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September 1, 2020 … a change of pace

Oh my goodness, time has slipped by and it has been almost a month since my last post. I have no clue how many regular readers still remain, but if you are one, thank you.

Winter morning – Oriental Bay – August 1

I know that August is generally the kindest of our winter months, but this one was extraordinary. According to the books, Spring is now with us I shall not be surprised if we now get some of the rough weather that we missed in winter. Even as I write, we have a howling Norwester with rain. On this morning, at the beginning of August, my attention was caught by the black-billed gulls at rest on the water at the Eastern end of Oriental Bay. That, and I am always intrigued by the textures of the cityscape from here.

Looking good for 112 years – August 4

At the intersection of Lambton Quay, Mulgrave St and Thorndon Quay this grand old lady has stood in various states since 1908. As the engraved letters attest, this was once the headquarters of the long defunct Wellington Corporation Tramways. Indeed I remember being here in the early sixties when the trams were still operating. My memory is of a constant stream of uniformed drivers and “clippies” coming and going through those doors. The rooftop amendments are not entirely to my liking but I suppose they could have been worse.

Off-peak storage – August 5

Just behind the spot from which I made the image of the old tramways building is a stairway that leads to the concourse of the city’s Sky Stadium. It is a featureless flat concrete walkway that crosses the railyards. This image was made just after 10 am., long after the morning commuter rush is over. I liked the moody atmosphere and the glittering tops of the Korean-made commuter units as they wait for the rush to resume in the afternoon.

At Te Haukaretu Park, Upper Hutt – August 6

The duck pond in Te Haukaretu Park, Upper Hutt is sheltered from the wind and often provides a peaceful scene. I particularly like the form of the trees in the pond.

Atrium – Wellington Station – August 9

Having seen some of the truly great rail terminals of the world, I know that Wellington railway station is a relatively small competitor. Nevertheless it has a handsome and well proportioned main atrium. It lacks the stalls and shops that you might find in Washington or New York, but on the other hand it has a mere 30,000 passengers per day compared with 750,000 in New York.

At Pencarrow Head -August 10

I have the privilege of being allowed to accompany a group of conservationists who specialise in the care and observation of the dotterel population along the South East coast of Wellington harbour. This gets me to Baring Head and beyond in comfort in a car as opposed to the four hour return walk. We saw few dotterels on this day, but I enjoyed the view across the harbour entrance. I should acknowledge that this was one of the few windy days in August.

Pipit – August 11

A second trip to Baring head was also a bust as far as dotterel sightings went, but I enjoyed the company of this New Zealand pipit (Anthus novaeseelandiae). They characteristically bob their tail up and down as they walk.

Dabchick at QEII park – August 15

When there is little or no wind, the wetlands at Queen Elizabeth Park in Paekakariki are a favourite place for me. The still dark waters reflect the green of the surrounding bush and provide a lovely contrast for the water fowl that visit. In this case, the dabchick is moving quickly to escape the photographer.

Pauatahanui Inlet – August 17

Some calm days are better than others. In this case, the water on the Northern side of Pauatahanui Inlet was just perfectly still. I rather liked the pattern made by the rocks.I almost wonder whether I should have cropped out everything above the sandbar.

Shoveler ducks – August 17

I am always fascinated by the Australasian Shoveler duck (Anas rhynchotis). It is the duck equivalent of a baleen whale. It feeds by filtering water through a curtain of fibres in its extraordinary bill to catch plankton, seeds and other edible material. This was also made at QEII park.

Puzzle time – August 20

I mentioned a change of pace. We had long planned trips to see our more distant grandchildren. Sadly the virus has taken away the possibility of a visit to Brisbane any time soon. However, since New Zealand is at alert level 2, domestic travel is possible, so we could fly to Queenstown in time for our youngest grandson’s tenth birthday. For that journey I love to get a Westward facing window seat, and Mary always generously yields it to me. I look for interesting land forms below. I can usually identify the larger settlements and geographic features, but I have fun with the smaller places, grab the shot and try to match it against Google Earth when I get home. In this case, the river caught my eye and then the little township sliding into the view at bottom left. It took me a while to identify the town as Luggate and the river as the Clutha.

Lake Hayes Estate – August 22

Our middle son Andrew lives in Lake Hayes Estate which can be described as a dormitory suburb about 15 km to the North East of Queenstown. I was intrigued by the oak trees that lined many of its streets,. The leaves had turned colour and died many months ago, but refused to let go. Spring in New Zealand is generally regarded as the months of September through November, so we are still seeing Autumnal brown even as nature starts applying some green to the landscape.

Wild Irishman – August 22

Despite the severe economic impact of the covid virus on Queenstown’s tourist industry, there is still a great deal of development to provide new housing. At the Southern end of Kelvin Heights, on the narrow part of the isthmus just beyond the golf course, a large patch of land has been cleared for development. Among the few plants remaining was a sturdy example of the matagouri (Known in colonial times as Wild Irishman). Happily, it is relatively rare in the North Island. It too will go to be replaced no doubt by upscale housing.

Para-penting in Queenstown – August 22

Before anyone gets too excited, no I did not lash out the $219 required for a tandem jump. I don’t do heights, remember. We were at the base of the gondola to the skyline complex where the young folks were about to have a ride on the luge when this pilot and his passenger caught the light as they passed in front of the gondolas.

On Lake Hayes – August 23

I can’t visit Queenstown without spending time at Lake Hayes. I mean the lake itself which seems to enjoy a lot of shelter from the wind. The bird life is interesting and varied. I always hope to see and get close to the crested grebe which we just don’t see in the North. Alas, I saw coots and scaup, oystercatchers and a huge variety of ducks but no grebes. This common mallard drake gets the call because it was bold enough to take centre stage.

Rushing in Arrowtown – August 23

Down below the historic huts in which Chinese miners lived, Bush Creek tumbles through the bush to join the Arrow river. I liked the little waterfall. The light was low enough that I didn’t need a neutral density filter. The rushing effect is conveyed well enough with a mere 2 second exposure.

Clyde Bridge – August 26

Andrew was at work, and the children were at school so Mary and I did a tour through the Kawarau Gorge and Cromwell to Clyde, Earnscleugh and Alexandra looking for whatever the landscape might reveal. After a great morning tea in Dunstan House, Clyde, we drove over then under the historic Clyde Bridge to catch this view of the Clutha.

Rock of ages – August 26

When we reached Earnscleugh, I made a fortuitous turn into Conroy’s road (recommended) and up through the scientific reserve where the rocks are shaped in fantastic ways. This view from near Black Ridge Winery includes one such formation and then looks beyond across the Manuherakia Valley to the Dunstan Mountains in the background. Somehow, the plentiful birdsong did not spoil the silence of the magnificent landscape.

Coronet Peak – August 27

Family trips always come to an end and so we were homeward bound. Mary gave me her window seat again, and as we left Queenstown we passed over Coronet Peak where the ski-field operators were desperately trying to wring the last out of a virus-ruined season. The snow guns were working hard overnight to keep the popular trails useable. We loved our time with the family, and as always, loved coming home.

I am Groot – August 29

Our amazing spell of benign weather was obviously coming to an end so we looked for a walk that kept us out of the boisterous wind. I suggested the Catchpool Valley area of the Remutaka Forest Park. Mary set out on a brisk circuit of the various tracks while I explored the beech forest areas.This tiny shoot, growing out of a dead log tickled my fancy. The title of the image is borrowed from the movie “Guardians of the Galaxy”

Remutaka Forest Park, – the Five Mile Loop Track – August 29

That tree root in the foreground is fairly obvious so I crossed it without incident. I failed the test on the next one which was concealed in the leaf mould, and did a face-plant. I landed on my camera which ripped my recently repaired macro-lens in two pieces. Waaaahhhhh! No significant personal injury, so I returned to the car park to await Mary.

I hope to post again after a shorter time lapse.

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September 5, 2019 … road trip

Mary and I are just back from a South Island road trip. We decided that our youngest grandson, Otis’s ninth birthday was a good reason to go, and so we did.

Kaiarahi
Kaiarahi was standing in for the larger Kaitaki which was in Australia for an overhaul

After several weeks of ugly weather, the day we crossed the strait dawned clear and still. How lucky is that? We arrived nice and early but to this day I have never figured whether there is science or merely mysticism in how the crew decide the loading sequence. Of course it doesn’t really matter, the ship never leaves until the doors close behind the last person with a ticket. Nevertheless, I hate it when they let all the &@#$%@# motorhomes out onto the highway ahead of me.

We spent two pleasant nights at an AirBnB in Greymouth. I was disappointed that recent weather patterns and some dire forecasts prevented fishing vessels from crossing the notorious Greymouth Bar as they present a spectacular sight when they do so in big swells. Likewise, the weather was not conducive to birdwatching on Cobden Lagoon. But our accommodation was warm and dry and sufficient for our needs.

Magical Lake Ianthe

Our next destination was Tarras, just a little out of Wanaka so that meant a long drive from Greymouth with rest breaks here and there for photographic purposes. One of my favourite lakes in the South Island is Lake Ianthe about 55 km South of Hokitika. It is a smallish lake with few access points, but when it is still, it is just perfect. There are others such as Brunner, Mapourika, Mahinapoua, Kaniere, and each is beautiful in its own way.

Roadside wetlands as we neared Haast

It’s a long and seemingly endless 480 km from Greymouth to Tarras, and as the signs say, New Zealand roads are different and you should expect to take longer. The road has its charms, and where it was possible to stop safely we did. I rather liked the various wetlands on the road between Fox Glacier and Haast.

Towards Hawea from Tarras

Our accommodation in Tarras was a modern cottage with all of the usual facilities and to Mary’s delight, a log burner for warmth. The next morning, looking back towards Lake Hawea, the rising sun lit up the snow capped peaks. I am unsure which range this might be, but is is a spectacular view to wake up to.

Sunset at Lake Hayes Estate

We got to our son’s house in Lake Hayes Estate without incident and settled in. A spectacular sunset was experienced on our first night. This view is to the South West. I am guessing that those peaks are Ben Lomond and Bowen Peak in the range behind Queenstown township.

Opposing forces

I rather liked Andrew’s chess set which is apparently modelled on the one used in a Harry Potter movie. I don’t play the game myself, so my interest was purely aesthetic.

Murky weather on the Remarkables

As the ski season winds to its close, most of the schools in the region seem to spend some time up on the ski fields. Both grandchildren had two full days up there in each of the last two weeks. Otis spent his school day up there on this particular day, but in conditions like these, it was apparently not very pleasant. I suppose that is a good lesson to learn in itself.

Lake Wanaka

I was turned loose with the car and my cameras so I spent the day going over the Crown Range to Wanaka, then along Lake Dunstan to Clyde and then back through Cromwell to Queenstown. I came within a few hundred metres of “the tree” at Wanaka but chose to ignore it. The lake was still, so I spent some time there. I was a little sad to see the intensive development happening to the town since I last looked.

Look the other way

I have mentioned before, the 180˚ rule … if there is something interesting in front of you, don’t leave without checking behind you. A spectacular sunset over Queenstown was nicely reflected in the clouds over the Crown Range to the North East.

Near Glenorchy

The kids were at school, Andrew was at work, so Mary and I went along the Glenorchy road. We did a bit of a walk along the track towards Bob’s Cove and then carried on to Glenorchy itself. The spectacular mist in the far corner of the lake behind Pig and Pigeon Islands would appear to be sand from the Dart River delta being picked up by a vicious wind. In fact I struggled to open my car door against the wind to make this image.

At Lindis Summit

All too soon, it was time to leave Queenstown, so we set out early in the morning to our next booked accommodation in a farm stay near Rangiora. We took the route through the Kawarau Gorge and Cromwell, across the river to Tarras and over the beautiful Lindis Pass. I had been anxious that conditions might require snow chains. Happily that didn’t happen.

Across Lake Pukaki to Aoraki/Mt Cook

It was great weather for travelling and the view across Lake Pukaki to Mt Cook was irresistible even if the image has been made a million times before by almost every tourist who passed this way. Aoraki/Mt Cook is New Zealand’s highest peak at 3,724 metres (12,218 ft)

On the road from Fairlie to Geraldine

South Canterbury’s lovely landscape was nicely displayed on the road from Fairlie across to Geraldine. We paused there for lunch and resumed the journey to Rangiora.

Terra Cotta and Rust

We enjoyed two nights at the farm stay before completing the journey home from Picton. Regrettably I seem to have acquired an outbreak of pre-patellar bursitis which happens from time to time and is uncomfortable rather than dangerous. It tends to limit my mobility but “this too shall pass”

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Adventure Aviation Catlins Lakes Landscapes Moeraki Museum Queenstown Queenstown Reflections Rivers Weather

April 14, 2017 … now where was I?

Karitane was a delight, both as a place to stay, and as a place from which to visit other places. I got a year older since I last wrote, and to celebrate, Mary took me to the famous “Fleur’s Place” restaurant at Moeraki. It was brilliant, and lived up to the very best of my expectations, and we got to chat with Fleur herself, a delightfully extroverted character. While at Moeraki, we visited Mary’s cousin Rosalie who runs a hospital for sick and distressed sea life at Katiki Point where the endangered yellow-eyed penguins come ashore.

River
Waikouaiti River – stillness

On the way home, I asked Mary to pause as we crossed the Waikouaiti river. I suppose it was flowing towards the sea, but from the road above, it was mirror-calm  and made interesting patterns with the bridge supports.

First Church
First Church, Dunedin

Next day with continued fine weather, we drove to Dunedin for a bit of shopping. A pause at the lights on Stuart Street reminded me of my long-held opinion that First Church is one of the most beautiful of the traditional churches in New Zealand.

estuary
Waikouaiti estuary

The next day, still in Karitane was just perfect and I was out of bed uncharacteristically early.

Wetlands
Wetlands at Karitane

As the day wore on, the stillness and the sunshine continued. By now most of you know I am a sucker for reflections.

Waihola
Lake Waihola looking its best, but currently toxic

Then it was time to move on. Due to accommodation complications, we changed our original plan, and instead of going to Riverton near Invercargill, we went instead to Owaka in the Catlins. This took us down SH1 towards Balclutha, passing Lake Waihola on the way. This is a lovely lake to look at but due to an infestation of algal bloom, is currently unsafe to swim in.

Ducks
Ducks seem immune to the algae

Nevertheless, in company with many other tourists, I went to the water’s edge and was delighted to be “photobombed” by a flock of ducks.

Nugget Point
Lighthouse at Nugget Point on the Catlins Coast

Check-in time at our accommodation was 2 pm so we diverted to Nugget Point on the Catlins coast.

Bridge
Hinahina bridge on the “Catlins Lake”

By the time we arrived in Owaka, we were catching the edge effects of tropical cyclone Cook. Next morning, skies were grey and rain and wind were promised. I wanted to visit the “Catlins Lake” which is in reality the estuary of the Catlins River. My luck held out and despite the grey sky, the water was perfectly still except for the occasional splash of jumping fish. This is the Hinahina bridge.

Falls
Purakaunui falls in reduced circumstances

From there, since the weather was still reasonable, we drove up to the park for the Purakaunui falls and walked through the magnificent bush to see them. What a let down! Scarcely any rain had fallen, it seems and the usually splendid falls were a mere trickle.

rain
Old house in the rain

Next day, the weather arrived. It is impossible to be in the Catlins and just sit inside, so I went out looking for scenes and character. If you click on this image you will see the rain belting down. Our accommodation had a log burner and plentiful firewood, so we stayed warm and dry for the rest of the stay.

Dragonfly
De Havilland Dragonfly at Mandeville

Yesterday (Thursday) we drove from Owaka to Queenstown, but on the way I was able to fulfil a long-held wish to visit the Croydon Aviation Heritage Centre at Mandeville, just a little out of Gore.

Mandeville
De Havilland Fox Moth and others of the breed at Mandeville

This is both a museum and a working aviation restoration facility. Almost everything on display is flight-worthy. They have a strong history with aircraft from the de Havilland stable but do other aircraft as well. Thoroughly recommended to my fellow aviation nuts.

 

 

 

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Adventure Birds Landscapes Maritime mountains Queenstown

November 25, 2015 … thunder in the gorge

Random wandering was yesterday’s plan.

Quail
Californian Quail

It started at the home of Andrew and Abbey where a strange bird call caught my attention. A Californian Quail was perched on a large transmission insulator which is a feature object in their garden.

Lupins
Lupins in full bloom

On the back road between Arrowtown and Arthur’s Point there were lots of the seasonal displays of lupins.

Valley
Green valley

Closer to Arthur’s Point, there is a nice view down the  green valley towards Queenstown.

Jet
Shotover Jet at full throttle

A little time at the Shotover Jet base is always fun as the huge growling engines of the jet boats bring thunder to the gorge. An added feature yesterday was the strong wind which launched most of the sand on the point into the air and into the passengers waiting for their ride.

Pool
At the pool

In the evening we were babysitting the children while their parents went to a concert. It was swimming lesson night and I liked the texture and reflections on the water.

It was a long day.

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Birds Lakes Machinery Queenstown

October 27, 2014 … in the back country

Well, I found the grebes.

Old house
One of many old houses in the area slowly decaying

Sadly they were in Queenstown town basin and I didn’t have my long lens with me so no useful photos were made. Never mind, later in the afternoon, with two of my sons who had been here for their brother’s birthday, I went out to Glenorchy. It’s  a rustic little town 48 km down the lake to the West from Queenstown. Like many old communities it has many old buildings slowly merging into the landscape.

Old vehicles
Where old vehicles come to die

Likewise, when vehicles are past the stage of economical repair, they simply begin to corrode and merge into the landscape.

Thrush
Song thrush

I don’t mean to imply that the area is a rubbish dump, far from it. This is a wild and magnificent landscape, though yesterday it was a bit flat and grey. Nevertheless, the birds came close like this song thrush .

Fantail
Fantail

There were fantails too, flitting about to catch the insects we disturbed as we walked.

That’s all for now.

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Birds Canterbury Family Food Lakes Landscapes Light Queenstown

October 25, 2014 … a stranger in a strange land

On the road again, this time we were driving from Rolleston to Queenstown.

Landscape
Landscape near Fairlie

It’s a wonderful landscape all the way, though the necessity to be somewhere at a certain time is the enemy of any landscape enthusiast. I passed a million opportunities knowing that it was just impossible to do that kind of thing while in purposeful transit. My first serious shot was on the hill descending towards Fairlie on the road from Geraldine. In the distance, the stunning gold of fields of rapeseed or canola caught my eye.

Rapeseed
Rapeseed crop at Fairlie

On the way from Fairlie to Tekapo I stopped for a closer look.

Pukaki
Lake Pukaki

After a coffee break at Tekapo, I paused again on the shores of lake Pukaki, peering up the turquoise lake towards the place where Aoraki/Mt Cook was lurking in the clouds.

Chickens
Chickens, recently deceased

In the afternoon, we called in at our son’s house. There were lots of people there and food was being prepared. I couldn’t resist a shot of one pan that emerged from the oven, only to be mocked by someone who said they were unaware I would even photograph dead birds.

Queenstown
Queenstown landscape

Driving back to our motel at Frankton, I paused for this shot of the misty hills behind Queenstown

And that’s enough for one day.

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Children flowers Lakes Landscapes Maritime Queenstown

December 2, 2013 … somewhere new

Central Otago is pure magic.

Russel Lupins
They are everywhere in the lower half of the South Island at this time of year

On the other hand, it can be torture from a photographic point of view. If you are going somewhere in a car with the family, it would be just unreasonable o ask them to stop every time I saw something I wanted to photograph. I did that just once yesterday as I wanted a representative shot to celebrate the lupin season. A quiet back road out of Arrowtown was the location of this very typical roadside cluster of Russel Lupins. They are classified officially as an aggressive weed by the Department of Conservation.We drove through the stunningly beautiful Kawarau Gorge with my twitching shutter finger under strict control and arrived at the home temporarily rented by my daughter-in-law’s brother and his family on the shores of Lake Dunstan in Cromwell.

Powerboat racing
The noise was amazing

As we came into the town we had noticed some lakeside activity. In the house, the activity revealed itself as the thunder of mighty engines.

Hydroplane at speed
Not fuel efficient but apparently a lot of fun for the participants who need deep pockets

 

The Lake Dunstan Powerboat club regatta was under way with racing hydroplanes dragging enormous “rooster tails” around the lake. Otis (three) didn’t like it at all … the noise was overwhelming.

Products for sale at the market
All kinds of interesting flavours

While the racing was spectacular, the weekly market in Cromwell’s “old town” was doing great trade. Otis happily went with the ladies away from the noise.

Billie
Gazing into the distance

Billie on the other hand was happy to watch the boats careering around the course.

It was an enjoyable day.

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History hobbies Landscapes Queenstown

December 1, 2013 … a trip in time

After a pleasantly relaxed morning, Lunch in Arrowtown seemed like a splendid idea.

1956 Chevy truck
Beautifully restored classic in Arrowtown

If you are in Arrowtown, I heartily recommend “The Postmaster’s Residence” for delightful meals. Chef Sam Laycock puts real imagination into his menu, and the dishes delivered live up to their promise. They have a great wine list as well. Anyway, we were enjoying our lunch when a beautifully restored Chevrolet truck (about 1956) pulled up opposite. Though I took some straight shots, I had to give it the “Back to the Future” treatment.

Arrowtown cemetery
Tales of loss and grief. The Chinese cemetery is elsewhere

We wandered up the hill after lunch to the cenotaph which offers a nice view over the town and from there across to the old cemetery, and looked at the many tales of tragedy … a family that lost three infants in a week for example.  The wind was rising, and weather was coming in from the South. Snow was predicted down to 600 metres.

Weather on the Remarkables
They are well named

One of the back roads back to Lake Hayes gave a commanding view of the Northern face of the Remarkables. The weather sweeping along those ridges sent chills through me.

Today we go through Cromwell and Clyde.

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Family Invercargill Lakes mountains Otago Queenstown Queenstown Railway Reflections Sunset

August 2, 2013 … up and down the lake

Visiting my brother near Riverton yesterday took us through some amazing landscapes.

My first shot of the day was taken at Kingston, at the Southern end of the lake. As you can see, the water was still and the colours were very nice indeed.  The first shot is looking down on the Kingston township.

Kingston at the end of the lake
It would be great if the Earnslaw came down here to connect with the Kingston Flyer

The second image is from the same spot, looking back up the lake towards Queenstown.

View towards Queenstown from Kingston
With a northerly it can be very bleak here

After a pleasant family visit, and some shopping in Invercargill, we made the return journey into the fading light.  At Fairlight (the Southern Terminus for the Kingston Flyer), the clouds were interesting.

Interesting cloud formation near Fairlight
The temperature was dropping rapidly

Then again, as we were nearing Queenstown along the lake edge, there was a still view of the lake with some of the last of the sunset lingering in the clouds.

Looking across the lake to Cecil Peak on the left
By now it was positively cold.

As the day reached its end, the arrival back at Lake Hayes Estate was marred by the realisation that there were no lights anywhere. A power cut kept us cold and in candle-lit near darkness until power was eventually restored at around 1:30 am.

Home today, not sure what opportunities will arise in transit.

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Aviation Birds Lakes Landscapes mountains Queenstown

July 31, 2013 … lofty mountain grandeur*

It’s not every day you can say you crossed the River Jordan and entered Paradise.

Yesterday I did exactly that, but we’ll get to that later. The family lent me their little car yesterday and turned me loose. After a careful ice removal process, I drove cautiously towards Queenstown (the family live near Lake Hayes). I was disappointed as I drove beside the lake that the wind had created a hammer-glaze surface of no great photographic value.

The town was full of bright young people walking hand in hand, and wearing the latest and brightest in designer-label snow field apparel. I am completely devoid of any fashion awareness so am unable to report further.

Through town, I took the road to Glenorchy and to my great joy, the water on the Glenorchy side of the lake was smooth, relatively untouched by the wind.  Far down the lake, to the right of the Humboldt Mountains, and behind the conical lump of Mt Alfred, the East and West peaks of Mt Earnslaw were peering through the cloud rolling in from the Tasman.

Lake Wakatipu, looking toward Glenorchy
Cloud over the Western peaks

A little further along the road, nearer to Glenorchy, Mt Earnslaw was even more imposing as it towered over the lower peaks of the Forbes Range.

Closer to the mountains
The Eastern peak of Mt Earnslaw breaks free of the cloud

As I came around a corner I glimpsed what I thought was a strange bird. It turned out to be a hang glider. What’s more, it was on an aerotow from a microlight.

Moyes Dragonfly C2 microlight doing aerotows from Glenorchy
The towing bridle and tow rope are clearly visible

 

That poor little 64 hp two-stroke engine was working its heart out to lift its own airframe and pilot plus overcome the drag of a two person hang glider. It soon became clear that this was a regular feature of operations from the Glenorchy airstrip and while I stood at the boundary gate and watched it did at least half a dozen such launches alternating between two different hang gliders.

The two-person hang glider heads back towards the airfield
How’s that for a backdrop?

What a spectacular landscape for such activity. And then I heard something more powerful. A New Zealand Aerospace Cresco equipped for skydiving was firing up. Soon it too was airborne and it seemed to circle endlessly to perhaps 14,000 feet (the aviation industry remains stubbornly un-metricated).

NZAS Cresco takes to the air with two tandem parachutes
If you look closely, you will see one of passengers grinning hugely as they leave the airfield

After what seemed a long silence, a black dot suddenly flowered and first one, then another canopy opened, and two happy parachutists enjoyed their tandem ride back to earth.

Tandem parachute returns home
All of these activities have built-in photographic capability with the camera on a stick so that the real parachutist can take “selfies”

After an excellent coffee in the township, I drove up the Rees Valley and decided that the though the scenery was wonderful the light had gone flat (those clouds rolling in from the Tasman, remember?), and this was an ill-maintained country road which was quite unfair on my daughter-in-law’s tiny little city commuter car. So I turned North towards Paradise, and forded the River Jordan to get there. Though I got there, I was defeated by the drab conditions. Back to Glenorchy for a fine pumpkin soup and a beer in the local alehouse. On the way this beautiful  bird made an appearance. I thought, indeed hoped I had caught a New Zealand falcon. Alas, expert advice tells me it is a female Australasian harrier.

Australasian harrier
You didn’t really expect a total absence of birds, did you?

On the last leg of the homeward journey, up Frankton Road beside the lake, I was delighted to see that the wind had gone and the Frankton Arm was now a perfectly reflecting mirror. The heavy roar of one of the many tourist jet boats promised a bit of spectacle.

Thunder on the lake
Nice reflections

I had a great day.

How great thou Art (English version words by Stuart K Hine)