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May 2, 2018 … A South Island Ramble

For the last two weeks, more or less, Mary and I spent time in the South Island. We visited the family in Queenstown, though I also had the ulterior motive of the Photographic Society of New Zealand’s  annual convention in Dunedin. The weather forecast was gloomy but somewhat ambiguous as we set out.

The Kaiarahi comes in to berth in the place our own ferry has just vacated.

I am always baffled by the loading process on the Interislander ferries. I imagine that they attempt to distribute vehicles fore and aft, port and starboard so that the vessel is properly balanced. However, the selections of who goes next and who goes where is seemingly quite random.

An elegant white swan at Liffey wetlands near Lincoln

We stopped on the way South at a nice AirBnB in the Lincoln district, near Christchurch. It was a lovely rural location that I might never have found without the aid of a GPS. As we left there on our way to Dunedin, we passed Liffey Springs, a spring-fed creek that flows into the Lincoln wetlands where there are a lot of waterfowl of one sort or another.

The broad flat lands of South Canterbury bump into the distant Southern Alps

Despite the forecast there was a clear view Westward to the snow-capped Southern Alps, seen here from somewhere near Dunsandel. Our travels took us to Musselburgh in Dunedin where we spent the night before I loaded Mary onto a bus bound for Queenstown the next day.

The harbour in Otago looking out towards Port Chalmers and the Taiaroa Heads

Prior to the opening of the convention, I took the road out to Port Chalmers and marvelled that the Otago harbour is more often than not, very calm when I meet it.

A white-capped or shy albatross cruises past the boat

The convention was well enough, offering a number of pre-booked field trips, each suited to one of the many genres of photography. My first such adventure was on the charter-vessel Monarch which took us down the placid harbour , offering some nice landscape opportunities, and then past Taiaroa Head to the open sea. There, as expected, we encountered a variety of the great pelagic seabirds including various petrels and gulls, as well as the Buller’s Mollymawk, the White-capped or Shy Albatross, and the greatest of the all, the Southern Royal albatross with its wings spreading over three metres.  Despite my notoriously queasy stomach, my only difficulty on the voyage was maintaining my balance as the vessel pitched and rolled in a swell that seemed to be around two metres. One hand for the ship and one for yourself is the ancient maritime wisdom, which leaves little for the camera.

A stationary steam engine spinning almost noiselessly at the Gasworks Museum

The trip I chose for the following day was to the Gasworks Museum in South Dunedin. The host club had laid on a local group of steam punk enthusiasts to liven up the trip. To my engineering-oriented mind, they simply got in the way and obstructed my view of the wonderful old steam machinery.

Millers Flat
From the bridge at Millers Flat looking North up the Clutha River

The convention came to its conclusion at lunchtime on Sunday and I set out to rejoin Mary and the family in Queenstown. I took the Southern route in the belief that the weather was going to be miserable. I couldn’t have been more wrong, and the Autumn colours at Millers Flat and Clyde were just magical.

Lake Hayes
Lake Hayes in Autumn

A few days in Queenstown with the family were a delight. I also managed a few side trips to Lake Hayes and even managed some times when the lake was flat calm. All to quickly, it was over and we began the journey homeward.

Hot Air balloon near Arrowtown

First we crossed the Crown Range, pausing as we climbed the hill to admire the hot air balloon settling into a paddock near Arrowtown and then it was around Lake Hawea and over the Haast Pass and up the West Coast.

Lake Paringa, with another 230 km to Hokitika

A lunch break at lonely lovely Lake Paringa was well worth the hassle of the flying pests. We paused for a travel break spending two nights in Hokitika.

Near Reefton
Near Reefton

As we set out on the long last leg, there was mist and rain, and as day broke, we were near Reefton. The road from there to St Arnaud is narrow and winding and having a logging truck ahead of you is no fun. You just have to wait patiently for a “slow vehicle bay” and you are past, only to find another one ahead of you.

Gulls leave their signature

Soon enough, we were at Picton where I discovered the ultimate in primitive art, or as I prefer to think of it, a seagull selfie. And then we were home, sad to leave the family behind, but glad to be in our own environment.

Seed head

Photography took a very brief rest, and then a little still life took place. Who knows what will follow from there.




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April 6, 2017 … in chilly Southern parts

Prematurely, it seems to be winter. And here in Karitane where Mary and I are currently staying in a borrowed “crib” (Southern word for a small holiday home), it is especially bleak as the remnants of a tropical storm cause havoc in the Northern parts of the country.

Waiting in line at the Wellington terminal to board the ferry Kaitaki to Picton.

But let’s begin at the beginning. On Thursday last, we set out in the predawn darkness to catch the ferry from Wellington to Picton. The voyage across the strait on the Kaitaki was pleasant enough. and then we began the long, long journey through Blenheim and Murchison to get to our first stopping point at Hanmer Springs. State highway 1 from Picton to Kaikoura is still firmly closed and likely to remain so for at least another year consequent to the earthquake in November. The detour is also heavily damaged and there were dozens of places where traffic was limited to 30 km/h for road works, and often stopped entirely to permit one-way traffic to operate.

Organ Range in the Hurunui District

Unlike many, however, we had no pressing need to adhere to a schedule, so despite the mild inconveniences of the journey, we could enjoy the undoubted grandeur of the South Island’s scenery. I neglected to record exactly where this  image was taken, but I think it is somewhere in the Hurunui district a little way out of Hanmer Springs.  I think we are looking across the Hope River at the Organ Range with the Glynn Wye range to the right

New Brighton Pier with the curse of the scaffolding. Presumably this is post-earthquake remedial work

We spent two days in Hanmer Springs before resuming our journey to Christchurch. Check-in time at out next accommodation in St Alban’s was mid-afternoon, so Mary and I went to the New Brighton Pier to enjoy lunch beside the sea. I seem to cause scaffolding to be erected, and whether it’s the Washington Monument or the Castlepoint Lighthouse, I seem to put a visual curse on well known landmarks.

The horizon is actually in this picture, near the top and the sky is almost indistinguishable from the sea.

The surf at New Brighton was slight, but there were many enthusiasts out there in their wet suits enjoying various forms of their sport and waiting patiently for the right wave.

War Memorial
Citizens’ War Memorial, Christchurch

We settled in to a superb apartment (thanks Airbnb), and the following day I wandered around the CBD. Six years after the big earthquake, it is apparent that though much has been done, the damage to this still beautiful city will be visible for many years to come. Apparently a decision on the fate (replace or rebuild) of the iconic cathedral is imminent, but as of this week, it sits forlornly inside the fence with weeds growing up through its once clean and well swept paving. I liked the statue on the Northern side, and was surprised to learn that it is unrelated to the Cathedral, but is in fact, the citizens’ War Memorial, funded by public subscription after WWI.

Flooded demolition site, corner of Colombo St and Oxford Tce

As I said, the damage lingers on, and despite all the new buildings going up, there are many fenced off sites where remediation or replacement has yet to begin.  This one is on the corner of Colombo St and Oxford Terrace.

Leaving Lyttelton bound for Diamond Harbour. This was as good as the weather got

We enjoyed some time with Mary’s brother and his wife, and after a wonderful dinner with them decided to go to Diamond Harbour the next day. Sadly, the weather deteriorated, but we went anyway. A nice lunch was had in Lyttelton on our return from a grey and wet Diamond Harbour.

A lookout on the old coast road looks Northward along the coast with Karitane as the first promontory and Waikouaiti next along. I liked the drama of the clouds, if not the bleakness of the weather.

We enjoyed our few days in the garden city and have now moved South to Karitane. This is a tiny coastal village on the southern side of the Waikouaiti River where it flows into the Pacific. In normal times it is a popular weekend destination for people getting out of Dunedin, but as of this moment, with rain lashing the windows and the trees whipping about in the garden, it seems a little less attractive. However, the weather is predicted to improve. We did a small tour of the area yesterday and I got this view of Karitane from a lookout on a hill to the South of the town. More of our journey next week.


Architecture Christchurch History

July 27, 2015 … darkness and hope

Yesterday we came home passing through Christchurch.

Restart mall
The Restart Mall, made of containers. It was a tremendous morale booster in those early days.

Since the devastating earthquake on 22 February, 2011, 1,616 days have passed. Human expectations vary, but for those who don’t live there, it comes as a shock to see how much, and how little has been done to restore this beautiful city. Perhaps the most telling thing, to me, is the number of empty spaces where fine buildings once stood.  True that there are a lot of construction sites, a lot of cranes, a lot of fenced off areas where work is happening. My memory goes back to the time I spend in Osnabruck, Germany as a child in the early fifties, when bomb sites were still common, seven years after the war. Among the earliest defiant beacons of hope for recovery in Christchurch was the Restart Mall in the area adjacent to Oxford Terrace between Cashel and Lichfield Streets. It was constructed using 40 foot shipping containers as the structural basis. Bright colours and varied food outlets defy the misery that might follow the disaster.

From the Restart Mall , a view of the new Christchurch arising

Across the road to the South between Lichfield and Tuam Streets the block has been cleared and new tower blocks are going up, and I would wager the structural integrity of these buildings will be the highest in the world.

A survivor on High Street

Next, we parked on Manchester Street and went back round the corner to High Street where at least one older building survives, though its near neighbours did less well.

Tourist tram on High St

Looking back down High Street to the South East, I was delighted to see the tourist tram rumbling towards us. It was knocked out in the September 2010 earthquake, and they got it up and running again before the big one in February 2011. And here it is again, making its jaunty way around the tourist loop from Cathedral Square down Oxford Tce and Cashel St, then back up High St to the square.

Early days on a construction site

Cranes are everywhere. This block to the west of High Street between Hereford and Cashel has two tower cranes, three large mobile cranes and a pile driver. It’s going to be a long haul.

Reflection of hope

I saw the cranes as a symbol of hope, and noticed one reflected in surviving windows of the old BNZ building on the corner of Hereford and Colombo streets.

Post Office
Post Office building in Cathedral Square

Cathedral Square was almost deserted on a bright Winter Sunday morning. The old Post Office building looks remarkably intact, though the safety fence around it suggests that it is unsafe. It is still a fine looking building and I would like to see it preserved.

John Robert Godley, founder of the Canterbury colony

John Robert Godley still maintains his watch over the city, as he has done since 1850. Sadly, the plinth on which he stands is shaky, and steel barriers keep the public at a distance.

The ultimate symbol of Christchurch

Of course no visit to the square is complete without viewing the cathedral. Heartbreak and hope combine in this most Cantabrian building of all. Opinions are many on the replacement or restoration question. I have no stake in that battle except to say that I think the people who should decide are the members of the Cathedral parish of the Anglican diocese in Christchurch.

Kia kaha, stay strong, good people of Christchurch.


Adventure Christchurch Family Landscapes mountains

July 26, 2015 … South and North

I am just back from a flying visit to Christchurch.

A seemingly endless line of poles head West to the Southern Alps

My brother-in-law’s 70th birthday was the occasion, so we went down yesterday morning and returned this afternoon. I use the term Christchurch somewhat loosely since we stayed in Rolleston, 23km South West of the rental car place at the airport. The main event was in the evening, so Mary and I explored the locality a little and ate lunch on a roadside in West Melton. It was a perfect Canterbury day, albeit a little chillier than the sunshine would suggest.

Harping on. I liked the movement in the harpist’s left hand, and the blur in the string just plucked

The celebration in the evening celebrated my brother-in-law’s love of, and involvement in, Celtic music. There were two different musical groups performing through the evening and I spent a little time watching the various fiddlers, pipers and harpists perform.

Young Alex performing Irish folk dance for her grandfather

My brother-in-law and his wife are blessed with two grandchildren, the elder of whom follows her parents into the whole Celtic music thing. She performed a splendid set of Irish dances for her grandfather. If there is some blur in the image it’s because I refrained from using flash, and had to use a slow exposure for some high-speed action. I must remember that getting down low is all very well, but getting up with dignity afterwards is becoming harder.

A good time was had by all.

Christchurch Greymouth Lakes Landscapes Light mountains Railway

October 24, 2014 … from one coast to the other

Yesterday I ticked a long outstanding box.

Tranz Alpine
Bright clean carriages on the Tranz Alpine train

Mary and I did a return train trip on the Tranz Alpine from Rolleston (near Christchurch) to Greymouth. Hauled by two big DXC class locomotives, it rumbled into the station on time. The train manager stepped out and called our names, and saw us to out very nice seats in the bright clean carriage. With scarcely a sound, despite the combined 6,000 hp  (4,480 kW) up front. The Dunedin built coaches are superbly insulated from external noise, and ride very well.

Looking down on the Waimakiriri River

We travelled briskly across the Canterbury plains until we stopped at Springfield, after which we began the long climb up to Arthur’s Pass.  The higher we went the better the views became.

Arthur's Pass
At Arthur’s pass with an Eastbound coal train waiting to use the single track section down to Springfield

This is by no means an express train. There are people for who it is the preferred means of transport between the East and West coasts, but for the most part, the passengers are tourists going across for the sheer joy of the thing. Just as well really, because the scheduled four and a half hour journey stretch to almost five and a half due to track work , and having to slot in with the many coal and freight trains coming the other way.  At Arthur’s Pass, many of the passengers left the train for a stay at local accommodation, and the coal train that had waited for our arrival could begin its descent towards Christchurch.

A sparkling specimen in Greymouth

In Greymouth, at last, we wandered the streets and admired the latest forms of transport (kidding).

Wetland near Greymouth

Arguably, the homeward journey is simply the same in reverse, but I find I see different things going the other way. I spent a lot of time in the open sided observation car and got quite close to the bush as it whizzed past.

Lake Brunner
Strange vegetation at Lake Brunner

In places the landscape is downright mysterious, and I wondered what it would be like at different times of year. Several people suggested it was most spectacular in winter after new snow. I took several hundred shots and am certain I have not selected the best, nor been able to spend the time editing that I would at home.

Sunset at Rolleston

We arrived back in Rolleston a good hour latter than scheduled, but well satisfied with the day. A striking sunset hinted at another good day to follow.

Birds Cars Christchurch flowers Lower Hutt Rivers Wellington

October 18, 2014 … passing the time

My car was back in the shop yesterday.

Hutt River
The Hutt River looking South from the Melling Bridge

Something was not installed correctly last visit, so that they had to remove and reinstall the rear bumper. This would take an hour, so I wandered around the back streets of Lower Hutt. I crossed the river at Melling and went Eastward towards the Hospital.

Late spring blossom

This area seems to be where light industry and housing mingle, but despite the industrial tinge, there are plentiful gardens and spring is lingering in places.

Warbling tui

As I was getting near the end of Bristol Square, I heard a persistent tui sitting in a flowering tree. Unusually, it seem unperturbed by my presence and was more interested in its song than the plentiful nectar. With only the standard lens I counted myself lucky to have got this close.

Morgan Plus 8 Sports car … love the triple windscreen wipers

After a coffee with my son, Anthony who was on rostered days off, I collected the car and went into town where I collected some prints. I had lunch with a friend from the university and was on my way home again when this beauty pulled up beside me at the lights. I was stationary when I took this picture.  The Morgan Plus 8 is a wondrous beast, probably the last authentic descendant of a long line of sports cars. How nice it looked in British Racing Green, and oh, those wire wheels!.

That’s all for now.

Architecture Art Aviation Canterbury Christchurch Family mountains Queenstown

December 4, 2013 … homeward bound

The last day of a visit is always a bit clunky.

There are bags to be packed, and insufficient time to do any of the great things  that are on offer in the adventure capital of the country. On the other hand, my need for adventure is small anyway. I had to drop Andrew off at a work function while Mary and Abbey took Otis for a swimming lesson, so on a perfect Central Otago day I had an hour to spare and a car at my disposal.

Elegant ruins
Thurlby domain (again)

I went to Thurlby Domain and revisited the ruins of the grand old homestead.

Lake Hayes Estate
The lake itself is at the upper left

All too soon we were airborne, and passing over Lake Hayes Estate. As a suburb, it is still pretty new, and as yet there are neither shops nor schools, and its inhabitants have to drive in to Remarkables Park shopping centre at Frankton, some 8.5 km away. These things will come.

Rakaia River
A large number of these braided rivers flow from the Southern Alps Eastward to the Pacific

The ATR does not reach great altitude, so apart from the slightly opaque windows, offers a good sightseeing platform. The great braided rivers of the South Island are very impressive from up there, and I think this one is the Rakaia River.

Lining up for the final approach
These various crops and paddocks present a lovely picture form the air.

Soon we were on the approach to  Christchurch across the exquisite quilt that is South Canterbury.

We were travelling on opportunistic cheap fares so had to wait a while in Christchurch. Then we were taken on an Airbus A320 configured for international flights, being repositioned for its duties the next day. All very fine, especially the complimentary wines and snacks, and it is no mean feat to serve 168 passengers on a flight that lasts a mere 35 minutes. It was well done.

New art in Wellington Airport
The wizard Gandalf astride Gwaihir the Windlord … I think Gandalf is about half life size, so the bird is still enormous. Weta Workshops are amazing

In the few days we had been away, Wellington Airport had been adorned with another of the mighty “Hobbit” sculptures from Weta Workshops. This time it is Gandalf on the back of the Eagle lord, Gwaihir and another eagle. They are enormous, perhaps scary to children and superbly done.

Back to earth now


adversity Christchurch Cook Strait Dolphins Maritime sunrise Wellington

April 30, 2013 … a porpoise close behind us, and it’s treading on my tail*

Heartbreak is an extremely dramatic word.

Yet here I am using it twice in two days. We left Rolleston in the dark, a little after six. It was very dark and once we hit Russley Rd which is seemingly becoming a four laned highway, everything got confused. Flashing lights, pink road cones and no external visual cues increased my stress levels. Added to that, the massive grilles of the huge “B-train” trucks front and rear scared me witless. Eventually I realised that we were indeed headed North when I got to signs pointing to Harewood.  From there the road turned to the North East (John’s Rd)  and straight into the rising sun.

This is where the heartbreak occurs. It was a blood-red sunrise with dramatic dark cloud above, and trees silhouetted in the golden light at the horizon. Magnificent picture opportunities presented themselves, and there was no possibility to stop without having a Fonterra tanker and trailer, or a big Hall’s refrigerated rig trampling all over me. The photographic disaster was complete as we swung Northwards again and crossed the bridge at Saltwater Creek near Sefton. This is one of those braided rivers so typical of Canterbury, and the water was reflecting that red dawn. I desperately wanted to stop right there, but alas survival instincts prevailed.

In the course of staying alive, I was mostly focussed on the road. All this was gained from impressions from the corner of my eyes. My gift to my fellow photographers in Canterbury is this: next time there is a similar partially overcast sunrise such as this, get to Sefton and onto Geisha Road. Get down onto the shingle and wait for the right moment. I am sure it will be a salon-buster.

Anyway, grumpy and disappointed I drove on until at last, somewhere in the Hurunui where the traffic was lighter, I was able to stop (Mary is very patient), and capture the last of the red morning before it washed out entirely.


Mary was driving the rest of the way, so I was able to enjoy the magnificent landscape through Waipawa, Cheviot and the Hunderlees to the East coast near Kaikoura. A little to the South of Kaikoura,  I was watching seaward ever hopeful of seeing a whale blowing, and there was a pod of dolphins frolicking. We pulled in and noticed that a number of others had seen them too.


Regrettably their best antics were at fairly extreme distances, so this first image is a fairly extreme crop.


They did get closer but behaved more sedately near the shore. After a good coffee and snack (I always choose the whale watch site in Kaikoura, it is bright, cheerful, immaculately clean, and does good coffee), we moved on to Picton.

There, the marshalling people performed their usual mysterious rites to ensure that those who arrive early (as we did) get shunted into the line that boards the ferry last and misses out on the best seats. I am sure there is some science in their apparently arbitrary system, but I have never figured it out.


The passage up the sound was beautiful and uneventful. I watched in hope for conspicuous dolphin or bird activity and saw none. A pretty little classic double ended motor launch called “Kiwi” puttered by in the other direction.


As we came abeam of the wind farm near Wellington, I had a sense of homecoming.

So now we are home with a busy week ahead.

* The Lobster Quadrille, by Lewis Carrol

adversity Architecture Christchurch Moeraki Oamaru

April 29, 2013 … rocks to steam punk

After getting lost in the tiny town of Moeraki the previous night, I enjoyed a good sleep there.

Better still, I awoke to a very pretty dawn, though it warned of worse weather to come.

Moeraki dawn
This harbour offers minimal shelter and the people who work from here are a hardy breed.

This scene of the fishing harbour was taken by me, in my pyjamas, from the balcony of the excellent motel unit at the Moeraki Holiday Park.Isn’t that a view to wake to?

Some people were obviously up earlier than I was, and you can see them sitting on that launch at the jetty.

Moeraki Boulders
U+You can only hope to offer a different view of these accretions.

Of course it would not be respectable to be in the area and not to look at the famed boulders. My problem with these things is that at least ten million photographers have been here before me … what is left unsaid?  Still, I gave it a try.

Oamaru stone is a joy to see
The Church of St Luke

From there we passed through Oamaru as the town was just waking up. To me the joy of Oamaru is its splendid architecture, and that lovely honey coloured stone. None of the dour greys of Dunedin.  A nice example is St Luke’s Anglican Church. I chose it because it was the only one I could find with no car parked in front of it.

Steam punk motorcycle
We came and left before this place opened.

If you want to know what “Steam Punk” is, then “Google is your friend”. Someone in Oamaru has decided to make a tourist attraction centred around this bizarre notion, and the exhibit I have captured here is based around two full-sized farm tractor wheels. This thing is huge.

Around behind the “Steam Punk Headquarters” is the locomotive shed where some fine restoration is being done. However, my eye was drawn to some remains that are beyond restoration, and which will be left as they are. It seems that in an attempt to control erosion around the harbour, the New Zealand Government Railway allowed some of its obsolete locomotives to be used as landfill. Unfortunately the sea was stronger than the hopes of the planners, and they were immersed from the 1930s until 2009 when they were retrieved and given to museums at Waitara and Oamaru.  This is probably the remains of Uc366, complete with embedded marine life.

Given and then reclaimed from the sea
Rust and barnacles

We passed through the Victorian precinct which was just coming to life for the day, and I enjoyed the guilty Southern pleasure of a cheese roll made with garlic butter. Mmmm.

We were staying the night with my old school friend and brother-in-law, and his wife in Rolleston, so we did a flying trip into the city. Christchurch is a heartbreak. I won’t do disaster tourism, but prefer to concentrate on the emergent new life. What we see here is the front wall of the new “temporary cathedral … the one with the shipping containers as a base wall, and cardboard tubes as major structural members. It turns out that the tubes needed to be reinforced with timber to meet local engineering specifications. However, this building is estimated to have a life of fifty years. I quite like it and in my view it is more respectable than spending $220 million to restore the old one as it was.  But then I am neither a member of the Anglican cathedral parish of Christchurch,  nor a Cantabrian, so I don’t get a vote.

The controversial "carboard cathedral"
My impressions are positive so far.

We enjoyed our afternoon in Christchurch, despite so many lost memories.


Aviation Christchurch Landscapes Makara mountains Queenstown Wellington

December 4, 2012 … the homing instinct

Time to come home.

I spent some of yesterday at Queenstown Airport. This airport must surely offer its customers some of the best views in the world. I wish we still had the option of external viewing platforms that I loved so much when I was young.

Sadly at Queenstown, most of the best seating is behind glass and is reserved for patrons of the airport café. With all due respect to the café proprietors who clearly serve the needs of about 2,000 outbound passengers a day, I regard this as a missed opportunity to showcase the best of local capability.

The standard plastic wrapped sandwiches, lamingtons, pies and sausage rolls seemed more akin to what you would find in a student cafeteria than the channel for some of the most affluent tourists we see. And the quirky Otago/Southland cheese rolls were dried out and appalling.  The abrupt and peremptory manner I encountered at the cash register is not what our visitors deserve.

In order to justify hogging a window seat for the hour and a half I spent there, I bought food and a diet coke, and later, a coffee, and then gazed at Coronet Peak and the Crown Range.

I watched a convoy of five Britten Norman Islanders take off, on the crosswind runway (14) presumably bound for Milford. They headed off down the Remarkables and then turned climbing as fast as their tiny hearts would allow to pass overhead to the West. JQ295 taxis towards the Northern end of Queenstown runway

A few aircraft came and went. Air New Zealand and Jetstar were the only ones I saw yesterday. I watched the Jetstar A320 push back and then head off past the heavy construction equipment on the field  to the Northern end of the runway.  That silver paint really gleams in the sun. There in the shimmering haze of a cool but perfect day, it turned around and then began its thunderous charge up the runway, rotated and leapt skyward.JQ295 slips the surly bonds of Earth

I have no idea of the noise abatement procedures in place, but granddaughter Billie who attends the remarkable Remarkables Primary School just over the Southern fence tells me they don’t hear them inside the classrooms.

My own trip home to Wellington was also with Jetstar, and it pushed back on time, the smiling cabin crew did their necessary safety ritual, and we were away.

I was a little surprised that our path took us over Cecil Peak, above some wild and spectacular mountain country  to the South of the lake, then we swung round to the right to climb to our cruising altitude of 37,000’.  It looks inhospitable, does it not?Somewhere over Cecil Peak to the South West

We passed slightly to the West of Christchurch and despite the restrictive view from aircraft windows I could see the airport far below and the road into the city. Christchurch airport from 37,000 feet

As we went North, the turbulence increased over the Kaikoura ranges and before long we were passing Makara and the West Wind turbines as we swung round for an approach into the steady Southerly.  The Hutt Valley can be seen below the clouds at the top of the picture.West Wind turbines near Makara

Landed early after a pleasant ride.

Good job, Jetstar.