I’m not one for bucket lists. But ever since I was a teenager, I’ve had a list of 5 cities that I wanted to visit (in no particular order): Istanbul, Barcelona, Sydney, Hong Kong, and Rio de Janeiro. I’ve been to Istanbul and Barcelona, but didn’t think I’d make it to Sydney (simply because it was so far from the rest of the world). As luck would have it, our move to New Zealand opened up Australasia/Oceania for us to explore, and this past Christmas 2014, we made a quick trip to Sydney.
If I had to pick one picture that got me interested in photography, it would be one that I captured during this trip to the Maroon Bells in August 2003. It was probably the first time I consciously made decisions in order to take a shot and succeeded in getting a decent result. That image was selected as one of the Top 10 Digital Images of 2014 at my local photography club last night, so I thought this would make a timely Throwback Thursday post.
With my usual flair for being late to all internet trends, here is my first Throwback Thursday post (apparently it’s a thing): a trip to New York in June 2001. It was our first proper trip as a couple after college/university. And also my first trip after getting a digital camera — the mighty 3-megapixel HP Photosmart 315! Unfortunately, any skills gained during my 5 years of using a Canon film SLR (in high school and college) had deserted me in the intervening time and I was pretty much a beginner in photography. Any half-decent pictures from the trip were the result of pure dumb luck…
Not many people visit Glenorchy, I don’t think. The sleepy little town of 200 is certainly out of the way. Past the tourist mecca of Queenstown, at the end of a winding road, it is practically the last town at the end of the (paved) road. You’d be forgiven for giving Glenorchy a miss. But you would be missing out on a real gem of New Zealand.
Topping out at 3,724 m (12,218 ft), Aoraki/Mount Cook is the highest mountain in New Zealand. It served as Sir Edmund Hillary’s training gound for Everest, and is one of the highlights of any trip to the South Island. During the term holiday, we spent four fantastic days there, exploring the trails through the valleys.
There is a place that, like many places, is overlooked in favour of more famous places. Places like Mt. Cook, Arthur’s Pass, and Milford Sound are justifiably famous and visited by many people on the South Island of New Zealand. But right here in our backyard in Mid Canterbury there is a place tucked away from most people that rivals the beauty of the others. That place, is Erewhon, the end of Nowhere.
New Zealand is home to many braided rivers. A braided river is one that has many channels criss-crossing over each other, looking like a braid. One such braided river is the Waimakariri, one of the largest rivers in Canterbury. On its journey from the Southern Alps to the Pacific Ocean, it creates a wide valley below Arthur’s Pass. This valley is just about a 2-hour drive from our house, leaving it within my reach between school drop-off and pick-up.
Sharplin Falls is an easy walk on Mt. Somers, about a 40-minute drive away. We decided to check it out soon after we arrived here. Little did we know that we would be transported to a rainforest.
Ah, the South Pacific…conjures up images of white sandy beaches, swaying coconut trees, and warm blue waters. I’ve been on a few beach vacations to some great locations…Maui, Anguilla, Cancun. They were all very pretty. But nothing prepared me for our first foray into the South Pacific. After two years without a visit to the beach and 12 consecutive months without summer (we left London at the end of the northern winter and arrived in New Zealand at the start of the southern winter), we decided on Fiji as our beach vacation.
One of the great things about living in New Zealand are the dark skies. With very little light pollution, the stars are bright in the night sky. And one of the best places to see them is at Lake Tekapo, which is part of the gold-rated Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve. And that is where we decided on our first Kiwi vacation.