Central South Island

We decided to take advantage of some cheap flights to the South Island and have a wee roadie. Just four days. This is the sort of thing you can see on a short road trip in New Zealand.

Four easy days driving in the Central South Island. Christchurch, over Arthurs Pass to the West Coast. Night near Hokitika. South via Franz Josef and Fox Glacier, night at Fox for the Lake Matheson early morning shot. South to Haast Pass drive through Mackenzie Country for a night at Twizel. Aoraki/Mt Cook national park is only a short drive from Twizel. On to Geraldine for a night then easy drive to Christchurch and home. Basically this is a reasonably low cost long weekend away. Thursday through to Monday. We are very lucky to live here in New Zealand. Lucky As!

Arthurs Straight
Heading for Arthurs Pass
Arthurs Pass
Arthurs Pass

 

Lake Matheson Mist
Lake Matheson
Lake Matheson Mirror Lake
Probably the best morning conditions ever at Lake Matheson.
Okarito Lagoon
Okarito Lagoon
Lake Moeraki gap
Lake Moeraki
Haast Pass
Haast Pass
Mountains and Ferns
Lake Wanaka
Wanaka Reflection
Lake Wanaka
Hawea
Lake Hawea
Hawea Reflection
Lake Hawea
Hawea Lakeside
Lake Hawea
Road through Mackenzie
Mackenzie Country
Aoraki
Aoraki/Mt Cook
Roadworks
Road works!
Road trip
Aoraki/Mt Cook
Plains
Blue and Gold
Dementor
Dementors
Single Lane Bridge
Bridge
Valley
Glacial Valley
No Glacier
Distinct lack of Glacier
Look Back
Glacial Valley
Pukaki Reserve
Mirror
Pukaki Blues
Lake Pukaki

Seriously, the weather though!

Costs? About $200 for two return flights, Palmerston North to Christchurch. Rental car was about $250, Plus about $125 per night on average, motels and AirBnB. Basically about NZD $1000 plus food and drink, Pretty good I reckon.

 

 

 

 

The Lonely Mountain

I was looking at my photography blog and realised I hadn’t put a post up for a while. I was also considering the rubbish weather we have had over the past few weeks. I seem to remember the sun coming out, and staying out all day one Saturday.

For no good reason I decided to create a new post about one of our most iconic mountains. I titled this ‘The Lonely Mountain’ because Mt Taranaki occupies a place all by itself, far from other mountains. There is a Maori legend you might like to look up about how Mt Taranaki got all the way over to where it is, so far from the other large Volcanoes in the North Island. Mt Taranaki is actually a live volcano but it’s last activity was in 1860. It’s a pleasingly symmetrical mountain.

lake-view-taranaki
A nice photo of some Geese and Ducks in Lake Mangamahoe, with extra Mountain for effect.
te-rewa-rewa-bridge-sunrise
The Te Rewa Rewa Bridge is quite famous for looking like a Whale’s skeleton or something.
taranaki-distance
On a clear night you can see for miles. About 200 kilometres in this instance as this image of Mt Taranaki was taken from the Central Plateau.
taranaki-sheep
Sheep, relaxing.
taranaki-road-trip-2
Road trip, the road less travelled.
taranaki-from-himi-2
Like the earlier photo of Mt Taranaki really far away, this is farther. About 230 kilometres from Himatangi Beach.
mt-naki-triumph-cheese
They don’t make that anymore.
mt-naki-derelict
Cardiff. True story, not the Welsh Cardiff though.
mt-naki-rail-bridge
Cloudy coolness.
mt-taranaki-from-plateau
That’s also really far away. I just can’t remember where from.
odd-tree-and-taranaki
Tree weirdness.
cabbage-trees
Pastoral, volcanic.
mt-naki-african-tree
Looks like Kilimanjaro.
mt-naki-barn
I like a nice barn in my photos.
mt-naki-hay
Hey, Hay!
mt-naki-hydrandeas
Hydrangeas but not in anyones garden. Opunake side.
mt-naki-red-barn
Red barns are best.

So there you go. Epic Symmetrical live volcano, all by itself in Taranaki. Mt ‘Naki, as I like to call it, which is probably frowned upon by those who value pronouncing things properly, is mostly covered in cloud, so this lot took a while to accumulate. The mountain actually makes it’s own clouds. You’ll see that happening while you are driving around looking for a good place to take it’s picture.

 

Between the mountains and the sea.

New Zealand is a long but fairly narrow country. It’s 2,086 kilometres from one end to the other, but you are never more than 120 kilometres from the sea. What this means is that you can often see the mountains from the seashore, or the sea from the mountains. Which is nice. This gives many fetching photographic opportunities, such as these.

Rocky Beach, Kaikoura. It's not the name of the beach, merely an observation.
Rocky Beach, Kaikoura. It’s not the name of the beach, merely an observation.
Fishing boat in front of the Kaikoura Ranges. New Zealandness at it's most scenic, with a fishing boat.
Fishing boat in front of the Kaikoura Ranges. New Zealandness at it’s most scenic, with a fishing boat.
I could call this 'Chimney Seal. You may notice a loafing seal at the base of the old chimney. Looking across to the Kaikoura Ranges
I could call this ‘Chimney Seal. You may notice a loafing seal at the base of the old chimney. Looking across to the Kaikoura Ranges. Well I am looking at the Kaikoura Ranges, the Seal is not.
Those mountains are an awfully long way away from where I took this photo in the Wellington Harbour from the deck of the Interislander Ferry
Those mountains are an awfully long way away from where I took this photo in the Wellington Harbour from the deck of the Interislander Ferry
The newest Ferry in the Interislander Fleet, this is how we get from one island to another. You can fly but this a nicer way to go about it. That's the Kaiarahi.
The newest Ferry in the Interislander Fleet heading North for Wellington, this is how we get from one island to another. You can fly but this a nicer way to go about it. That’s the Kaiarahi. I took this from the ferry I was heading South on, towards Picton.
On a rough crossing in Cook Strait, the large bit of water between the North and South Island's you sometimes get these sea spray 'rainbows'. You have to be quick to photograph them as they come and go. Plus you risk a salt water soaking of your camera. You decide if it's worth it.
On a rough crossing in Cook Strait, the large bit of water between the North and South Islands you sometimes get these sea spray ‘rainbows’. You have to be quick to photograph them as they come and go. Plus you risk a salt water soaking of your camera. You decide if it’s worth it.
After a rough crossing of Cook Strait, turning into the Marlborough Sounds through the Tory Channel is like walking into a library off a busy street. A giant outdoor nature library on a sunny day sort of thing.
After a rough crossing of Cook Strait, turning into the Marlborough Sounds through the Tory Channel is like walking into a library off a busy street. A giant outdoor nature library on a sunny day sort of thing.
That's New Zealand's main road. State Highway One. The rail line beside it is the main rail route south. This is how we get about. It's nice here.
Once you’ve left the ferry in the South Island, the main road South is this one. That’s New Zealand’s main road. State Highway One. The rail line beside it is the main rail route south. This is how we get about.
Taking the Train in New Zealand is slow but scenic, this is the 'Coastal Pacific. I think they call it that because it follows the Pacific Coast but I'm just guessing at that.
Taking the Train in New Zealand is slow but scenic, this is the ‘Coastal Pacific’. I reckon Kiwi Rail named the train ‘Coastal Pacific’  because it follows the Pacific Coast but I’m just guessing of course.
I like a train track heading towards a mountain. The title of this post made reference to mountains. That's the biggest one in the North Island. Mt Ruapehu. It's quite far from the sea.
On the subject of trains, This the train that runs up and down the North Island. Kiwi Rail creatively named this one ‘Northern Explorer’.  I can’t think why though. In the title of this post I made reference to mountains and that’s the biggest one in the North Island. Mt Ruapehu. It’s quite far from the sea.
Inland, far inland, almost a whole hours drive the sea in one direction, well over two hours in the other.
Inland, far inland. But still less than an hour’s drive to the ocean if you head West.
The Ruahine Ranges, on the other side of them is Hawkes Bay.
The Ruahine Ranges, on the other side of them is Hawkes Bay.
Rainbow, kicking off an early morning, inland.
Rainbow, kicking off an early morning, inland.
Early morning Manawatu. I drive past this sort of thing from time to time. Manawatu is mostly flat, lying between the Rhine and Tararua Ranges and the Tasman Sea.
Early morning Manawatu. I drive past this sort of thing from time to time. Manawatu is mostly flat, lying between the Ruahine and Tararua Ranges and the Tasman Sea.
One day when I can afford better camera equipment than I have. I can capture this sort of amazing early morning scene better. Between the mountains and the sea. The Mountains are half an hours drive in front of me here and the sea is 15 minutes drive behind me.
One day when I can afford better camera equipment than I have. I can capture this sort of amazing early morning scene better. Between the mountains and the sea. The Mountains are half an hour drive in front of me here and the sea is 15 minutes drive behind me.
What better way to finish than with the sun dropping beneath the Western Horizon. I'm standing just feet from a public highway here and barely an hour from a mountain range behind me.
What better way to finish than with the sun dropping beneath the Western Horizon. I’m standing just feet from a public highway here and barely an hour from a mountain range behind me.