Days 2-4: Heading to Kaikoura, New Zealand – December 2015.

This post covers three days (day 2, 3, and 4) of our holiday in New Zealand. It involved driving from Rotorua (see previous post here) to Wellington then departing on the ferry at 2:30 am to Picton, arriving around dawn, then driving to Kaikoura.

Day 2-4 – Heading to the South Island.

Unfortunately, as with all holidays, there is not enough time to see everything. There is a lot to see on the North Island but even though we had a loose schedule, there were some hard times/dates we needed to be at certain places – one such deadline was a ferry connection to take us to the South Island.

Leaving Rotorua we headed to Wellington via Lake Taupo and a few other smallish diversions. Whilst in the Rotorua area we visited Hamurana Springs for a peaceful and scenic break and saw this Waka (Māori watercraft).

Hamurana Springs - Rotarua 2AM-000456. ©Andrew McInnes

Waka – Hamurana Springs 2AM-000456. ©Andrew McInnes

 

Because I like birds…
A Paradise Shelduck on the shore of Lake Taupo.

Paradise Shelduck 2AM-004285. ©Andrew McInnes

Paradise Shelduck 2AM-004285. ©Andrew McInnes

 

South of the beautiful Lake Taupo area are some volcanic features many of you may recognise from the The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. The “Desert Road” through Rangipo Desert is a spectacular drive, and we paused for lunch with this view of Mount Ruapehu (left) and Mount Ngauruhoe (right) – the fictional Mount Doom. iPhone 5C panorama.

Tongariro National Park 2AM-000471. ©Andrew McInnes

Tongariro National Park 2AM-000471. ©Andrew McInnes

 

Further south, a fence that caught my eye. iPhone 5C photo.

Waituna West 2AM-000474. ©Andrew McInnes

Waituna West 2AM-000474. ©Andrew McInnes

 

Onto the South Island.
Kaikoura and surrounds – abundant marine mammals, beautiful scenes.
I reckon these folks have a fantastic campsite!

Half Moon Bay - Kaikoura 2AM-000343. ©Andrew McInnes

Half Moon Bay – Kaikoura 2AM-000343. ©Andrew McInnes

 

The seemingly ubiquitous New Zealand fur seal, basking,  resting, and nursing the young at Ohau Point, Half Moon Bay (just north of Kaikoura).

New Zealand fur seal 2AM-004332. ©Andrew McInnes

New Zealand fur seal 2AM-004332. ©Andrew McInnes

New Zealand fur seal 2AM-004337. ©Andrew McInnes

New Zealand fur seal 2AM-004337. ©Andrew McInnes

 

Kaikoura awaking with the dawn.

Kaikoura 2AM 0407-0409 Panorama. ©Andrew McInnes

Kaikoura 2AM 0407-0409 Panorama. ©Andrew McInnes

 

Dusk settles over the Kaikoura Peninsula.

Kaikoura Peninsula 2AM 0348-0351 Panorama. ©Andrew McInnes

Kaikoura Peninsula 2AM 0348-0351 Panorama. ©Andrew McInnes

Kaikoura Peninsula 2AM 0356-0358 HDR. ©Andrew McInnes

Kaikoura Peninsula 2AM 0356-0358 HDR. ©Andrew McInnes

Kaikoura Peninsula 2AM 0365-0367 HDR. ©Andrew McInnes

Kaikoura Peninsula 2AM 0365-0367 HDR. ©Andrew McInnes

Kaikoura Peninsula 2AM 0374-0377 Panorama. ©Andrew McInnes

Kaikoura Peninsula 2AM 0374-0377 Panorama. ©Andrew McInnes

 

Assorted images from the wondrous Kaikoura Peninsula:

Kaikoura Peninsula 2AM-000353. ©Andrew McInnes

Kaikoura Peninsula 2AM-000353. ©Andrew McInnes

Kaikoura Peninsula 2AM-004506. ©Andrew McInnes

Kaikoura Peninsula 2AM-004506. ©Andrew McInnes

Kaikoura Peninsula 2AM-004498. ©Andrew McInnes

Kaikoura Peninsula 2AM-004498. ©Andrew McInnes

Kaikoura Peninsula 2AM-000484. ©Andrew McInnes

Kaikoura Peninsula 2AM-000484. ©Andrew McInnes

Kaikoura Peninsula 2AM-000482. ©Andrew McInnes

Kaikoura Peninsula 2AM-000482. ©Andrew McInnes

Kaikoura Peninsula 2AM-000355. ©Andrew McInnes

Kaikoura Peninsula 2AM-000355. ©Andrew McInnes

Wooden Fence 2AM-004690. ©Andrew McInnes

Wooden Fence 2AM-004690. ©Andrew McInnes

European Starling 2AM-004447. ©Andrew McInnes

European Starling 2AM-004447. ©Andrew McInnes

In case any so-called birders or twitchers are wondering, this isn’t a new plumage for this species. Rather, it is pollen from the prolific pollen-producing plant, the New Zealand flax (Phormium).

 

Rhyolitic flows (I think so, at least) at Kaikoura.

Kaikoura Peninsula 2AM 0458-0460 Panorama. ©Andrew McInnes

Kaikoura Peninsula 2AM 0458-0460 Panorama. ©Andrew McInnes

Kaikoura Peninsula 2AM-000455. ©Andrew McInnes

Kaikoura Peninsula 2AM-000455. ©Andrew McInnes

Kaikoura Peninsula 2AM-000456. ©Andrew McInnes

Kaikoura Peninsula 2AM-000456. ©Andrew McInnes

Kaikoura Peninsula 2AM-000461. ©Andrew McInnes

Kaikoura Peninsula 2AM-000461. ©Andrew McInnes

Kaikoura Peninsula 2AM-000462. ©Andrew McInnes

Kaikoura Peninsula 2AM-000462. ©Andrew McInnes

Kaikoura Peninsula 2AM-000463. ©Andrew McInnes

Kaikoura Peninsula 2AM-000463. ©Andrew McInnes

 

To wrap up this post, here are some more images of New Zealand fur seals 🙂
This time from the Kaikoura Peninsula.

New Zealand fur seal 2AM-004384. ©Andrew McInnes

New Zealand fur seal 2AM-004384. ©Andrew McInnes

New Zealand fur seal 2AM-004403. ©Andrew McInnes

New Zealand fur seal 2AM-004403. ©Andrew McInnes

New Zealand fur seal 2AM-004426. ©Andrew McInnes

New Zealand fur seal 2AM-004426. ©Andrew McInnes

 

I hope you enjoyed these.

Cheers 🙂

Day 1: Rotorua, New Zealand – December 2015.

Oh, New Zealand – what a wonder you are! I was fortunate to take a family holiday over Christmas in New Zealand, and am very keen to return, next time for a designated photography trip.

This is the first posting of what will ultimately be a series of approximately ten posts, roughly one for each day of our holiday.

Day 1 – Rotorua area (North Island).
We visited the stunning and amazing Wai-O-Tapu (Sacred Waters) Thermal Area, and can wholeheartedly recommend including this on your itinerary. I have included images from the three primary attractions: the Geothermal Area, Lady Knox Geyser, and the Mud Pool.

I strongly encourage you to visit the Geothermal Area as soon as the doors to the Thermal Wonderland open in the morning because the temperature differential really allows for viewing more steam/venting. After you have enjoyed the wonder of the place, perhaps go explore elsewhere for a few hours, but ensure you return late afternoon – specifically to view the stunning colours of The Champagne Pool which show themselves as the sun gets lower in the west. I have included some afternoon images showing these almost unbelievable colours, which are a result of the mineral composition of the spring water, some of which are: gold, silver, mercury, sulphur, arsenic, thallium, silica, and antimony.

Before we get to the images of Wai-O-Tapu, here is a scene that captured my attention on our drive along the Thermal Explorer Highway…

Fence and grassy hill 2AM-000332

Fence and Hill 2AM-000332. ©Andrew McInnes

 

Into Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland we go…

Waiotapu - Rotorua 2AM-000102

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Area 2AM-000102. ©Andrew McInnes

Devils Bath - Waiotapu 2AM-000107

Devil’s Bath 2AM-000107. ©Andrew McInnes

Devils Bath - Waiotapu 2AM-000325

Devil’s Bath 2AM-000325. ©Andrew McInnes

Devils Bath - Waiotapu 2AM-000106

Devil’s Bath 2AM-000106. ©Andrew McInnes

Waiotapu - Rotorua 2AM-000196

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Area 2AM-000196. ©Andrew McInnes

Waiotapu - Rotorua 2AM-000117

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Area 2AM-000117. ©Andrew McInnes

Waiotapu - Rotorua 2AM-000175

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Area 2AM-000175. ©Andrew McInnes

Waiotapu - Rotorua 2AM-000194

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Area 2AM-000194. ©Andrew McInnes

 

On to my favourite feature – The Champagne Pool. I was fascinated and enthralled by it 🙂

The Champagne Pool - Waiotapu 2AM 0301-0307 Panorama

The Champagne Pool 2AM 0301-0307 panorama. ©Andrew McInnes

The Champagne Pool - Waiotapu 2AM-000124

The Champagne Pool 2AM-000124. ©Andrew McInnes

The Champagne Pool - Waiotapu 2AM-000131

The Champagne Pool 2AM-000131. ©Andrew McInnes

The Champagne Pool - Waiotapu 2AM-000185

The Champagne Pool 2AM-000185. ©Andrew McInnes

The Champagne Pool - Waiotapu 2AM-000281

The Champagne Pool 2AM-000281. ©Andrew McInnes

The Champagne Pool - Waiotapu 2AM-004249

The Champagne Pool 2AM-004249. ©Andrew McInnes

The Champagne Pool - Waiotapu 2AM-000122

The Champagne Pool 2AM-000122. ©Andrew McInnes

The Champagne Pool - Waiotapu 2AM-000164

The Champagne Pool 2AM-000164. ©Andrew McInnes

The Champagne Pool - Waiotapu 2AM-000123

The Champagne Pool 2AM-000123. ©Andrew McInnes

The Champagne Pool - Waiotapu 2AM-000141

The Champagne Pool 2AM-000141. ©Andrew McInnes

The Champagne Pool - Waiotapu 2AM-000138

The Champagne Pool 2AM-000138. ©Andrew McInnes

 

Next to The Champagne Pool is an area/feature named The Primrose Terrace, including warning signage.

The Primrose Terrace - Waiotapu 2AM-000297

The Primrose terrace 2AM-000297. ©Andrew McInnes


A boardwalk crosses the draining end of The Champagne Pool, and the evaporating water is rich in silica, depositing as silicious sinter – creating The Primrose Terrace feature.

The Primrose Terrace - Waiotapu 2AM-000166

The Primrose Terrace 2AM-000166. ©Andrew McInnes


A popular feature/attraction is Lady Knox Geyser, but I must admit I was somewhat underwhelmed, primarily because anthropogenic inputs are added to ensure the 10:15 am daily event. Nevertheless, worth a look.

Lady Knox Geyser - Waiotapu 2AM-000221

Lady Knox Geyser 2AM-000221. ©Andrew McInnes

Lady Knox Geyser - Waiotapu 2AM-000226

Lady Knox Geyser 2AM-000226. ©Andrew McInnes

 

On now to the Mud Pool. This is a small section of the feature shown here.

Mud Pool - Waiotapu 2AM-004227

Mud Pool 2AM-004227. ©Andrew McInnes


Sometimes you see an “explosion”

Mud Pool - Waiotapu 2AM-004120

Mud Pool 2AM-004120. ©Andrew McInnes


At other times a slow building of pressure…

Mud Pool - Waiotapu 2AM-004163

Mud Pool 2AM-004163. ©Andrew McInnes


Which begets the following “burp”

Mud Pool - Waiotapu 2AM-004164

Mud Pool 2AM-004164. ©Andrew McInnes


so many shapes…

Mud Pool - Waiotapu 2AM-004184

Mud Pool 2AM-004184. ©Andrew McInnes

Mud Pool - Waiotapu 2AM-004190

Mud Pool 2AM-004190. ©Andrew McInnes

Mud Pool - Waiotapu 2AM-004211

Mud Pool 2AM-004211. ©Andrew McInnes

 

I hope you enjoyed, and are intrigued by the scenes in this posting.

Cheers 🙂