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!
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.
This is where we live now. A small beach community in Manawatu, New Zealand. Himi as I call it has a wonderful eclectic variety of proper beach baches and more conventional homes, and the largest sand dune in the Southern Hemisphere apparently.
The phrase, ‘a picture paints a thousand words’ is best applied here. Here is a collage of Himatangi Beach images. I love it here.
This is the road to my place, ok, it’s not the only road, but it is a road.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I spent a couple of days in Queenstown, for work. Lucky me. Much of the trip was inside but I was able to get out for a wander about. Fortunately you don’t have to walk far in Queenstown and surrounds to see the awesomeness. Herewith, a couple of snaps while I had a moment to take them. This can be a travel blog thing. For people who like to travel and read about travelling. I think it qualifies as a travel blog because I took photos of a tourist destination.
Queenstown, probably New Zealand’s most famous tourist destination. It’s nice there.
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.
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.
My happy place is in my car, on the road. I love driving around New Zealand as often as possible. If things are a bit dull around the house, I’ll go for a drive. I don’t have to go far to see epic things as luck would have it because I live in New Zealand. Epic is just around the corner. Last week I went for a slightly longer drive. Down to Christchurch, over Arthurs Pass to Franz Josef, down to Lake Matheson, up to Westport and back to Picton via the Buller Gorge and the Marlborough Sounds. This was my delayed Christmas holiday. I took a few photos along the way.
So that’s just the top half of the South Island. I didn’t take any photos of the Kaikoura Coast on the way down apart from the seals as I have a load from the last time I was there and the sky was pretty gloomy on this trip. Bonus seals though.
Happy travels…Just watch out for tourists paying more attention to the scenery than the road.
There were two things that weren’t going to happen today, but both did. I wasn’t going to go for a walk in the rainforest and I wasn’t going to create this blog post. One thing pretty much lead to the other. I’m putting this post up though, because it is kind of amazing and I’m quite pleased with how some very hard photos to take turned out.
First things first. How did I end up in the rainforest? Well it’s not really a rainforest, this is simply a decent sized piece of New Zealand native forest, or ‘bush’ as we call it. The bush is a stand of coastal swamp forest not far from where I live by the sea.
The thing here is that I was simply on my way to the shops, a small supermarket in the next town on a Saturday morning and thought I’d go for short walk beforehand. This is one of the many reasons I love New Zealand. The distance from my house to the shops is just 10 minutes by car. I parked up at the Omarupapako Scenic Reserve which I hadn’t even noticed before despite driving past the signs several times a week.
Then I walked in….It was like walking into Jurassic Park. It’s very hard to take photos of the forest when you are inside it. The darkness means having to have the ISO setting up to as high as 800 at times with a shutter speed as low as 60 and the aperture down at 5.6 or lower. I spent about 2 hours walking through this extraordinary forest. Only a few hundred metres from the sea. I live by the sea remember?
The bird in the photos is a Fantail. A fast moving, small and characterful New Zealand native species which rarely sits still. Almost impossible to photograph in the deep forest on the settings required to cast any light into the camera. So I was thrilled with how these turned out. Enough words.
If you live in New Zealand, go for a walk in the ‘bush’. If you are going to visit New Zealand, make sure you do. It’s like a spiritual place, a land time forgot, like walking in the footsteps of dinosaurs which is actually what you are doing, without the dinosaurs. Except we had one and it’s still here, living in our remote forests and offshore Islands. The Tuatara, look it up. We actually have the oldest forests in the world. They look like something from Jurassic times, or older
Like a lot of people, I like to take photos of the moon. Not just the moon though, the moon with other stuff in the photo. Otherwise it’s just a photo of the moon. I don’t have the high powered telephoto lens to get the close up shots, nor am I an Astronaut. I also don’t do astrophotography. I just like to try to get a nice snap of the moon when it’s showing off a bit. No point giving too much explanation with these photos as is my usual thing. Each one is a photo of the moon, with some other stuff in the frame. I’ll just tell you where I was when I took the photo. Oh, and it’s harder than you think to photograph the moon. None of these were taken using a tripod. So there.
So, the next time I post anything on here. I will have upgraded my camera gear. I’m not sure when that will be. Keep an eye out. I hope you enjoyed the moons
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….
See? That’s just a short there and back trip. Come to New Zealand, go for a drive