Tag Archive for 'new zealand'

Waxeye

Waxeye

Waxeye

Boat

Seen from the Cook Strait Ferry

Balancing Act

Sandfly Bay

Tractor

Tractor, NZ style

Halo

Okiwi Bay

Okiwi Bay

Curio Bay

Catlins with Ewan and Marion

Catlins with Ewan and Marion

Dolphins in Porpoise Bay, Catlins, NZ

Catlins with Ewan and Marion

Catlins with Ewan and Marion

Home time after fishing

Okiwi Bay

Okiwi Bay

Off I go to my new life

Today I leave NZ, spend a few days in Sydney, and the fly off to my new life in Cambridge, UK.

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West Coast

I drove back from Christchurch via the West Coast the other day. It was a beautiful trip.

Fishing on Lake Lyndon

Fishing on Lake Lyndon

Hawk at Castle Hill

Hawk at Castle Hill

Otira viaduct

Otira viaduct

Rugby field in Hokitika

Rugby field in Hokitika

Sunset at Bruce Bay

Sunset at Bruce Bay

Dusk at Knights Point

Dusk at Knights Point

I also picked up a guy who’d run into a bridge and dropped him in Greymouth. Hope the rest of your holiday goes smoothly Tony!

The rest of the photos are here.

New Zealand Rocks!!!!

While taking a few photos at Franx Josef glacier the other day I accidentally bumped the zoom. Somehow reminds me of the poster from Flight of the Conchords. Definitely another ! Murray…

to the extreme!!!

to the extreme!!!

Velvet Burger

Go to Velvet Burger in Dunedin, NZ for a good burger. They have connect four!

burger + beer

burger + beer

connect four!

connect four!

sticker

sticker

Van stuck on Tautuku Beach

Van stuck on Tautuku Beach in the Catlins

Van stuck on Tautuku Beach in the Catlins

Bushfire light?

There’s been some crazy and beautiful light around Dunedin today, and probably over much of New Zealand. I bet it’s smoke from the fires in Australia: the result of the brutal summer they’re having.

Dunedin sunset

Dunedin sunset

The Catlins

I went for another wee trip to drop my cousin over to Te Anau. We drove through the Catlins, in the Southeast corner of the South Island. We started out at the Nuggets, and then had a lunch stop and some waterfalls.

New Haven

New Haven

Matai Falls

Matai Falls

We camped at Tautuku Bay and watched the sunset.

Tautuku Bay

Tautuku Bay

The next day we drove on  past Slope Pt, the southernmost point on the Mainland.

Slope Point

Slope Point

We had fish ‘n’ chips for lunch in Bluff.

Stewart Island seen from Bluff

Stewart Island seen from Bluff

We then drove on to Te Anau… more photos here.

Milford

We went for a drive over to Milford late last week, we camped the first night on the shores of Lake Te Anau. This was pretty much the view from the back door of the campervan!

Lake Te Anau

Lake Te Anau

We stopped at the Mirror Lakes on the way in to Milford, it was raining a bit so they weren’t too mirror-like.

Mirror Lakes

Mirror Lakes

It was also foggy, so no epic pictures of Mitre Peak.

Foggy cliffs

Foggy cliffs

Coming out of the Homer Tunnel again there were entertaining Kea.

Kea

Kea

At least with some rain there was plenty of water in the rivers.

River

River

Starting back, we stayed the night at Mavora Lakes.

Mavora Lakes sunset

Mavora Lakes sunset

The rest of the photos are here.

Central Otago

Earlier this week we spent a few days driving through dirt roads in Central Otago. The views to be had out there are beautifully rugged…

Rock and Pillar

Rock and Pillar

There are old unused buildings from gold mining days.

Deserted hut

Deserted hut

And wonderfully shaped hills. If you like the look have a look for Graeme Sydney stuff.

Hill

Hill

More photos here.

Dunedin Harbour

I spent yesterday sightseeing along the west side of Dunedin’s beautiful harbour. We started the day looking down from Mt Cargill.

Port Chalmers, Quarantine and Goat Is., and Portobello

Port Chalmers, Quarantine and Goat Is., and Portobello

Then I went out to Aramoana with my cousin for a walk along the breakwater. There were shags and seals.

Shag at Aramoana

Shag at Aramoana

We then went to Hayward’s Point, starting above Port Chalmers. To me the containers look painted in…

Port Chalmers

Port Chalmers

Out at the end of the harbour we had a nice view over the beach.

Aramoana beach

Aramoana beach

Canoeing the Taieri

Today we paddled from Outram to Allenton along the Taieri River. I was the perfect day to be so close to so much cool water!

it turned out I missed a wee patch for sunscreen

it turned out I missed a wee patch for sunscreen

our trusty old open Candian

our trusty old open Candian

More canoeing photos here.

The (political) barometer?

change

change

Otago Museum Tropical Forest

I visited the Otago Museum‘s Tropical Forest today. It’s full of butterflies.

butterfly on a frond

butterfly on a frond

butterfly

butterfly

Portobello Aquarium

Octopus

Octopus

Spearfishing

I went spearfishing for the first time this morning. As you can tell from his face my brother was stoked!

my bro in the cold Dunedin water

my bro in the cold Dunedin water

Polarising filter example

Here are two photos, the first without, and the second with a polarizing filter

without polarizing filter

without polarizing filter

There is quite a difference…

with polarizing filter

with polarizing filter

This is Christmas in NZ

Bumblebee on a Pohutukawa tree on Christmas day

Bumblebee on a Pohutukawa tree on Christmas day

I drove all the way to Christchurch and all I saw was this crappy sign in a car window

car sign

car sign

Tunnel Beach

We went out to Tunnel Beach today. Very cool place so close to Dunedin.

Tunnel beach

Tunnel beach

Tunnel beach

Tunnel beach

A few more photos here.

Dunedin Rainbow

Dunedin rainbow

Dunedin rainbow

South Coast Track

After Christmas we went for a walk along the South Coast track. It begins near Tuatapere and wanders around the coast. We walked as far as the Wiraurahuri river and caught a jet boat up to Lake Hauroko. A beautiful part of the country…

Beach on the South Coast track

Beach on the South Coast track

There were parts of the walk on the beach, alternating with parts in the forest.

Fantail

Fantail

Fern

Fern

Being at the bottom of the South Island, we could see Stewart Island for a fair bit of the trip.

Stewart Island

Stewart Island

The rest of the photos are here.

Orokonui Sanctuary

A few days before Christmas we took a trip to see the Orokonui Sanctuary, a new sanctuary near Dunedin modeled on the Karori one in Wellington. Though in its infancy, the sanctuary has some friendly Kaka.

Kaka at Orokonui Sanctuary

Kaka at Orokonui Sanctuary

More photos here.

Merry Xmas

merry xmas

merry xmas

Flying over the South Island

I love sitting on the right side of the plane when I fly to Dunedin…

south island hills

south island hills

Air New Zealand check-in

Ok so I took a crappy photo, but how cool is the AirNZ check in at Wellington airport. You do the computer thingy, but then just chuck your bag on a conveyor that takes your bag back to where they decide where to send it… so simple!

welly airnz check-in

welly airnz check-in

Back in Wellington

We got back to Welly and went for a walk around. Good ol’ bucket fountain still tipping tirelessly…

bucket fountain

bucket fountain

And pohutukawa trees! (with cabbage trees in shot too)

the NZ xmas tree!

the NZ xmas tree!

Election

It’s been announced, the date for the most important election of the year.

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Panorama photos

I’ve been playing with Hugin, an application for making panoramic images from a set of overlapping photos. Here’s an example, which shows how the images are screwed around to make things line up… in this case I didn’t take different exposures into account when the photos were taken.

panorama taken from Mt John in NZ

Kepler track

Part of the reason for going back to NZ was to walk the Kepler track with my brother and cousin. The Kepler is about 60km long, making a loop in the mountains rising from the shores of Lake Te Anau. Easter is a pretty busy time, so we did the walk backwards (like Spike Milligan…). This post is about our trip, and hopefully gives some useful info for others intending on doing the walk.

We planned for the walk at a bar, writing out a shopping list of stuff which we then went and purchased. Doing so at a supermarket we probably ended up with too much ‘normal’ food, and too little light camping style freeze-dried stuff. This turned out to be a bit of a pain for me, more due to lack of fitness and practise than because of extreme weight. We paid for huts on the DOC website weeks beforehand.

We stayed overnight in Te Anau at the main holiday park, and caught the bus to Rainbow Reach the next morning. We got some info on the bus when we picked up our hut tickets (needs to be done prior to the walk). The bus left from outside the DOC center across the road from where we stayed. The first day promised to be pretty easy, a leisurely 1.5hr walk to Lake Manapouri. We left early so had the whole afternoon to relax on the beach (relaxing involves DEET to repel the multitude of sandflies of course).

We found the huts to be well set up, with cookers, mattresses, and even a few pot scrubs to do the dishes. They also have running water and flush toilets! The mattresses are a bit noisy due to covers, but at least the bunk areas are warm due to lots of people. After some cheese and crackers with a few games of cards, we had dinner on the beach. We lit a fire and watched the sun set behind the hills.

sunset over Manapouri

Day two had some real walking, 5 or so hours up the valley to Iris Burn hut. Most of the day was in Beech forest, with the spare space taken up by ferns. The first half was much faster than we expected, probably since we found we went quicker earlier in the day.

ferns in the forest

We stopped for lunch by the river, finishing off the previous days lunch. At this point it was starting to dawn on us that we hay way more food than was necessary. Sometime around this time my pack was starting to feel pretty heavy too, partly due to the 80l capacity which I always seemed to fill most of.

lunch by the river

There is a stretch of the day out in the open, near the imaginatively named ‘Big Slip’. This part gave us the first real look at the surrounding hills. There is a little hill at the end of the day, and then a little drop down to Iris Burn hut. The area around the hut is very nice, with hills on all sides and a short walk to the (very cold) river where some people had a (very short) swim. Again the hut was well appointed. We met up with some friends, who told us of the joys ahead the next day, which involved a 500m climb via 97 zig-zags.

We managed the climb out of the trees reasonably easily the net morning, things being much easier first thing in the day. We were rewarded with some wonderful views when we reached the tree line near the end of the first climb. The rest of the day goes along the tops toward Luxmore hut, with two emergency shelters along the way. We stopped at the first for lunch, and the second for afternoon tea. I found the going pretty hard on my feet, with lots of rock underfoot instead of the more leafy/dirty stuff of the first two days. The best views came from the top of Mt Luxmore near the end of the day as we approached Luxmore hut.

view from Mt Luxmore

This being our last night, we continued to eat as much food as possible to make our final day as easy as possible. In the end we still finished the track with tonnes of scroggin and a loaf of bread.

The last day was a big drop down to the lake, and a walk around some of it. Before leaving we had a look at the caves near the hut. To get to them requires a few steps along the trail back to Te Anau, and a walk off to the right to where the caves start. The caves are quite spacious, aside from a little squeeze down to about 1m near the start. We didn’t have tonnes of time, so I turned back after a while. It seemed like the caves went on forever!

Luxmore caves

The walk down was pretty hard on my legs, being pretty much a constant downhill for about 1000m. Upon reaching the lake we had a quick bite (so did the ever present sandflies) and pushed on to the end. Ewan went ahead to collect the car…

We arrived at the control gates near the end eventually, and waited for our ride to appear. I had an Easter egg and enjoyed the view over the lake.

Lake Te Anau near the control gates

The rest of the photos are here.

Back in beautiful NZ

Yesterday I went for a drive up the Otago Peninsula with my dad. It’s very nice up there…

dunedin coastline

More photos when I get somewhere I can upload them in a finite time…

Trees!

So the coolest thing about snowboarding in places that aren’t New Zealand is trees. I just spent three days snowboarding through trees at Sugarbush resort in Vermont. Some times they were spaced nicer than others, but there was generally a ton of powder on the way through… it’s times like those that there just isn’t time to take photos, and I can’t be bothered carrying my camera, so you’ll just have to picture me cruising through silky powder in beautiful birch and pine glades…

Chicago!

I’m exhausted. My weekend trip to visit Amanda in Chicago turned into a tour of some of the local drinking establishments… with a little sightseeing thrown in on the side. I also left my mobile phone in a shuttle, so am phoneless.

I arrived slightly later than planned on Friday. My flight out of Boston was delayed by some gum on a seatbelt, and I consequently missed my connecting flight by a few minutes (despite running and skipping the security queue). I was put on the next flight about ten minutes later thankfully. I caught the Omega shuttle down to the University of Chicago’s area of Hyde Park. Being on the south side, Hyde Park is something of an oasis of middle class surrounded by poor/rough neigbourhoods. There are certain streets one just doesn’t go past…

We started the late afternoon with free post-doc beers (one), and a few greasy fries. The evening saw us off toward Wicker Park, a popular eating and drinking area. We first sat outside at a bar for a pre-dinner drink (two), and then had some pizza and beer around the corner (three). We only got the medium size pizza, since the large ones were about the size of a table. Following dinner we met up with some others at a generic loud bar with lots of televisions (four), before moving on to a German place (five). This was one of those places that serves 1 liter steins. More curiously it had aussie rules footy on one of the tv’s.

this tee shirt is popular everywhere!

We were eventually kicked out (at closing), but since we weren’t done we went on to a blues bar (six) until they finished up too. Don’t ask how we got home, well to where we stayed anyway since we didn’t make it home…

We headed back to Hyde Park via town, using the “L” for a tour around the town loop. Being a few floors off the street, the train is a great way to see some of the buildings in the middle of the city. The Chicago River runs through the middle of town, and looks very cool with skyscrapers rising from right next to it, and being crossed regularly with old iron bridges.

The next evening started quietly, with good food and a beer at a restaurant (seven). We then started our tour of some more local bars, hosted by local Ken. He first took us to what looked to me like the American “idea” bar (eight), where we started on some of the incredibly cheaply priced midwestern beer. Next was a very local feeling place (nine), where we sat outside on plastic chairs at plastic tables and drank margaritas from plastic cups. After that was a place with lots of Elvis stuff on the walls (ten), but also other junk. Apparently there was another New Zealander, but my Flight of the Conchords tee didn’t draw them out… The last bar of the evening (eleven) had $3.25 gin and tonic. We made it home after giving a taxi driver blow-by-blow directions, which is a little odd in a city set out like a grid with numbered streets.

Sunday started slowly, but we eventually made it toward town, and walked up to some beaches. Hunger drove us to a bar (twelve!) for some meat and a beer. We went to another local person’s house for a bit of a wine tasting party after that, before heading home much in the same manner as Saturday night (i.e. giving directions to a Taxi driver).

some tall buildings

Thanks Amanda for an awesome weekend!

A few more photos are here. There are also some from drinking wine on Sunday night here.

Flight of the Conchords in NY

NZ seems so much funnier when I’m not living there…

Flight of the Conchords has a show on HBO coming up, the trailer is very funny, as is the music video…

Black Sheep: done (well not done…)

I went with some people to see the movie Black Sheep recently, it was everything I expected it to be. It had blood, my old mate Nathan as the lead, and of course sheep jokes.

movie ticket

Thanks, Independent Film Festival of Boston!

New Zealand is too small…

So I arrive in Boston, and my friends show me a photo of a poster for a new movie, Black Sheep. I look at the picture for a second, and then realise I grew up about two doors down from the lead actor. We used to skate together back in the day…

movie poster

movie poster

Nice one Nathan!

Leaving

My trip has (not) started with a delayed flight. We were supposed to leave at `9:40 but now it’s going to be 21:45. The lady assured me any connecting flights would be rebooked, which matters since my flight through to Boston doesn’t exactly have a lot of wiggle room. It would be rather a pain if my trip started with a missed flight! They have started giving out free water, orange juice and biscuits. The type one gets in flight unfortunately.

I’m not excited yet, more nervous than anything else I think. The hassle of going through numerous security checks doesn’t help, though at least in NZ the people are friendly. I hear this doesn’t apply to American security.

The weather appears to be mild in Boston, only 1degC tomorrow. This should make it possible to wander around with pretty normal clothes, rather than a big jacket which I don’t have.

I’ve had an excellent trip through NZ the last week. The only person I missed seeing was Tom. Hiring a car was the best thing I’ve done for a trip like this, rather expensive but worth it for getting about and having freedom. A whole bunch of people are likely to come visit while I’m there. Julie is gong to be in Canada, as is Simon so they may visit. Laurie said he’d come over, despite never visiting me in Canberra. There are also a bunch of people who I can contact when I arrive, who are mates of people I know.

Delayed flights and expensive internet

Wonderful Auckland International Airport. As I sit here next to a food machine people are leaving Gate 10 in droves. Apparently the flight has been delayed further to a departure time of 23:00, rather later than the scheduled time of 19:40. Instead of leaving I’ve so far chosen to sit and surf for something like NZD$10 an hour on my shiny new macbook pro. As an AIA shareholder I’m a little disappointed, though I’m sure there are bigger forces at work…

This isn’t exactly the start I was hoping for on my big trip to the USA. I did expect to go through security multiple times, which I have. I did expect large queues, which I got. I hoped to get away without anyone checking how much my road case with two laptops weighs, which is did.

In my absence Canberra has been inundated with an awesome hailstorm. ANU has closed for the next few days to clean up the mess!

Mmmm pie…

For some reason BP in New Zealand have a thing about selling pies…

pie ad

Playing possum

This is what we do to possums in NZ…

chalky digits sticker

Otago central rail trail trip

Last week Nick, Michelle, Ewan and myself travelled the Otago Central Rail Trail for four days by bicycle. It’s an old railway (now unused like many sadly) which has been converted into a cycle and walking track for use by the public. We covered 140km in the four days, enjoying pub food and freezing southerly winds along the way.

Photos now up!

Crappy fix-it job

If you thought you already knew what crappy handyman workmanship looked like maybe you should think again. This is a little gem from a pretty average backpackers in Middlemarch, in Central Otago in beautiful New Zealand.

classy

cn u pass nz exms?

I sometimes wonder about my kiwi education. I think I missed out by not doing history and geography, but it appears my ability to (mostly) spell words properly may become a real asset.

If kids have to resort to speaking ‘txt’ in exams then something is wrong. Why not have Vodafone and Telecom block text messages that aren’t written in full proper english? Since I’ve always made the effort to use real words that would be awesome…

Here’s a few articles: first one | the fallout