The Far End Of The World.

I recently had to return to England over Christmas, I say had to, I was happy to go of course. It’s been over 3 years since I returned home to New Zealand from my 20 plus years living in England. I was interested to see how it would look as a visitor, rather than a resident. I took my camera. What England mostly looked like, was foggy, although we did have a sunny day, so that was nice. Images in no particular order.

blitz
St Paul’s with Blitz memorial statue.
bridge-crossing
Looks like a Russians outing. Not sure it isn’t.
cafe
Corner of Frith and Old Compton Street in Soho. Spent many good nights round here.
modern-art-creation
Standing on top of the Tate Modern Art Gallery. I decided to try my hand at making some modern art, I didn’t have any crayons though, so I used my camera. I expect the Tate Modern will  be in touch any day to ask if they can hang this in the foyer of the gallery.
modern-art-moment-2
People having a modern art moment in the boiler room of the Tate Modern.
oxford-street
Oxford Street. Quiet.
ritz
Putting it on…
st-pauls
River crossing, foot bridge.
thames
Looking West up the Thames.
tower-bridge-fog
Like I said, foggy.
tower-of-london-fog
The Tower.
tuba-of-fire
Man blowing fire out of his Tuba, as one does.
air-traffic
Air traffic over Big Ben.
bath-bridge
Bath, foggy.
bath-cemetary-tomb-2
I got up at Sparrow fart to have a poke about in this cemetery in Bath.
bath-cemetary-tomb
Old, early.
book-shop
I was taking a photo of this characterful book shop when some urchin parked their bike in my shot.
buckingham-palace
Liz and Phil’s, they’re not home.
castle-coombe
Castle Coombe, no racing in this bit.
doors
Them next door…
general
I believe the four legs on the plinth means something, don’t know who he is either. Above Horse Guards parade ground.
highbury-fields
Highbury Fields, on the sunny day.
horse-guards-parade-ground
London, not Moscow. St James’s park.
horses
Horses ready.
palace
Who doesn’t like a nice ornate building. This is Horse Guards parade ground in front. History fans will know what that building is.
routemaster
Route Master. Old Skool.
tomb
Horse Guards.

So not the usual touristy shots perhaps. It’s actually quite hard to take a photo a bit different to what is obviously on offer and on a million postcards. My lingering impression of my revisit to England though was that I’m very pleased I live in New Zealand. It’s good to be home.

‘The Big Smoke’. Auckland

In New Zealand, as I believe they do in some other places, we refer to the big city as ‘The Big Smoke’. Auckland is the nearest thing we have to a big city, however it’s not very big and is more like a collection of villages. The population of Auckland is about 1.4 Million which is a big chunk of our total population of around 4.4 Million. New Zealand is quite empty of people. I have attempted to convey that by photographing some parts the inner city of our largest city. The Auckland CBD between 8.30 and 9.30am on a Saturday morning. Plus some other bits during the day.

zhous-alley
No Smoking
vulcan-lane-walk
Walk on by
vulcan-lane-parking
No Parking
s-and-c
Closed
vulcan-lane
Belgian beer at the Occidental, the pub was built by an American sailor.
stables
No horses
fountain
Tiled
arcade
Arcade
art-gallery-front
Art house
art-gallery
Open soon
library
No books here today
wynyard-1
Feeding winged rats at Wynard Quarter.
wharf-work
Smoko break, probably.
wharf
The Wharf bit of North Wharf.
queeb-street
Queen Street, Auckland City.
lagoon
Apartments and Sky tower
ponsonby-bus
Ponsonby Road.
esplanade
The Esplanade, I once won a surfing competition in there.
mt-eden-road
Mt Eden Road, Mt Eden Village, 8:30am, Sunday Morning.
up-mt-eden-road
Looking the other way, towards the city
mt-eden-village-art
Mt Eden art stuff
bakery
Paris, Mt Eden.
st-heliers
Busy Saturday at the beach
boat-sheds
Boat sheds beside Tamaki Drive.
city-cloud
City Skyline, from Stanley Bay.
paraitai
The view rich people on Paraitai Drive have.

Auckland, it’s not always what you think.

Capital

I’ve lived in Wellington for about 6 months now, it’s not the first time I’ve lived here. Last time I lived in Wellington in 1990, was for about 6 months. That’s not to suggest it’s time to leave though. Not a bit of it. Not yet anyway. A selection of random shots from around Wellington, not so much in Wellington, as around it.

erskine-walls
Erskine College, Island Bay. Derelict old convent school, probably haunted.
island-bay-mountain-backdrop
Winter in Island Bay. I live in Island Bay so you may experience a bias in these photos
island-bay-sunset
Sunset in Island Bay, see? Bias.
island-bay
That Island is called Tapu te Tanga. It’s in Island Bay.
oruaiti-reserve
That’s the way in to Wellington Harbour. If you come by boat that is.
titahi-bay-surf-beach
Surfer dudes at Titahi Bay.
wellington-long-exposure
Wellington from Wrights Hill, long exposure to get that cool line of light thing on the motorway from the Hutt Valley.
houghton-bay
Oh look, it’s Island Bay again. Actually this is Houghton Bay, the next bay along.
epic-sunday
Cool clouds above Owhiro Bay. The Kaikoura Ranges in the distance, 200 kilometres distant.
pauatahanui
Pauatahanui, Porirua Harbour, Not many Paua in there though I reckon.
lighthouses
Pencarrow Lighthouses at the Wellington Harbour Entrance, for when one Lighthouse isn’t enough.
container-ship
Pilot boat escorting a container ship out of Wellington.
makara-sunset-cloud
Cool Sunset clouds above Makara, making the huge wind turbines look puny.
driftwood
Sea thing. Karaka Bay
lowry-bay-boatshed-close-up
Boat shed thing in Lowry Bay. Hasn’t stored any boats for a while. Not sure what it’s for now.
chopper-dude
Chopper dude, Lyall Bay. Probably reading ‘Zen And The Art Of Bicycle Maintenance’.
lower-hutt-and-tararuas
Tararua Ranges above the Hutt Valley. Taken from Oriental Bay.
waves-1
Those rocks are really big. This was the day after the ‘Great Storm’. I call all good storms, the ‘Great Storm’. It amuses me.
owhiro-bay-interislander
The Interislander ferry heading for the South Island. I take this boat every month. There and back, obviously. Otherwise I’d live in the South Island now.
wave-colour
Wavey.
kite-surfer-two
Kite Surfer in Lyall Bay. Good and windy.
Dolphins AIr NZ
Two things, Air New Zealand didn’t crash into the hill and the sea is full of Dolphins, Lyall Bay.
Colourful garages 1
Colourful, in Lyall Bay.
Wave photo
He survived, so did his cell phone. He actually ran away. I also have a photo of that.
Sheds
I believe those shed are empty and the land soon to be used for something more modern. Flash apartments would be best. Wait and see.
Epic tube surf
OK, so this could be anywhere of course, but this cool surf shot was taken by me in Wellington. Houghton Bay to be precise. 
Wrights Hill Awesome cloud
That’s a Nor’Wester blowing above Wrights Hill at Sunset. Windy Welly.
oriental-bay
Miramar Peninsula, in the mid-ground.
oriental-bay-sunday
Oriental Bay, people walk along the waterfront there, or run in colour co-ordinated lycra wearing headphones carrying an unnecessary water bottle.
hawkins-hill
The Road to nowhere, one of those ‘there and back’ sort of roads.
green-and-red
Like everyone, I love a brightly coloured boat shed
flowers-and-mountains
Spring, Princess Bay. Pretty.
boat-shed
Boat shed in Ivey Bay, Paremata.  Actually many boat sheds. Just that one is more obvious.
wellington-cable-car
The Classic Cable Car shot, you can buy a postcard just like this one.

So there you go. There’s much more to Wellington of course. But I’ve had enough of thinking up things to write in captions now. You could always visit and see for your self.

From The Side Of The Road

One of the great things about New Zealand is all the awesomeness, everywhere. In many countries you have to travel to see cool stuff. Get in a vehicle and make a special trip. We have that awesomeness everywhere. Right there beside the road. Part of my photographic ‘thing’, is that none of the photographs I take require any special equipment or even robust footwear. All the photos on this blog were taken near the side of the road except the one where I went for a bit of a walk. Theoretically you could take any of these photos with your phone camera while wearing a pair of jandals. All I did for each one of these shots, is pull over as I was driving past. We see this stuff on the way to the shop.

Charolais Cattle
Charolais Cattle first thing in the morning. I do like a nice cow. You may have more photos of cows to follow
Cottage on a hill
Old cottage and Macrocarpa trees, we have a lot of derelict cottages about the place.
Hawkes Bay from Te Mata shadow
Clean green New Zealand, get’s a bit dry in the summer sometimes. This is Hawkes Bay. Looking South from Te Mata Peak. You can drive up there.
Tree
Almost good enough to eat, but I think they make beer with this lot.
Clydesdale War Memorial Hall
The Clydesdale War Memorial Hall, Manawatu. I don’t think it sees too many parties anymore.
Shade
Sheep know a shady spot when they see one. Well most of them do.
Ohau River
Rail bridge over the Ohau River looking towards the Tararua Ranges. This is a common sight in NZ. Rail bridges of this type that is. The Tararua Ranges aren’t a common sight unless you are in the vicinity.
Central Hawkes Bay
That’s where Hawkes Bay starts. Looking North from a prominent view spot.
Misty Mountains
Misty Mountains, that’s not their name though, they just are sometimes.
Whanganui River Valley
Whanganui River Valley. One of the best drives in New Zealand. Almost nobody goes up there.
Estaury stumps
Bit of driftwood in the Foxton Estuary. Looks a bit moody.
High country shack
I like an old corrugated iron shack as well. This is at the end of Heights Road. Nobody goes up here either. You can walk into the Tararua Ranges from the end of this road.
Himi Rays
Remember I mentioned being on the way to the shop? This was on the way to the shop.
Mountain Cows2
Cows and mountains. Perfect photographic combination. Well one mountain. That’s Mt Ruapehu.
Himi Red sky 1
Down on the beach, Himatangi Beach. This is about 200 metres from my front door. It can be quite scenic in the evening.
Ruahines
This was a while ago, bit of snow there on the Ruahines.
Manawatu Rail line
This scene appealed to me. That’s the main New Zealand rail line. Just there.
Windmill
Pastoral, this is also on the way to the shop. Clothes shop rather than food shop, but a shop nonetheless.
Tararua manawatu morning
Taken a couple of paddocks down a few days earlier than the last photo. The one below. I like a fetching paddock scene.
Cows dawn
Dairy cows in Manawatu. Making milk. Looks a bit like a painting this one. It isn’t though.

Most New Zealanders simply pass by this stuff everyday, taking it for granted. I am constantly amazed at the natural beauty, wilderness and amazing pastoral imagery all around me. Maybe you have to go away for a while to appreciate it here. I know I view New Zealand differently since I’ve been back after so long away.

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.

Road trips

One of the best things about New Zealand is how easy it is to hop in a car and go. Driving from A to B in New Zealand is generally a pleasure rather than  a mission as it can be in so many countries overseas. I say generally because while the roads outside Auckland are mostly empty, the roads in Auckland are not. Still, this is about the wide open spaces beside the road in the central bit of the North Island. Time to hit the road….

The Roadhouse, perfect Roadhouse blues setting. Middle of nowhere Manawatu
The Roadhouse, perfect Roadhouse blues setting. Middle of nowhere Manawatu
That's a road, there's a speed limit, see?
That’s a road, there’s a speed limit, see?
A bit of driftwood beside the road at Himatangi, the beach is a road remember?
A bit of driftwood beside the road at Himatangi, the beach is a road remember?
I call this 'Angel'. You'll never guess why
I call this ‘Angel’. You’ll never guess why
Manawatu, from the road, old hay barn. Tararua Ranges. nothing to see here...
Manawatu, from the road, old hay barn. Tararua Ranges. nothing to see here…
From beside the Manwatu River Estuary. It's Whitebaiting season. There's one. A Whitebaiter that is. Don't think it's Beaver.
From beside the Manwatu River Estuary. It’s Whitebaiting season. There’s one. A Whitebaiter that is. Don’t think it’s Beaver.
You know what that is? That's an unremarkable view from the side of the road in New Zealand. I bet nobody has ever taken this photo before
You know what that is? That’s an unremarkable view from the side of the road in New Zealand. I bet nobody has ever taken this photo before.
Old barn, farm paddocks and the Ruahine Ranges. Stark light, morning tea time.
Old barn, farm paddocks and the Ruahine Ranges. Stark light, morning tea time.
The light was rubbish, photographers would say don't take photos in this sort of light. I don't care.
The light was rubbish, photographers would say don’t take photos in this sort of light. I don’t care.
One for the DIY enthusiast, after a heavy rainfall, in the King Country
One for the DIY enthusiast, after a heavy rainfall, in the King Country
Looking south down the Waikato River from the Glen Murray Bridge. I have no idea if that's the name of the bridge, but that's roughly where it is.
Looking south down the Waikato River from the Glen Murray Bridge. I have no idea if that’s the name of the bridge, but that’s roughly where it is.
Road trip south, Eastern side of of Lake Taupo, SH32. 1st sighting of the Volcanoes of the central plateau.
Road trip south, Eastern side of of Lake Taupo, SH32. 1st sighting of the Volcanoes of the central plateau.
Lake Taupo is actually a giant volcanic crater, still, looks peaceful enough today.
Lake Taupo is actually a giant volcanic crater, still, looks peaceful enough today.
Boating on the crater of a super volcano sounds more dangerous than it looks, Southern end of Lake Taupo seen from SH32
Boating on the crater of a super volcano sounds more dangerous than it looks, Southern end of Lake Taupo seen from SH32
Classic Kiwi Road Trip shot, from beside the Te Ponanga Saddle Road. Which is a cool name for the road from Turangi to National Park, SH47.
Classic Kiwi Road Trip shot, from beside the Te Ponanga Saddle Road. Which is a cool name for the road from Turangi to National Park, SH47.
Lake Rotoaira, looks beautiful, it is.
Lake Rotoaira, looks beautiful, it is.
Looking up a Mountain Stream towards Mt Ruapehu. Near National Park
Looking up a Mountain Stream towards Mt Ruapehu. Near National Park
Mt Ngauruhoe is about to disappear under the clouds.
Mt Ngauruhoe is about to disappear under the clouds.
Finally, this is also a photo I'm confident nobody else has ever taken. A paddock and some trees side the road half way between Palmerston North and Himatangi Beach. I think it's the sky that carries it though, to be fair.
Finally, this is also a photo I’m confident nobody else has ever taken. A paddock and some trees beside the road half way between Palmerston North and Himatangi Beach. I think it’s the sky that carries it though, to be fair.

See? That’s just a short there and back trip. Come to New Zealand, go for a drive