which will be published by the end of this year by Grantham House Publishing. I have included a short paragraph on the Rewanui Incline advising readers it is accessible for walkers and cyclists only (our book is aimed at the traveller in an ordinary car, outlining what can be seen from the roadside). If possible I’d like to include a reference to your blog about the Incline which I have found most interesting.

    It would be great to hear from you about this in the next few days – we are due to hand over the manuscript to the publisher on Wednesday next week.

    Many thanks

    Barbara Mulligan

    • Clare says:

      Hi Barbara, we’d be pleased to have a link to our blog and look forward to seeing your book. All books about New Zealand walks, tracks and drives are a good resource for travelers, nature and history lovers.

  2. diane hill says:

    Hi Cliff and Clare. Your life sounds idyllic and as I know the area ,I am envious. while researching I found your site and find it very interesting. thanks. My Grandfather Frank Sparks was the contractor who built the Arnold river dam., , employing many single men with concrete filled hand barrows , during the depression. My mother and her sisters attended school at Aratika.
    In future I hope to do the rambles you have descibed . Diane Hill

  3. Clare says:

    Hi Diane, local history is very interesting. Thanks for your additions about your grandfather building the bridge. Where do you live now?

    • diane hill says:

      Hi Clare I live at Diamond Harbour .I am Hoping to inspire my family to make the trip over sometime. At present I am compiling our Family history , which includes my grandparents lives during the depression , on the coast.Do you know if the old school house is still standing at Aratika?If so I would be keen to take photos.I have obtained some nice shots of the dam from the internet.

  4. Peter Burke says:

    Hi Cliff and Clare I am investigating growing avocados in my backyard in christchurch.I have watch your video regarding your project planting avocados and I am keen to give it a go* all the people I have spoken in gardens centres and canterbury horticultural society don’t have much faith that it will work here due to the cool temperature*I guess where you are the climate won’t be to disimilar and I’m keen to know how yours have progressed*I would be graceful for your advise thanks pete

    • Clare says:

      Hi Pete,
      I strongly advise you to contact Houshang at Avopro (search for Avopro on the internet). Houshang has all the knowledge you would need. He knows much more than anyone at any garden centre about growing avocados. I’ve made two blog posts about our avocados, make sure you read both of them. They are under “In the Garden” in our blog’s menu bar. Our trees are doing very well but we have followed Houshang’s advice to the letter. We’ll cover them with frost cloth when the time comes.
      It is an expensive proposition which is why we think it is imperative to deal with Houshang if you want to be successful. Good luck.

  5. Diana McArthur says:

    My partner Jim (woodturner, gardener, ex-farmer) and I (walker,gardener, ex nurse) are travelling from Queenstown up the West Coast, after Easter, in a motor home. After discovering your blog through Get Growing I was wondering whether we could possibly visit you? Diana
    P.s. my maiden name was Arnold!

  6. Veronica says:

    Hi Clare,

    Would it be possible to buy some cranberries from your wonderful garden?


    • Clare says:

      Hi Veronica, I don’t grow them, I think Wild Ruby Cranberries are the only ones but they seem to be off the radar for the time being. Countdown advertises frozen cranberries. Good luck!

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