Tag Archives: South Island

The Coast of Most

Wellington Cable Car

Home is where the heart is – and this past week I’ve been there.  Let me show you ‘my place’ – where I lived for the first eighteen years of my life (the formative years).

Zealandia Ecosanctuary in Karori

I grew up in Karori (the only bit of this post that isn’t on the coast).  Here we find Zealandia, an ecosanctuary where ornithologists are dedicated to studying and re-establishing native bird populations in the Wellington bush and suburbs.  What an inspirational area to visit – and I recommend you do.

A kaka sizes me up.

Matthew and I stay at Island Bay, one of the southern beaches.  The view is so different depending on the weather that throughout this post there are several photos of views from our lounge window.  The hills beyond are the eastern ranges of Pencarrow.  This is a pearl of a morning.  (We watch the planes coming in if it is a northerly and going out if it is a southerly.)

Island Bay calm morning (but cold!)

Several times per day the Interislander ferries sail past us commuting between North and South Islands.

Island Bay stroll.  (These must be locals because they are dressed as if it is warm – which it isn’t.)

The next beach along is Owhiro Bay.  The mountains in the distance are the Kaikoura mountains of the South Island.  They have fresh snow on them – gorgeous – due to a sudden southerly blast the previous day.

Owhiro Bay houses

Owhiro Bay life.

Kaikoura mountains, ferry and SPRAY!

Right in the heart of Wellington city is Oriental Bay.

Oriental Bay

Oriental Bay sky on a breezy afternoon.

Late afternoon lounge view.  The end of a sapphire day in Wellington.

The following morning the weather has changed.  Clouds and northerly gales are the order of the day.

Island Bay view from the lounge

We drive across the Rimutaka Range to Palliser Bay.  To call it windy is a gross understatement!

The coastline at remote and wild Lake Ferry.

Southern black-backed gull

White-fronted terns and black-backed gulls.

Matthew, flying cormorant and tern flock.

Wild windy sky over Lake Onoke.

Further around the coast (another 50 kms) is Ngawi where crayfish are caught.  Lack of a harbour means that bulldozers have to haul the fishing boats up onto the sand.  “A graveyard for bulldozers” is how it is described to me.

Ngawi

New Zealand fur seals live here.

“Hello”

Two friends.

Cape Palliser is the southern-most tip of the North Island.

We approach the lighthouse

250 steps – rather scary as they are so steep!

We make it to the top! And the wind is screaming!!!

On the drive home the northerly gales are so strong that rubber piping on the roof of our hire car actually peels off and starts to flap about!  We have to get out (hold onto the car) and pound it back in with our fists and finger tips.

Sky patterns on the drive back.

Back in the lounge at the end of the day.  (We had been on the other side of those far hills.)

By next morning the wind has changed back to southerly – so in our lounge view planes are taking off.

Southerly morning at Island Bay

A ferry pushes through the swell.

We drive over to Makara to see our dear friends Jenifer and George Welch (who used to own Makara Riding School where I spent as much of my teenage years as I could riding horses).  Jenifer and George give us a huge treat, a history and geography tour over the hills into Terawhiti Station, completely out of bounds to the general public.

Karori Rock lighthouse at Tongue Point.  Kaikouras in the distance.

The wild coast of Cape Terawhiti, and far away a ferry approaches (a distant white dot).

…the white dot has materialized into the ferry…crossing the Cook Strait.

Looking north, wind turbines on the skyline of Makara hills.  Mana and Kapiti Islands beyond.

Our dear friends, Jenifer and George with Tick, at their bach.

Later that afternoon, back in Island Bay…

On the move – cruise ship, plane and seagull.  (Our view again).

I hope the passengers remembered to take their seasick pills.

Finally it is our turn to fly out of Wellington.  We take off to the north.  Can you see our Air New Zealand shadow?

Flying over the bays

Goodbye Fair City – for now.

The Coast of Most what?  Most hills, cliffs, waves, spray, swells, seabirds, winds, rain, clouds, sun, planes, ships, inter-island ferries, rugged landscapes, distant mountains, seaside cafés with great views, friendly locals, narrow winding twisty roads, and constantly changing light.  And because Wellington is just a little bit seismic, what you see today might look different tomorrow.  You just never know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now

It doesn’t matter what the weather turns on in New Zealand.   Blue sky and sunshine can be delightful but clouds add drama to a landscape.  My first post of photos from a two week trip in March celebrates the beauty of autumnal weather in Aotearoa – The land of the long white cloud.

High on the Port Hills overlooking Christchurch with Matthew – husband and travel companion.

From Christchurch we travel to Waitati, near Dunedin.  Here is Blueskin Bay.

Blueskin Bay patterns – land, water and sky.

Matthew and our sister-in-law, Clare, walk ahead of me.  Huge tides mean that later, all this expanse of sand will be covered with water.

Residents of Blueskin Bay in a haze of morning mist and sea spray.

The weather closes in as we explore the Otago coast.

A southerly cold-front blasts the South Island and temperatures plummet.

Next day, on the trip from coast to mountains, I take this photo out of the car window as we drive in the rain.

Pine Cottage, our accommodation at Lake Pukaki (near Mt Cook). Matthew would like it to be known that it is 4 degrees C.

Sheep, snow and clouds on the high country sheep station where we stay.

The Church of the Good Shepherd at Lake Tekapo.

Matthew in his soul place; Mackenzie Country.  The clouds part a little for Aoraki Mount Cook.

Matthew on the braided river-bed where icy water flows from glacial melt of Tasman Glacier.

The milky-coloured water contains ‘flour’ – particles of rock ground down by glacial action.  Above, the clouds seem to be a boiling mass.

A rainbow over the Rakaia River at Coleridge.

Just us at Lake Coleridge.

Into the eye of the sun, Lake Coleridge.

“That’s a bright flag”, says Matthew as he drives. Simultaneously I am photographing the scene from the passenger seat.

“A drive to the end of somewhere”, is Matthew’s description of our wanderings.

Mountains framed by clouds – revealing, concealing.

A cloud’s attraction to a mountain…one so ethereal, the other so solid.  Opposites attract.

“Bows and flows of angel hair and ice cream castles in the air / and feather canyons everywhere, I’ve looked at clouds that way…”  Joni Mitchell

The weather wasn’t totally inclement.  There was sun – and there were birds (OH! THE BIRDS!!).  So more photographic essays will follow shortly.

Small Country, Big Heart

a sign at Lake Matheson on the west coast of New Zealand.

A quote at Lake Matheson, South Westland.

Matthew and I have just returned from 12 days in the South Island of New Zealand.   Though we have traveled globally over the years, our country of birth never fails to inspire us.  I invite you to partake in some South Island landscapes.

Birdlings Flat is a wildly atmospheric beach near Christchurch. Here people fossick for semi-precious stones. A couple of white-fronted terns fly overhead.

Birdlings Flat is a bleak yet atmospheric beach on Banks Peninsula, near Christchurch. Here people fossick for semi-precious stones. A couple of white-fronted terns dart overhead.

Succulents thrive at Birdlings Flat.

Succulents luxuriate in the arid conditions of Birdlings Flat.

Wherever you are in the world, you may have heard about the fires this week on the Port Hills of Christchurch. Here is an evening view of the Port Hills which I took only 24 hours before the fires began.

A sunset view of the Port Hills of Christchurch taken from Tai Tapu.

Inland Canterbury is known as high country. This is Matthew's soul country. Near Lake Heron Station.

Inland Canterbury, west of Christchurch, is high country.   Near Lake Heron Station.

Up near Erewhon Station on the Rangitata river bed.

Matthew, in the distance, walks on a shingle river bed.   Rangitata river at Erewhon Station.

It was a long way across the shingle until we finally got to the Rangitata river. (On braided rivers, most of the river flows under the stones.)

One has to walk a long way across shingle until one comes to actual flowing river. (On braided rivers, most of the river flows under the stones.)

Finally, the flowing river, which we sat beside with flasks of coffee and home-made cake.

Finally, the flowing river, where we picnic on coffee from flasks and home-baked cake.

Patterns made by a river and patterns made by clouds.

Patterns made by a river and patterns made by clouds.

The hill beyond this stream is called Mt Summer, but you may well have seen it as the location for Edoras in "Lord of the Rings".

The hill beyond this stream is called Mt Sunday, but you may well have seen it on film as Edoras in “Lord of the Rings”.

A return to the coast. This is Blueskin Bay; an estuary 25 kms north of Dunedin.

A return to the coast.  Blueskin Bay; an estuary 25 kms north of Dunedin.

Coastal birds on the other side of the inlet at Blueskin Bay.

Coastal birds on the other side of the inlet at Blueskin Bay, Otago.

Later that day at Lake Hawea, a nearly-sunset rainbow formed.

Later that day at Lake Hawea, a nearly-sunset rainbow forms against a mountain backdrop.

View from the road at Lake Hawea. Oprah Winfrey and Reese Witherspoon were being filmed close by for "A Wrinkle in Time". No, I didn't see them - but I knew they were about.

View from the passenger seat of the car as Matt speeds along beside Lake Hawea.  (Oprah Winfrey and Reese Witherspoon are being filmed in this area for “A Wrinkle in Time”.  They have been spotted, some say, at Wanaka.)

We stayed at Lake Hawea Station, a farm which has been in the same family since 1912.

We stay at Lake Hawea Station, a farm which has been in the same family since 1912.  I endure the strong wind to check out their sheep-with-view.

Just over a hill from Lake Hawea is Lake Wanaka.

Just over a hill from Lake Hawea is Lake Wanaka.

Over on the west coast of New Zealand is another thoroughly wild beach named Bruce bay. Actually the whole west coast coastline is untamed. Waves are extraordinarily powerful and the winds howl.

On the West Coast is another thoroughly wild beach named Bruce Bay.  Waves are extraordinarily powerful and the winds howl.  Acres of driftwood cover the sands.  Above the shoreline is majestic Rimu rainforest.

In the path of the force 10 westerly gale is a friendly coffee cart which makes terrific coffee and sells - ICE CREAMS.

In the path of the force 10 westerly gale is a friendly coffee cart which makes terrific coffee and sells – ICE CREAM!

North from Bruce Bay is the Franz Josef glacier and Lake Matheson. The lake is famous for its reflections of the Southern Alps. We came along slightly too late in the morning for the lake to be still like a mirror.

North from Bruce Bay is the Franz Josef Glacier and Lake Matheson. The lake is famous for its reflections of the Southern Alps. We arrive slightly too late in the morning for the lake to be still like a mirror.  Even with a slight ripple, the scene is awe-inspiring.

At Lake Matheson there are a few quotes on plaques.  One reads, “Nature never did betray the heart that loved her” – William Wordsworth.  Another reads, “I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in tune once more” – John Burroughs.   Albert Einstein is also quoted, “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better”.  (Later, I faithfully copy these quotes into my art journal.)

A view of the ever-retreating (due to global warming) Franz Josef glacier.

A view of iconic Franz Josef Glacier.

We returned to the east coast via Arthurs Pass. What an astounding feat in engineering is the Otira viaduct! Can you imagine building a viaduct in such a precarious and actively seismic environment?!

We cross the Southern Alps via Arthurs Pass. What an astounding feat of engineering the Otira viaduct is!  Every time we drive on this seemingly floating road, we stop at the viewing platform to admire the audacity of its existence.

Matt and I stopped at Otira to pay homage to a view which I had once painted. Happily for us, a coal train appeared.

Matt and I stop at Otira to pay homage to a view which I once painted. Happily for us, a coal train appears.

And here is that old painting…

"Track and Field" - an oil painting from 2002.

“Track and Field” – an oil painting from 2002.

On our two week journey we also met and photographed many birds and animals.  They will be the subject of my next post.