Day 8 – Fiordland and Cascade Creek, New Zealand – December 2015

Ah, to have more time to explore and be awed by Fiordland National Park! And a revisit in late winter/early spring is in order too.
We ventured along the Te Anau – Milford Highway, to hike the Key Summit, a day-hike portion of the Routeburn Track, beginning at The Divide. Spectacular!

Here is a portion of the view from the end of Key Summit.

Routeburn Track 2AM 0796-0800 pano

Routeburn Track 2AM 0796-0800 panorama. ©Andrew McInnes

 

Hiking (“tramping” in NZ) up to Key Summit.

Routeburn Track 2AM-000788

Routeburn Track 2AM-000788. ©Andrew McInnes

 

A loo with a view – sort of.

Routeburn Track 2AM-000814

Routeburn Track 2AM-000814. ©Andrew McInnes

 

Driving into Fiordland National Park in the morning we noticed a field of lupins and thought that it would be worth a look on the way out that evening. What a beautiful scene it turned out to be!

This is Cascade Creek, along the Te Anau-Milford Hwy.

Cascade Creek 2AM 0827-0832 Pano

Cascade Creek 2AM 0827-0832 Panorama. ©Andrew McInnes

Cascade Creek 2AM 0842-0843 pano

Cascade Creek 2AM 0842-0843 panorama. ©Andrew McInnes

Cascade Creek 2AM-000819

Cascade Creek 2AM-000819. ©Andrew McInnes

Cascade Creek 2AM-000844

Cascade Creek 2AM-000844. ©Andrew McInnes

Cascade Creek 2AM-000863

Cascade Creek 2AM-000863. ©Andrew McInnes

Cascade Creek 2AM-000865

Cascade Creek 2AM-000865. ©Andrew McInnes

Cascade Creek 2AM-000889

Cascade Creek 2AM-000889. ©Andrew McInnes

Cascade Creek 2AM-000835

Cascade Creek 2AM-000835. ©Andrew McInnes

Cascade Creek 2AM-000818

Cascade Creek 2AM-000818. ©Andrew McInnes

I hope you like lupins 😉
Thanks for viewing my images.

Cheers 🙂

Day 7: The Catlins, New Zealand – December 2015.

Day 7 – The spectacular Catlins area, South Island – New Zealand.

Spectacular, diverse, ever-changing – we drove through beautiful rural scenes, along a rugged coast, saw a few more yellow-eyed penguins, sea lions, a couple of lighthouses, and low tide allowed us to walk among a 180 million year old petrified Jurassic forest – one of only three such accessible fossil forests in the world! All this and so much more we couldn’t fit in 😦

Nugget Point Lighthouse, built in 1869-70. A place of spectacular views, many rocky islets (The Nuggets), and much wildlife.

Nugget Point Lighthouse 2AM 0739-0744 Panorama_edit

Nugget Point Lighthouse 2AM-0379-0744 panorama. ©Andrew McInnes

Nugget Point Lighthouse 2AM-000749

Nugget Point Lighthouse 2AM-000749. ©Andrew McInnes

Nugget Point Lighthouse 2AM-000754

Nugget Point Lighthouse 2AM-000754. ©Andrew McInnes

Nugget Point Lighthouse 2AM-000775

Nugget Point Lighthouse 2AM-000775. ©Andrew McInnes

 

To be able to view, and even walk among a petrified forest in the intertidal zone at low tide was remarkable. There are both stumps and fallen trees, petrified, with some growth rings plainly visible. This is but a sampling of the numerous specimens at Curio Bay.
Curio Bay is of international significance for its fossilised forest dating back to the Jurassic period. The tree fossils you see here are 160 million years old and the forest was alive when New Zealand was part of Gondwanaland. (source: The Catlins New Zealand website).

Petrified Forest - Curio Bay 2AM-000635

Petrified Forest – Curio Bay 2AM-000635. ©Andrew McInnes

Petrified Forest - Curio Bay 2AM-000631

Petrified Forest – Curio Bay 2AM-000631. ©Andrew McInnes

Petrified Forest - Curio Bay 2AM-000634

Petrified Forest – Curio Bay 2AM-000634. ©Andrew McInnes

Petrified Forest - Curio Bay 2AM-000665

Petrified Forest – Curio Bay 2AM-000665. ©Andrew McInnes

Petrified Forest - Curio Bay 2AM-000656

Petrified Forest – Curio Bay 2AM-000656. ©Andrew McInnes

 

Four images of the Waipapa Point Lighthouse. This is the site of New Zealand’s worst civilian shipwreck. In 1881 the SS Tararua ran aground on Waipapa Reef and 131 of 151 passengers and crew died. The lighthouse, built after the disaster, stands as a poignant reminder. (source: Southern Scenic Route website).

Waipapa Point Lighthouse 2AM-000600

Waipapa Point Lighthouse 2AM-000600. ©Andrew McInnes

Waipapa Point Lighthouse 2AM-000611

Waipapa Point Lighthouse 2AM-000611. ©Andrew McInnes

Waipapa Point Lighthouse 2AM-000622

Waipapa Point Lighthouse 2AM-000622. ©Andrew McInnes

Waipapa Point Lighthouse 2AM-000616

Waipapa Point Lighthouse 2AM-000616. ©Andrew McInnes

 

I hope you enjoyed these images from a fascinating region of New Zealand.

Cheers 🙂

Days 5 and 6: Moeraki and Dunedin, New Zealand – December 2015.

Days 5 and 6 – Moeraki and Dunedin.

Just outside the coastal town of Moeraki there are numerous large concretions, exposed and highly visible, lying along a stretch of Koekohe Beach. I thoroughly recommend reading more about them (here is a Wikipedia link).

Here are a series of images captured during our brief visit.

Moeraki Boulders 2AM-000526

Moeraki Boulders 2AM-000526. ©Andrew McInnes

Moeraki Boulders 2AM-000500

Moeraki Boulders 2AM-000500. ©Andrew McInnes

Moeraki Boulders 2AM-000496

Moeraki Boulders 2AM-000496. ©Andrew McInnes

Moeraki Boulders 2AM-000517

Moeraki Boulders 2AM-000517. ©Andrew McInnes

Moeraki Boulders 2AM-000533

Moeraki Boulders 2AM-000533. ©Andrew McInnes

Moeraki Boulders 2AM-000549

Moeraki Boulders 2AM-000549. ©Andrew McInnes

Moeraki Boulders 2AM-000538

Moeraki Boulders 2AM-000538. ©Andrew McInnes

 

After a thoroughly enjoyable dinner washed down with a local amber ale at the Moeraki Tavern, I took these shots of the nearby harbour. We had hoped to also eat at the famed Fleurs Place restaurant another night but, alas, it was closed for a while over the Christmas break.

Fleurs Place - Restaurant 2AM-000598

Fleurs Place – Restaurant 2AM-000598. ©Andrew McInnes

Moeraki 2AM-000599

Moeraki Bay 2AM-000599. ©Andrew McInnes

Moeraki 2AM-000593

Moeraki Bay 2AM-000593. ©Andrew McInnes

Moeraki 2AM-000595

Moeraki Bay 2AM-000595. ©Andrew McInnes

 

A little further south is the city of Dunedin, where I have family heritage. We had a joyous visit with a cousin and her family, and she accompanied us on a lovely hike to see the Organ Pipes. “The Otago peninsula was formed entirely by volcanic activity and the tall polygonal columns featured on this walk are remnants of this past. As molten lava cooled slowly beneath the hardened crust, it contracted and formed geometrical cracks which propagated downwards as the mass cooled.” (source: NZ Tramper website).

The Organ Pipes 2AM-000567

The Organ Pipes 2AM-000567. ©Andrew McInnes

The Organ Pipes 2AM-000576

The Organ Pipes 2AM-000576. ©Andrew McInnes

The Organ Pipes 2AM-000577

The Organ Pipes 2AM-000577. ©Andrew McInnes

The Organ Pipes 2AM-000578

The Organ Pipes 2AM-000578. ©Andrew McInnes

 

After the organ pipes we wanted to visit the world’s only mainland breeding colony of Royal Albatross so we ventured out to Taiaroa Head on the Otago Peninsula. Unfortunately we did not see any albatross, but there was a rather active colony of gulls. Whilst wandering along an observation path, we heard, then saw, quite an aerial commotion… upon further observation we saw a Black-backed Gull being harassed by several smaller gulls – the larger gull had apparently “kidnapped” a chick and was heading off with it. For those who may be a bit squeamish about natural history, the following two images may concern you.

Black-backed Gull 2AM-004861

Black-backed Gull 2AM-004861. ©Andrew McInnes

Black-backed Gull 2AM-004882

Black-backed Gull 2AM-004882. ©Andrew McInnes

 

Looking down the steep cliffs of Taiaroa Head I was entranced by bull kelp (Durvillaea species) as it seemingly twirled and shimmied in a whimsical tango with the ocean.
Rimurapa - Bull Kelp 2AM-004857

 

Overlooking the spit within Otago Harbour – our lunch spot on our way back to Moeraki.

Harrington Point 2AM-000580

Harrington Point 2AM-000580. ©Andrew McInnes

 

Back to Mouraki, we were thrilled and fortunate to observe, up close, a few Yellow-eyed Penguins (Megadyptes antipodes)! These New Zealand endemics (native) are purported to be among the worlds rarest penguin species.

Yellow-eyed Penguin 2AM-004739

Yellow-eyed Penguin 2AM-004739. ©Andrew McInnes

Yellow-eyed Penguin 2AM-004780

Yellow-eyed Penguin 2AM-004780. ©Andrew McInnes

 

Thanks for visiting – I hope you enjoyed these images.
Cheers 🙂

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 🙂