New Zealand

Summer 2007/8


A New Zealand Adventure

A New Zealand Adventure - An 11 week holiday spanning southland's 2007/8 summer. Top left: Fiordland Crested Penguin, Lake Manapouri Sunset, Takahe, Milford Track, Akarora Harbor, Routeburn Track, Waipapa Point Lighthouse, Mountain Daisy, Gannet, Maori symbol of new life. Read the report of my tramping adventure.

Onetahuti Bay Abel Tasman

Onetahuti Bay, Abel Tasman - On this day, after taking a water taxi to Bark Bay, my friend and I walked to Awaroa and its luxury lodging. Onetahuti Bay was one of the stunning beaches along the way. The following 3 days we kayaked back along Abel Tasman's beautiful coastline.

Cape Foulwind Coastline

Cape Foulwind Coastline - While at Cape Foulwind (near Westport) I stayed at "The Great Beach House," and indeed it met expectations. While there my hosts transported me to the nearby coast track where I not only walked the track overlooking the Tasman Sea, but also walked the nearby beach back to the B&B.

Akarora Harbor

Akarora Harbor - On the Banks Peninsula south of Christchurch, Akarora is an idyllic place to visit. Relax on the beach, kayak in the harbor, eat some good food, visit artist shops, or just kick back and read a book. Quite pleasant.

Coromandel Coastline

Coromandel Coastline - Take a walk to Cathedral Cove for this view.

Driving Creek Railway Coromandel

Driving Creek Railway - Just outside of Coromandel Town is the narrow-gauge Driving Creek Railway, a handcrafted love project by its artist/owner over a period of 27 years. An absolute must to visit.

McLean Falls Catlins

McLean Falls - The Catlins is a stretch of enchanting coastline filled with wildlife, beautiful bays and beaches, numerous waterfalls, charming forests, and magnificent vistas. Here is but one.

Matai Falls Catlins

Matai Falls - The Catlins has numerous easy-to-walk short tracks through lush forest to waterfalls and other eye-catching scenery.

Kaikouri Sunset

Kaikouri Sunset - After a day of whale watching, it was time to relax and enjoy the sunset.

Blue Pools Mt. Aspiring

Blue Pools - A drive through beautiful Mt. Aspiring offers a plethora of of stops to view stunning natural wonders.

View of Alps from Okarito Beach

View of Alps from Okarito Beach - My favorite place to relax on the west coast was the tiny town of Okarito. I relaxed by taking a beach walk along the Tasman Sea and then enjoyed the views of the nearby Alps from the beach. Who could ask for anything more.

Volcanic Geyser Rotorua

Volcanic Geyser - The town of Rotorua doesn't alway smell nice, they say it's the sulphur from the volcanic hot springs.

Yellow-eyed Penguins Roaring Bay

Yellow-eyed Penguins - Back from a day feeding in the ocean, these guys greeted each other and then didn't know which way to go. Were they bonding or did they realize they all smelled from fish! Quite enjoyable to watch at Roaring Bay in the Catlins.

Spotted Shag Curio Bay

Spotted Shag - Curio Bay, Catlins.

Royal Albatross Otago Peninsula

Royal Albatross - The Otago Peninsula near Dunedin is a nesting site for these great birds. Plenty of wind to take off and land and to glide effortlessly all day. I viewed this magnificant bird from a boat tour near the Royal Albatross Center on the Peninsula.

Gannet Farewell Spit

Gannet - From Collingwood I hopped a small 4WD bus for a guided journey on the Farewell Spit. Near the end of the 21 km long sand spit is a lighthouse and after that is the Gannet bird colony. Along the way were numerous stops where I viewed all sorts of sea and shore birds.

Fiordland Crested Penguin

Fiordland Crested Penguin - Certainly my best vote for penguin watching. Here at Monro Beach, 20 km north of Haast, I viewed 4 at dusk on 1 December. Timing was everything because in another week these guys would leave their breading ground for several months at sea of continuous feeding and then return to molt in March/April.

Bar-tailed Godwits Farewell Spit

Bar-tailed Godwits - More birding on the Farewell Spit, a guided trip based out of Collingwood.

Pukeko Kapiti Island

Takahe - I'm slow, I don't fly, I'm tough, I'm rare & endangered, and I don't taste like chicken! My home is Kapiti Island, they brought me here in hopes that I would breed.

North Island Robin Karori Sanctuary

North Island Robin - Not your most stunning bird, but the robins of New Zealand are very friendly. With a bit of patience they will scurry to your shoes. This one was viewed at Karori Sanctuary, a great place to visit in the heart of Wellington.

Sperm Whale Kaikoura Whale Watch

Sperm Whale - Whale watching at Kaikoura. We saw 2 sperm whales along with a pod of Hector and a pod of Dusky dolphins.

Mountain Buttercup Routeburn Track

Mountain Buttercup - December was a good time to view alpine wildflowers on the Routeburn Track, something I missed when here last time in February. But don't expect the diversity of wildflowers found in California.

Mountain Daisy Routeburn Track

Mountain Daisy - This one I snapped while on the Routeburn Track, but they were also prevalent in the high country on the Kepler and Milford tracks. I learned that most New Zealand alpine flowers are white because the pollinators are nocturnal moths, how 'bout that!

Fern Frond ~ Maori Symbol of New Life

Fern Frond - Known as the Maori symbol of new life, they are a prolific and beautiful fern. They can be viewed in nearly all bush areas, but this one was from the Heaphy Track.

Heaphy Track along Tasman Sea

Heaphy Track - A beautiful walk along the Tasman Sea is but one reason the Heaphy Track was a special place to visit. Of course my favorite reason is the Heaphy Hut locale is at the terminus of the Heaphy River with the Tasman Sea. Wonderful best describes those spectacular beaches walks

Lake Alabaster Hollyford Track

Lake Alabaster - Although I endured seemingly endless rain while on the Hollyford Track, this day was a reprieve. Alabaster Hut is situated at the base of this sublime lake, and on this morning it offered a perfect mirrored reflection.

Hidden Falls Hollyford Track

Hidden Falls - On the Hollyford Track is Hidden Falls and hut. The falls were thunderous when the weather was fine on the day I shot this picture. On my way out the morning after the weather turned to hard rain. The falls were then deafening and the mist from it was more wet than the torrents of rain.

Gunn's Camp

Gunn's Camp - A truly unfashionable hovel located near the end of the Hollyford Road. It has neither electricity nor telephone. You can only reach it by email ( or post, they have no website. This place is definitely worth a visit, browse the museum - ouch! that's a lamb castrator.

Routeburn River Routeburn Track

Routeburn River - From the start of the track near Glenorchy, the Routeburn Track follows the beautiful jade green river of its name.

Alpine Meadow Routeburn Track

Alpine Meadow - Past the Routeburn Hut, the Routeburn Track climbs to a high meadow and follows the meandandering river of its name.

Lake Harris Routeburn Track

Lake Harris - As you climb during the second day of the Routeburn Track, you reach the stunning Lake Harris before reaching the warming shelter at the saddle.

View of Alps Routeburn Track

View of Alps - After Harris Saddle on the Routeburn Track, you follow a ridge track providing eye-catching views of snow capped alps above the Hollyford valley. A week later I would be tramping the Hollyford, but not in the fine weather I enjoyed on this day!

Lake Mackenzie Routeburn Track

Lake Mackenzie - The ridge route on Routeburn Track took a sharp bend, I then stood in awe as Lake Mackenzie came into view. The hut by its name is located at the base of this lake (in the photos at the right side, a barely visible dot).

Key Summit Routeburn Track

Key Summit - At the Howden Hut I dropped my pack for a side trip to Key Summit from the Routeburn Track. At the summit is a guided walk (often on boardwalk) through a high mountain wetland. It offered some of the most spectacular flora I saw while in New Zealand. Afterwards, most trampers continue to the Divide to end their Routeburn adventure, rather I chose to continue on the Greenstone to make my adventure into a loop.

Peek-a-boo Clouds Kepler Track

Peek-a-boo Clouds - On the morning of the all important second day on the Kepler Track, as I climbed its ridge track, I was greeted by scattered fog and clouds. Here the nearby alps were playing peek-a-boo through the clouds.

High Ridges Kepler Track

High Ridges - While on the knife edge ridge of the Kepler Track, I had grand views in all directions.

Stairway from Ridge Kepler Track

Stairway from Ridge - What goes up must come down. After the ridges of the Kepler Track is a section of track nick named the Zigzag trail. It consists of numerous stairs (while I walked down the ridges) and switchbacks (once I reached the bush) as I descended 1 km to the Iris Burn Hut.

1986 Big Slip Kepler Track

1986 Big Slip - On the third day of the Kepler Track after leaving the Iris Burn Hut is a section of track which in 1986 experienced a large landslide known as The Big Slip.

Lake Manapouri Sunset ~ Kepler Track

Lake Manapouri Sunset - Often overlooked because of its proximity to the Rainbow Reach exit point, the Moturau Hut on the Kepler Track has my favorite beach for sunsets. Those who stayed here also had a luxurious warm water swim in the lake. That evening all were awed by a dramatic sunset.

Wetland Boardwalk Milford Track

Wetland Boardwalk - After a 1-1/2 hour morning ferry ride to Glade Wharf, the start of the Milford Track began. The walk to the Clinton Hut was a short 1 hour, but along the way I took a side trip, sometimes on boardwalk, to a nearby wetland.

Authur's Valley Milford Track

Authur's Valley It didn't begin that way, but I was ultimately graced with fine weather on the most important third day on the Milford Track. My day began with a climb to Macinnon Pass in foggy but otherwise dry weather. After a break at the warming hut I learned it was snowing. Miraculously the weather turned fine just 10 minutes later, and I was honored with blue skies and fluffy clouds down the gorgeous Authur's Valley.

Staircase path Milford Track

Staircase path - Beautiful and steep, the 1 km elevation loss from Macinnon Pass to the Dumpling Hut on the Milford Track had numerous staircases. This one was adjacent to the wonderful Roaring Burn River.

Bush path Milford Track

Bush path - Once down from Macinnon Pass on the Milford Track, the track follows the Authur River often through lush, green bush.

Sutherland Falls Milford Track

Sutherland Falls - My trek on the Milford Track was one with lots of rain, 2 of the 4 days were very wet, the important middle day was fine. So with all that water Sutherland Falls (580 m) was a sight to behold.

North Arm Steward Island

North Arm, Steward Island - Cursed with mud and drizzle and high winds, most of my trek from Oban to Mason Bay was a trip of adversity. The reward at Mason Bay was to view Kiwis in the bush, certainly worthwhile, I saw 2. This, my only picture, was from the first day on the way to Fresh Water Landing. Read all about what I endured in my report.

Akarora Lighthouse

Akarora Lighthouse

Hokatiki Lighthouse

Hokatiki Lighthouse

Cape Foulwind Lighthouse

Cape Foulwind Lighthouse

Waipapa Point Lighthouse

Waipapa Point Lighthouse

Nugget Point Lighthouse

Nugget Point Lighthouse

Taiaroa Head Lighthouse

Taiaroa Head Lighthouse

Farewell Spit Lighthouse

Farewell Spit Lighthouse