Akatarawa Animals Landscapes Rivers Whiteman's Valley

November 1, 2015 … hurrying slowly

Today, New Zealand won the Rugby World Cup.

The collapsed bridge at Birchville

This has nothing at all to do with me or my photography but I just had to share my pride in our mighty team. Returning now to normal service, I began my photographic day at the bridge off the Akatarawa road. The Bridge Street community within Birchville consists of about 70 houses accessible by a narrow bridge across the Akatarawa River just near its conjunction with the Hutt River. I have photographed the bridge earlier this year, back in May. In the thunderous river flows I mentioned a few days ago, the central support of the bridge was undermined and the bridge has subsided making it unsafe to cross. The only way in or out now is by way of a footpath beside the river, leading to the suburb of Totara Park. This is an hour-long trek to the Upper Hutt Shops. As a matter of urgency, earth moving equipment is being used to forma road that follows the path. It will break through this Friday and will require a further week to render the new road passable.  Water and gas supplies are also compromised, so the people of Birchville are having to rough it for almost two weeks.

The land is green for now, but as we get closer to summer, the forecasters are predicting drought conditions.

It was a pleasant afternoon, so I followed my nose through Mangaroa into Whitemans Valley where I attempted a pastoral landscape in the afternoon sun.

Bedford RL

Near the exit, I paused for another shot at yet another previously photographed subject, the old Bedford army truck which is slowly becoming as one with the Earth.

The snail was moving purposefully in a consistent direction. Not sure of its destination, but it was gone when I looked next morning.

Back at home, Mary pointed me to a snail crossing the back lawn. It was making slow but determined progress, and managed to navigate its way around obstacles such as the daisies in the grass.

Did I mention that the All Blacks won the Rugby World Cup?

Akatarawa Landscapes Rivers

May 18, 2015 … following the river

It seems that last week’s storm is behind us.

Twin bridges
Twin bridges in Upper Hutt

Land slips here and there are mostly small. Some roads and drains have been damaged, but we seem to have been let off lightly compared with the natural disasters experienced elsewhere in the world. In our house we are temporarily inconvenienced because the gas water heating (downstairs) and the electric water heating (upstairs) have both been disabled by grit in the water system from the broken water main. Repairs are scheduled. Weather wise, things seem to be softening, at least in the short-term. The upper valley seemed to be worthy of a visit yesterday, so I went to the Twin Bridges area on Akatarawa Road. I confess to trying out the neutral density filter on the Olympus. This six second exposure smooths the normally tumbling water of the Hutt River.

For a while at least, the river heads East

Looking downstream from the same spot gives the impression of an uncomplicated river, though a pair of white-water kayakers who went past knew that there were difficult patches ahead. I was surprised to find little evidence of elevated water levels from the storm. There was no visible debris up on the banks of the river, for example.

River bend
At this point, the Hutt River takes a sharp turn to the South in its last run towards the sea.

Downstream, the river makes a sharp bend to the South at Maoribank, and the rocks in the late afternoon sun make for an interesting scene. Again, there is scant evidence of the recent raised water levels.

Last Autumn colour

Following River Road south of Moonshine Bridge, I paused at the reserve down beside the river and enjoyed the trees across the valley, clinging to the last colours of Autumn before we accept that Winter is really with us,.

Sun shine is tempting me outside.



Akatarawa Birds Light Rivers Upper Hutt Weather

July 8, 2014 … dark brown water, bright blue feathers

Perhaps it’s the lack of access to the sea that deters me.

Confluence of the two branches of the Akatarawa River near Upper Hutt

For whatever reason, I don’t visit the upper valley very often. Yesterday was a lovely still sunny day, even as people in the North of the country were preparing for storms and heavy rain.  I took the Akatarawa road and paused for a while at the little park where the Akatarawa River and the West Akatarawa River come together. At least while the river levels are low, it’s a quiet confluence. Tea-brown water is clear enough that the stony bottom is easily visible, and the areas of white water are pretty rather than spectacular.

Through the beech trees, the sun dapples the water

I walked a little way up the main Akatarawa river and shot back towards the junction, enjoying the lovely native bush on the steep hills behind.

Panhandling peacock pleads pitifully

From there, I carried on up the Akatarawa road towards Staglands, a local wildlife farm park. I had forgotten that yesterday was day one of the school holidays, so I chose not to go into the park. I did pause for lunch in their cafe, and felt my blood pressure rising as children chased and teased the peacocks and other birds, under the foolishly indulgent gaze of their parents. I shall return on the next fine day after the school holidays. This splendidly coloured peacock came close in the hop of being invited to share my lunch.

That’s all for today.