Its a four hour drive from Queenstown in the Southern Lakes District of Central Otago to Dunedin. The road from Queenstown passes Lake Hayes on the way to the Cromwell Gorge and Lake Dunstan. After the events of the day before (see yesterday’s post) it was necessary to leave the lakes and mountains to travel to Dunedin Hospital to visit my wife and plan the journey home to Auckland.
The morning was beautiful, just like the one the previous day. Lake Hayes was unruffled by any breezes and I just had to stop to take some photographs. I was uncertain as to when we would visit the area again. After nearly four months of rest and physiotherapy since the accident Valerie is now walking – albeit slowly – and we plan to travel back to Wanaka and Queenstown in early February to complete our holiday, and hopefully see reflections like this again.
The morning that lead to the events described in the post Life can change in a split second began with this view from our motel of Roys Peak across Lake Wanaka. It was a lovely crisp morning with a clear blue sky which remained that way all through the day. What had started as a promising season for snow was ruined by rain after the initial dump, and no really cold southerly fronts had arrived to replenish the Southern Lakes ski fields. Only light falls of 1-5 cm had maintained the relatively thin snow covering. There was enough snow to ski on, but not as much as one would normally expect in a good snow year. In good years the snow would have been well down on Roys Peak (1,578 metres). Little did we know that morning how the day would unfold.
Red Sky at Night
It was nearly dark. As the sun set in the west a bright orange glow lit the clouds over the mountains. A chilly wind blew across the freshly plowed stony land. Out of the car to quickly capture the image and then retreat once again to the warmth inside. Head on back to Wanaka to takeaway dinner and a bottle of wine with friends.
A westerly front had been building all day and storm clouds had been building over the mountains. The ominous nature of the weather to come was reflected in the clouds as the sun settled in the west. Skiers hoped that the threatened weather change would come to nothing, and so it was as the next day brought only periods of thin high cloud over the southern ski fields and only moderate winds.
These images are the last in the Castle Hill Series. Here we have groups of rock climbers practicing their moves on low limestone outcrops with the assistance of friends and the protection of padded mats.
Some of the limestone tors at Castle Hill in Canterbury. These outcrops are distinctly different from the surrounding countryside in the Waimakariri Basin that is surrounded by the high alpine mountains of the Torlesse and Craigieburn Ranges.
On the main highway between Christchurch and Arthurs Pass on New Zealand’s South Island are the grand limestone rock battlements of Kura Tawhiti, which early European travellers named Castle Hill. The area attracts climbers, families, students and tourists who are drawn to this spectacular place to explore its natural beauty.
This lone flower was found clinging tenaciously to a limestone tor, much like the climbers who were scaling the rocky outcrops nearby. On the day of our visit there were at least six climbing groups practicing their skills.
A Father’s Lament
Children are not supposed to die before their parents. Its one of those unwritten laws. So when an event occurs that takes away the life of a precious son or daughter there is often a period of prolonged grief, questioning and regret.
In February 2011 Christchurch, New Zealand’s second largest city, suffered a devastating earthquake that took numerous lives and decimated the centre of this proud place. Many of the historic landmark buildings that defined Christchurch collapsed and claimed the lives of ordinary people in the course of their normal daily lives. Sons, daughters, husbands, wives, lovers, friends and relations died or were injured, some seriously.
In February my wife and I visited Christchurch to meet with friends and relations at the end of a short South Island holiday. It was a sobering visit. In the middle of what used to be the busiest shopping area in the CBD we found this lament attached to a chainlink fence enclosing a city in the process of demolition. Like all disasters, natural or man-made, the people who are intimately involved take the longest time to recover. Memories, regrets and sorrows linger with those left behind.
For Shearing No More, But Sharing
The St James Station was once one of the largest operating cattle and sheep stations in New Zealand, dating back to 1862. It was purchased by the Government in 2008 for public conservation land to protect its natural, physical and cultural values and open it up to outdoor recreation and tourism. Surrounding the site of the old St James Station homestead is a collection of historic farm buildings that have been left in the park as a reminder of the area’s farming heritage. The largest of the buildings is the shearing shed. It is a reminder that wool was once a major contributor to the New Zealand economy, and to a lesser extent still is.
The St James Conservation area is reached by a winding unsealed road climbing into the St James Range from Hanmer Springs in North Canterbury.
Weekly Photo Challenge: Green
This oasis of green is at the site of the old St James Station homestead beside the Clarence River in the St James Range in North Canterbury. The original St James Homestead built around 1880 burned down in 1947 but the out buildings that remain are considered of special importance and worthy of restoration by the Department of Conservation. The area is reached by car by following a winding narrow unsealed road out of Hanmer Springs leading to the Molesworth Station. At a “T” junction the road to the left leads to the site of the old St James Homestead. In summer this area is very dry but the area immediately around the homestead site is green and sheltered by trees.
Just the space for husbands bored with shopping and sightseeing! Reload Bar & Brasserie, Martinborough, New Zealand.
Martinborough is a small rural town in the Wairarapa District north of Wellington. Its a popular short break destination for Wellingtonians and hosts a very popular annual wine and food festival. The Martinborough Hotel is the dominant building on Centennial Square at the centre of the town.
Quoting from the Hotels’ webpage “Taking pride of place at the entrance to the square is The Martinborough Hotel. Developer Edmund Buckeridge described it in 1882 as ‘one of the finest hostelries ever erected in any inland town in New Zealand.’ A way station for prosperous travellers to and from the South Wairarapa’s huge, isolated sheep stations, its grand façade has been a focal point for the town right from the early days.
This country pub is a pleasant place to stop for a quiet glass of wine and a light meal.
Just the place for a quiet weekend get-away from the hustle and bustle of Wellington?
Memorial Square, Martinborough in the Wairarapa District near Wellington. The early morning sun casting shadows across the square.
A new phenomenon hit Auckland last week. It was so unusual that it featured on the evening TV news as a feature product at the “Big Boys’ Toys” expo held at the Auckland Showgrounds.
Apparently this device is known as a “Flyboard” and is powered by a jetski. According to the product’s website “The Flyboard is a water jet powered machine which allows propulsion underwater and in the air. The position of two nozzles under your feet ensure 90% of the propulsion and allow for movement controlled by tilting one’s feet. The nozzles on the hands are used to ensure stabilization, just as ski poles would.”
These images were captured from Takapuna Beach yesterday afternoon. It seems that buyers need deep pockets as the Flyboard is priced from NZ$13995.00 (plus the required jetski, of course)!
Click on each image for a larger view.
Its 7.30 am and the sun is rising over rural Martinborough. The local postmen (“Posties”) are in the sorting room next to the postbox lobby bundling letters to put into the bags on their bikes to start their rounds. The streets are still quiet but traffic is beginning to move as people head off to work in the town, or further afield to Wellington over the Rimutaka Hill. Newspapers lie on the ground waiting to be inserted into postboxes for townspeople to collect on the way to work.
Still Abandoned in Venice Street
Here is a monochrome variation of the post Abandoned in Venice Street. I have been playing with the techniques of producing B&W images for a while and have added Perfect Effects 7 to my kitset of tools. Some images develop a whole different life when given the monochrome treatment. The original colour image is shown below for you to judge for yourself.
Abandoned in Venice Street
Found in the small Wairarapa town of Martinborough, some 80 km north east of Wellington on New Zealand’s North Island. Martinborough is famous for its Pinot Noir wines, however this scene was in one of the residential streets near the town centre. Everything here looks as though it has seen better days, unlike the rest of the town which is thriving on its farming and wine economies.
Rangitoto Island in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf can be seen from many parts of the city. This volcanic cone guards the entrance to the Waitemata Harbour and all shipping entering the harbour passes through the channel seen in this view. The mood of the island changes throughout the day and with the weather. This image was taken just before 8.00 am on an early spring morning in 2009. The clouds reflect the changeable weather we have in Auckland at that time of the year.
Strings of Pearls
I was strolling along, and there it was glistening in the early morning light. Dewdrop “pearls” strung on webs of silk in Alpine Victoria.
This sight caught my attention one morning as I was walking on the trail between Bright and Myrtleford in Victoria, Australia. Clearly the caravan has seen better days, but it seems to be still in use as there is an electrical connection. I would guess the roof leaks though if the shelter over the top gives any clue!