Matauwhi Bay In The Bay Of Islands

Matauwhi Bay Buy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

It was my last full day in Russell and I decided to mark it up walking up the hill to the flag staff. By the time I set off the day was already hot and warm, however the prospect of a bush walk in front of me with no other plans for the day was quite delightful. Consisting of a combination of walking on road and gravel through bush, the walk while steep was certainly a treat and like others ahead of me, my efforts were rewarded with a magnificent 360 degree view of the surrounding area. Not to mention the famous flagstaff which first had the Union Jack flown in 1840 before Māori chef Hone Heke and his supporters cut it down four times as a symbol of protest against the way the British Crown were uploading the Treaty of Waitangi agreements.

I had a look around in the morning sun and decided that I liked Russell very much.

Tapeka Point In The Bay of Islands

Tapeka Point BayBuy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

If you’re looking for a holiday location, I would like to suggest the Bay of Islands in Northland. Russell to be precise. You can spend the hot, warm summer days swimming in the bays, wandering around all the inlets, paths and tracks that are scattered around and generally not doing much of anything really. It’s easy to see why it’s such a popular spot. 

Quaratine Barracks On Matiu Island

Quaratine and immigration barrack on Matiu Island Buy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

During World War I these buildings on Matiu Island were used as quarantine barracks to hold enemy aliens who were considered a risk to New Zealand’s security.  Around 300 prisoners were held on the island, most of whom were German nationals. 

In World War II the island again became an internment camp. The prisoners were primarily German however there were also a large number of Italian and Japanese. The prisoners were required to do road-building, gardening and fishing. 

This building that still survives was part of the immigration barracks which were originally built for the influenza pandemic 1919.

Mount Cook And The Hooker Valley

Mount Cook and The Hooker LakeBuy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

Covered in deep snow, the track led up the Hooker Valley towards Aoraki/Mount Cook. It started by passing close to Freda’s Rock. It’s named after Emmeline Freda du Faur who was the first woman to climb Aoraki/Mount Cook. This amazing accomplishment she achieved in 1910 and remains forever immortalised in New Zealand mountaineering history. I happily followed the snowy path, kicking snow and trying to decide if it would be socially acceptable to throw snowballs at strangers when Mueller Glacier and the first swing bridge came into view. The path crossed the Hooker River and carried on to the second swing bridge. 

It was somewhere between the Mueller Glacier and the second swing bridge that I suddenly had the overwhelming feeling that I might be getting sunburnt. I rummaged through my bag but soon realized that bringing sunblock really would have been a good idea. resigning myself to the fact that I was going to end up very burnt, I pushed on. 

Passing the second bridge, the track opened to the wider valley floor, and even deeper snow until I arrived at the third swing bridge and headed for the glacier lake. 

Upon arriving at my destination I came across a view that is pretty well unimprovable. Mountains, rocks, snow, ice, a glacier and lake in every direction. The last 20 meters of the track is a gentle incline until reaching the top of the path where it opens out to an amazing view of Aoraki/Mount Cook, Hooker Glacier and the Southern Alps. This is one of the beautiful things about Aotearoa, if you are prepared to walk then you’re in for some spectacular scenery. 

I stood and daydreamed for a bit, ate my carefully packed sandwiches, explored the different vantage spots with my camera before turning my attention to the walk back. By this time, under the hot sun, the snowy track was turning to slush and I had 5km of splashing through puddles ahead of me. 

Sometime later, upon my return, I fetched a Speight’s from my improvised ice bucket fashioned from  rocks and snow and settled on my bed. My legs aching and my face burning, I started the process of uploading flash cards to my computer.

Smaills Beach

Smaills BeachBuy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

It was the most time I’d  spent  actually on a beach in a good while. It was the end of the week and the end of the day and so with the sun starting to drop below the hills I spent a good hour or so enjoying the quiet surrounds of Smaills Beach. The nearby stream showed all the signs of recent heavy rain and  all that was left was a collection of debris scattered among the sand dunes. On the rocks by the point at the end of the beach two Fur Seals rested while an ever increasing group of surfers enjoyed the small barrels that were breaking just off shore. 

‘Not a bad spot to end the week’ I thought to myself.

Artisan Farmers Market At Wingatui Racecourse

Wingatui RacecourseBuy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

I found my way to the Wingatui Racecourse in Mosgiel, which was holding an Artisan Farmers Market however I wasn’t exactly sure why I was going. The previous night having watched the All Blacks lose to Ireland, I then proceeded to drink a dozen pints of something that didn’t agree with me and in the morning was feeling the worse for it. However, by midday feeling much more human and stable on my pins, I pointed myself in the direction of the market and set off. 

Not being completely confident about what I was going to find, I didn’t some research and found myself heading towards a large collection of candles, smellies, dried flowers, hangers and other arrangements that included knitting, soft toys, cushions, soaps and perfumes. All I was hoping for was a good busker playing something from a folk music catalogue and a good hamburger, however now I doubted I would either.

Gothic Water Tower Of Zealandia

Gothic water tower of ZealandiaBuy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

This is the valve tower of Wellington’s first public water supply which has been in place at a height of 21 metres for nearly 150 years. The original dam was constructed on the Kaiwharawhara Stream in 1874 and lasted until 1997 when it was decommissioned. Now, it is part of Zealandia, a wildlife sanctuary which can be found in the Karori Valley.

Glenorchy Boardwalk

Glenorchy Boardwalk Buy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

When I started out along the Glenorchy Boardwalk I had the path to myself. Now, nearly 30 minutes later I was coming across the first group of people I had seen. For a split second I felt somewhat annoyed that I had to share the lagoon walk and surrounding mountain views with other people. Suddenly I realised that in the 30 minutes I’d been on the boardwalk, I had become so used to not seeing anyone else, I had come to think of the path as mine, and mine alone.

Thunderbirds Are Go

Savaged By The WindSavaged By The Wind Buy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

Here on my blog … from a Small City, I publish a photo everyday from my journey’s, trips and travels. I view it as a loving photographed and written jaunt around Ōtepoti and around Aotearoa. During the week (Monday to Friday/Saturday) I try to maintain a single writing style for consistency. However, on at least one day during the weekend I break that style. That’s for two reasons, firstly for variety and secondly because there are other things I want to say. So, that brings me around to today’s post. 

The other day I got a message from Invercargill based photographer Rick Harvey. He left a very complimentary comment here on my blog, and after replying to him I visited his website (you can view it yourself here). There, I found the niche genre of Black n White trees. This then got me thinking about my own tree photos and what images might be hiding in my own galleries.

This one I took back in either 2010 or 2011 for a series called A Rugged Paradise and is titled Savaged By The Wind. So, thanks Rick, I’d forgotten about this image and make sure you visit his website.

As I wanted to post a new photo today this is Virgil Tracy from Thunderbird 2 at Weta Workshops in Wellington.

Virgil Tracy, Thunderbird 2 is goBuy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

Otago & Dunedin House

Otago & Dunedin HouseBuy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

Not long before taking this photo I’d been exploring Lower Moray Place. Photographing things like the Regent Theatre and the First Church of Otago signs. Then, I noticed these two buildings. I liked the different shapes that were contained within the overlapping of the two structures. It also made me wonder if it’s possible to get on the roof of these buildings. I might need to investigate that one.

Te Papa In Wellington

Te Papa in WellingtonBuy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

While walking in Wellington ….
I recently explored Te Papa in Wellington which has the honour of being labelled ‘The Museum of New Zealand.’ Having been stupid enough to visit during the school holidays I quickly decided that it is best avoided on the following days; Christmas Holidays, School Holidays, whenever a cruise ship is town and possibly Sundays! But, The Gallipoli exhibition is somewhat breathtaking and sobering all at the same time and any time spent looking at Rita Angus paintings is always time well spent! 

Lake Roxburgh Walkway

Lake Roxburgh WalkwayBuy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

While walking in Alexandra ….
A sign on an old, faded white post, with a bright blue background and white lettering said ‘Graveyard Gully Road.’ Here I found myself a little disappointed. If ever there was a chance to show a little creativity in road signs, then this was it. I paused for a moment at how ominous and dramatic it would be for tourists if the road name was simply painted on old faded wood in black lettering that had aged in the sun. With a few animal skulls scattered nearby. 

Disappointed in the simplicity of the road sign design, I headed along it anyway until I found the Manuherikia Cemetery. Beyond the cemetery is Lake Roxburgh Walkway. I didn’t have any intention of walking the 4 kilometres to Butchers Point or the further 6 kilometres to Doctors Point. However, for a few moments I did enjoy the first wee section of the track as it opened above the river.

Te Rau Aroha Museum

Te Rau Aroha MuseumBuy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

While walking at Waitangi ……
I found my way back to Te Rau Aroha Museum, which is located inside the treaty grounds itself. I had walked past it earlier, however with a culture show about to start, which I didn’t want to miss, I had made the decision to visit the museum on my return.

Te Rau Aroha Museum is a stunning and sobering experience. Divided into three galleries, the first gallery tells the story of the Māori commitment to the armed forces including the New Zealand Wars,  the Boer War, and a focus on the Pioneer Battalion of World War I and the 28 (Māori) Battalion of World War II. The second gallery tells the personal stories of the soldiers and their whānau from the 28 (Māori) Battalion’s while the third gallery is a contemplative Whare Maumahara (house of memories) for visitors, descendants and whānau. 

Smith Gallery at Toitu Museum

Smith Gallery at Toitu MuseumBuy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

While walking in Toitu Early Settlers Museum ………
I emerged into the Smith Gallery to find four walls of images staring down at me. No matter how many times I visit this room, there’s always an unnerving moment when I realise all these eyes are fixed upon me. Once I’ve gotten over the fear that one of the photos might come to life, there are two things that I find remarkable about this room. Firstly, all the portraits are displayed in chronological order of the settlers’ arrival, along with details of the ship they travelled on and who they married. Secondly, so many pioneers had their photos taken at all, as it must be remembered that photography was a fairly new invention when these fine folk were alive.

St Clair Esplanade Reflection

Esplanade Reflection Buy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

While walking on the St Clair Esplanade ………
I had spent some time trying to dodge seaspray, low flying seaweed and chunks of driftwood that were ricocheting off the St Clair Seawall during a particularly high tide.

Afterwards I noticed that scattered among the collection of debris on the Esplanade were a number of large puddles. Fortunately these sat undisturbed and upon closer inspection I noticed a number of reflections were providing mirror like images of the various buildings and structures that sat along the street. Not having the lens I would usually use to capture such an angle, I improvised as best I could. Funny that everyone else was letting themselves get covered in seaspray, yet I was the one being looked at as the one doing something odd!


Glenmore Station

Glenmore Station Buy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

This is one of those strange photo locations where I know exactly where it is, yet I don’t. I can tell you that it was taken at the Bad Decision Hut (aka the Whiskey Hut) which is located high in the highs above Glenmore Station.

Glenmore is a high-country station between Lake Tekapo and the Gamack Range and contains three huts catering for skiers called Devil’s Daughter, Lady Emily Hut and Falcon’s Nest Hut. On the pass that leads over to the Falcon’s Nest hut you’ll find a tiny hut filled with whiskey bottles called a Bad Decision Hut (aka the Whiskey Hut). So, as you’re sipping a wee dram in the Southern Alps, at almost 2000 metres elevation, this is the view you get.

Morning Silence In The Hakataramea Valley

Within silence and open spacesMorning silence in the Hakataramea Valley Buy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

I stopped by these pine trees and farm gate while driving through the Hakararamea Valley. The morning was unbelievably cold until the sun started to rise over the Campbell Hills. Tucked away in the Waimate District, the Hakataramea Valley sits at the foot Kirkliston range in the South Island of New Zealand.

Big Mumma

Big Mumma (Mum) – Buy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

I spent the afternoon enjoying the lovely beach at St Clair. It wasn’t particularly sunny, however it wasn’t windy either and that was good enough for me. I parked at St Kilda and walked over the dunes onto the beach and along to St Clair before scrambling up the rocks to the esplanade to see a statue of a Sea Lion called ‘Mum.’ 

I had recently read that according to a recent Department of Conservation report, 29 New Zealand Sea Lion pups were born in Otago and Southland over the 2021/2022 breeding season. This is a remarkable effort considering at one point the New Zealand Sea Lion population was nearly extinct. 

It had been nearly 150 years since a New Zealand Sea Lion birth was recorded on the mainland. Then, one day around Christmas in 1993, a female Sea Lion turned up at Taieri Mouth to give birth to a pup. Over the ensuing years the Sea Lion became known as  ‘Mum.’ Now, many years later the growth of the Sea Lion population has continued and Sea Lions are a common site on local beaches.


Boatshed on Otago Harbour Buy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

There are certain news item’s you don’t expect to come out of Britian during their summer months and temperatures reaching 40 degrees is one of them. If Britain is anything like New Zealand, then temperature from the mid-20’s up is considered a ‘scorcher.’ So this morning when I woke up to hear the headline of ‘UK records its hottest-ever temperature, with 40.3C’ well that was a surprise. If you spend a summer in Australia, temperatures of 40.0C seem to be the norm, however in Britain that’s unheard of.

So, with summer heatwaves in mind, here’s a picture from a lovely summer’’s day on Otago Harbour.

South Dunedin at Night.

South Dunedin at night Buy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

Walking through South Dunedin on a Friday night is not without its interesting highlights. Due to the number of takeaway outlets and a few surrounding pubs, there’s always more than a few people around. On this occasion the night was cold but clear and the street was filled with people bustling about their business in order to get home at the end of the week.

Street Art by Dal East

Street Art by Dal East Buy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

Yesterday I was exploring some of the Dunedin Street Art scene as extreme wind gusts ripped through the city. It was like walking through an urban obstacle course as all sorts of items went barreling down the street or flying past my face! I wanted to see the painting of a large bird with all these metal pieces flying off but I couldn’t remember where it was. Fortunately, as I was heading home I remembered. It’s on Stafford Street. Also, with a little help from the internet I was reminded it’s by Chinese artist Dal East and represents New Zealand’s extinct Haast Eagle constructed out of shards of metal. So cool!

Dunedin Street Art by Milarky

Dunedin Street Art by Milarky Buy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

The only problem with Dunedin Street Art is that now there is so much of it. It’s hard to remember where they all are. Once, they were all near the Warehouse Precinct, Queens Gardens and Vogel Street making it easy to wander the streets in some sort of missguided, jumbled order. However, so many pieces are now scattered around the city it is nearly impossible to remember them all. I was actually looking for an artwork of a large bird with all these metal pieces flying off. However, I couldn’t remember where it was. So, I enjoyed all the other artworks I did find, such as this piece by Taranaki artist Milarky.

… from a Small City. My daily musings from Ōtepoti to get you inspired. Read the blog, view the photos, embrace the creativity.

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