The fantastic Cabinet of Obscurities

Last day of season Tue 26 April

The Lost Gypsy is an automata gallery and theatre experience created by the New Zealand artist Blair Somerville.

"Life is just inspiring to create artwork"

The Winding Thoughts Theatre

The Masterpiece

This is it. The Theatre of Winding Thoughts. This museum is a dedication to tinkering, and houses Blair’s masterpieces. Walk through the gate, wander up the path and find three converted water tanks filled with numerous ready-to-be-played-with automata. No visit to the Lost Gypsy is complete without seeing its main attraction. It’ll be the best thing to remember on your Catlins trip, I promise.

If you want to have a feel of the place, start with the Gallery (in the bus) which is free admission. Have a play with the smaller automata art there. Then, buy your tickets to the Theatre ($8) and walk up to see the good stuff.

Hours of Operation

~ Last day of season is Tue 26 April ! ~

10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Closed on Wednesdays

late April – late October

The Lost Gypsy Gallery

A wonder-filled world of moving mechanical devices

In the beginning, there was … the bus. Having morphed into ‘The Lost Gypsy Gallery’ (1999) this old Leyland house bus has undergone multiple transformations and at least 10 coats of paint. Since then, Blair has obsessively filled the bus with his automata creations, donated curios and personal memorabilia.

It’s free admission. Come along for the ride; wind handles, push buttons, and let the Gypsy’s creations put a smile on your face. If the bus tickles your brain, you’re gonna have a hell-of-a-good-time in the Lost Gypsy’s museum, The Winding Thoughts Theatre (buy your tickets in the bus).

Coffee & Cakes

Grab a coffee at the Little Rocket

The must-have break on your road trip, here at the quirky coffee cart in The Catlins. Take a bite from Carol’s homemade bakeries and spoil your eyes with Lost Gypsy treasures. Sipping from the best coffee in town, in a beautiful mosaic courtyard. Trust me, it can’t get much more authentic than this.


Rewarding the curious since 1999

Hello! This is us, the artists behind The Lost Gypsy. We are proud to show you our ‘little paradise’ and the artworks that we made for it. It’s a labour of love, and a joy to share it with you, the travelers, from all over the world.

Blair Somerville came to Papatowai over two decades ago. He’s the tinkerer, the brains, the charmer. The Lost Gypsy is his life project, and almost all that you see is by his hand.

His (now) fiancée, Sandra van der Sommen, came to meet Blair in 2018, and it was love at first sight. She draws and paints, and helps Blair with the Gallery and Theatre. We usually hang out in the Gallery, and are happy to answer all your questions.

If you want to know more about us & how the Lost Gypsy came about, check out the button below.

The Lost Gypsy Blair and Sandra in front of The Bus
The Lost Gypsy Stained Glass Window

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