Lone Tree In The Maniototo

Lone Tree In The Maniototo – Buy 

I like the name ‘Gimmerburn’. It’s got a kind of, ‘where the hell is that?’ feeling. It’s one of those place names that makes you wonder about the place itself. After all, ‘The Gimmerburn’ hardly sounds like a bustling suburb of London or New York. 

So, one day after a self guided tiki tour through the Maniototo, and at one stage passing through The Gimmerburn, I found this lovely singular tree.

Freyberg Beach and Oriental Bay

Freyberg Beach and Oriental Bay– Buy 

My plan for the day was simple: walk to Oriental Bay in Wellington to see the famous Carter Water Fountain. I was staying near the top end of Cuba Street in the city centre, and set out by first heading to the lower end of the street, before arriving at the waterfront. Once there, I passed the National Museum of Te Papa and the Naked Man Statue which linked up with the Wellington Waterfront Walk. This would lead me to the famous fountain which I was quite looking forward to seeing in action. Passing in front of Waitangi Park, I detoured around Clyde Quay Wharf and joined up with the road Oriental Parade. From there, I enjoyed a casual stroll which eventually led me to my destination of Freyberg Beach, Oriental Bay – home of the Carter Water Fountain. 

Upon arriving in Oriental Bay, I came across something that I wasn’t expecting. The Fountain wasn’t working. This is something that hadn’t occurred to me before now. After a moment’s reflection, I decided that my first clue should have been the lack of a 16 meter high water spout 150 metres out into the bay. 

Feeling slightly disappointed that I wasn’t going to see a Water Fountain, I turned my attention to a strangely shaped half circular Band Rotunda come Restaurant style building that was at the end of the bay. Consisting of three levels, with the bottom two being closed, I found my way to the open air, top level of the building. So, while I wasn’t able to see the Carter Water Fountain in action I was able to enjoy a view across the bay and harbour.

Riverton, Southland’s Riviera

Riverton, Southland’s Riviera – Buy 

I wasn’t entirely sure if I’d been to Riverton. I couldn’t remember ever going there, however that’s not to say that I hadn’t visited the Southland town some time in my childhood. Riverton is spread out on either side of the Aparima River and lies 38 km west of Invercargill. So, with some spare time on my hands I set off for Southland’s Riviera.

Tripod On Courtenay Place

Tripod In Courtenay Place – Buy 

Strolling around Wellington, it doesn’t take long to come across some of the sculptures that are placed around the city. In fact, if you so desire you could spend an entire day finding all the various and interesting artworks around the place. One of these is a giant 6½-metre-high tripod sculpture that was created by Weta Workshop. The bronze sculpture is made from recycled mechanical parts including old camera reels, Nintendo controllers, Gameboys, a toasted sandwich maker, among other objects. Unveiled in 2005 at the end of Courtney Place, it was commissioned by the Wellington City Council to celebrate the film industry.

Butchers Dam In Alexandra

Butchers Dam In Alexandra – Buy 

Despite having driven through the Central Otago township of Alexandra many times, it’s not a place I had really spent any great length of time in, since my childhood. So, with a few days spare during the winter months, I decided to base myself at a local hotel and set about exploring the area. Over the preceding days I explored numerous walking tracks through the hills, found disused cemeteries and visited dams in relative isolation.

Horses In The Dunedin Hills

Horses In The Dunedin Hills – Buy 

I was out among the hills around Dunedin, exploring the remains of some buildings that weren’t really standing yet hadn’t completely collapsed. After a bit, I came along a disused path which ran up along a fenceline that eventually opened out to overlook a small valley. It was while taking in the view, that I completely forgot I was standing right next to a paddock of horses. That was, until one came up behind me, nudged me in the back and scared me half to death!

Blackstone Cemetery

Blackstone Hill Cemetery – Buy 

There’s something quite wonderful about the entrance to Blackstone (Hills Creek) Cemetery. It sits on the side of a hill, seemingly in the middle of nowhere. Separated from the surrounding farmland by a fence line, the best thing about it is the large concrete gate that is also a War Memorial. In a place that was once a bustling town, it’s a poignant reminder of human existence in a barren and harsh landscape.

Dunstan House In Clyde

Dunstan House Foyer – Buy 

If you get the chance to stay in the Dunstan House Hotel you shouldn’t pass it up. The current building dates back to 1900, however it was a replacement for the original building that was constructed in the 1860’s during the gold rush. 

When I was there, I could imagine the dust flying as an old Cobb & Co coach pulled up outside with fresh supplies for the gold fields. The building has all sorts of stories to tell, some of which I heard from the owners. One goes along the lines of, back in the gold rush days the house had hatch from the cellar to the bar where dancing girls would pop up from to entertain the miners.

East Otago Fence Line At Dawn

Fenceline at dawn – Buy 

I used to spend a lot of time driving New Zealand roads at dawn. Well, the same road lots of times to be precise. It’s such a special time of day when the light is doing interesting things. Some days I would see scenes that would say something to me, other days I wouldn’t. The scenes, themes and ideas that I enjoyed the most, always had some form of human element to them. Like this fenceline for example. 

Katherine Mansfield On Lambton Quay

Women of Words – Buy 

While in Wellington, I found this statue/sculpture in Midland Park on Lambton Quay which celebrates the life and work of author Katherine Mansfield. Made entirely out of stainless steel, the sculpture is covered with quotes from her writing which becomes illuminated at night. 

Born in Wellington, Mansfield went on to be considered one of the world’s most important authors of the modernist movement with her work having been published in 25 languages. To think, she achieved all that by the age of 34 when she passed away in Paris, France.

The One About Matakauri, Manata & Matau.

Lake Wakatipu – Buy 

Here’s an interesting fact for you, Lake Wakatipu is so deep that while the surface of the lake is 310 meters above sea level, at its deepest point it is below sea level with a maximum depth of 380 meters. 

Local Māori tell a legend about the lake involving two star-crossed lovers called Matakauri and Manata. One night, Manata was kidnapped by a giant and cruel taniwha named Matau. Manata’s father was so distraught about losing his daughter, he declared that any warrior that was able to rescue her, could have her hand in marriage.  Matakauri decided to accept the challenge and successfully rescued Manata as the taniwha lay sleeping. 

After the wedding, Matakauri feared the taniwha would return and decided to deal with Matau once and for all. So, one night he crept out and set fire to Matau to ensure he would never steal Manata again. As Matau’s body melted it created a deep ‘S’ trough in the ground which then filled with rainwater and created Lake Wakatipu.

Allans Beach Towards Mt Charles

Allans Beach towards Mt Charles– Buy 

My destination was Lovers Leap and the Chasm. Both places I hadn’t been to in some years. I was looking forward to a nice walk with my reward being a pleasant peninsula view at the end of it. At one point I did notice that the track signs seemed to have changed, however, confident I knew where I was going I ignored these and set off under the watchful eye of the local sheep population. 

Several Spotify songs later, I arrived at the spot where the viewing platform should be, only to find it wasn’t there. Replaced, with an unstable land warning. Confused, I backtracked and headed to the other viewing platform, which I quickly learnt had also disappeared. 

Deciding it would now be prudent to follow the signs, I discovered a new track and viewing platform had been built and placed looking northeast over Allans Beach, Hoopers Inlet, Mt Charles and inland to Harbour Cone. Offloading my pack, I had to admit that this was probably a better view. I also realised that I was being watched by a very smug group of sheep that seemed to be saying  “told ya so!”.


In 2019 The Department of Conservation removed the viewing platforms overlooking Lover’s Leap and the Chasm due to concerns over unstable land.

Consider The Albatross

The Northern Royal Albatross – Buy 

Spend some time thinking about the Albatross for a moment. These wonderful creatures have a lifespan of at least 50 years, spend up to 85% of it at sea and can go up to six years without touching land. They live off a diet of fish, squids, and crustaceans and once they find a mate they pair-up for life, producing one egg every two years. One fully grown, they weigh around 12 kilograms, have a wingspan of 3.5 meters, can fly up to 40km per hour and can travel up to 15,000 kilometers. In fact, the Northern Royal Albatross has been known to fly 190,000 kilometers a year.

If that’s not enough, there is only one place in the world where the Northern Royal Albatross breeds on the mainland and that is Taiaroa Head, on the Otago Peninsula in Dunedin. A place that is home to more than 250 albatrosses. Isn’t that remarkable and just a little bit special.

Twilight On The Peninsula

Twilight on the peninsula. – Buy 

It was one of those lovely autumn evenings where the weather was kind and the warmth of the day lingered into the evening. Deciding to enjoy the twilight, I ventured up to the Fallen Soldiers’ Memorial on the Otago Peninsula. Once there, I was able to watch the sunset while enjoying an almost 360 degree view of Dunedin.

Tomahawk Beach

Tomahawk Beach – Buy 

If there’s one thing I like about golf, it’s seeing someone play who is worse than me. Which, to be fair, isn’t many people. Thus the reason I don’t spend much time playing the game however, golf courses are a great place to walk. As long as you can avoid flying golf balls and grumpy 70+ year old men in tweed trousers who resent the fact you’re walking on their course! The other great thing about golf courses is that they are often located in very picturesque locations and give you wonderful views. 

St Clair Esplanade and Sea Wall

St Clair Esplanade and Sea Wall – Buy 

Let’s think about the St Clair Esplanade and Sea Wall for a moment. It was first built in the 1860’s, redesigned twice in the 1880’s, then again in 2004 and once more in 2021. It’s had multiple beach access points added to it and changed over the years. There have been ramps, stairs and pathways built into it. Nearby, there’s a surf club, a surf lifesaving club, cafe’s, bars, restaurants, hotels, a surf shop, a salt water pool, hair and beauty salons and parks.  Along the Esplanade there have been grand hotels, corner shops and a public pavilion that was replaced by a band rotunda. It’s been hit by storms, suffered from erosion and even had sinkholes in it. Yet, despite all this, consistently every twelve hours the tide changes from low to high then back again.

Taieri’s Patchwork Quilt Of Green

Taieri patchwork quilt of green.  – Buy 

We’d been following the Taieri River, which really is a remarkable waterway. It starts from seemingly nowhere in the Lammerlaw Range and flows north, then east, then south-east on its 288 kilometre journey to the sea. It passes through at least six towns, two gorges, it links with two lakes, the fish are plentiful, there are some lovely picnic spots along its banks and it is part of the fabric of the farming community. 
After we passed over the towns of Outram, Allanton and Momona we flew over Henley before turning, and beginning to retrace our steps. It was then that I realised that there’s just nothing like the patchwork quilt of green that stretches out over the Taieri plains.

Dunedin Cityscape (ii)

Dunedin Cityscape (ii) – Buy 

While walking the city in search of interesting vantage points, I found my way into a car parking building. The good thing about parking buildings is that they usually have roof access, and roofs are a wonderful position to photograph from. I’d photograph from my roofs if I could, however annoyingly we have trespassing laws in New Zealand, which means that you either need to find a different view, or take a photo worth the $1,000 fine/three months in prison.

Dunedin Cityscape (i)

Dunedin Cityscape – Buy 

When I started, I planned to stroll through the city and see what I could find. There’s something very delightful about wandering with no set purpose. In the end, I ended up completing a large 5 kilometer loop of the city. I walked up hills, sheltered from rain, found vantage points of the city that I’d forgotten about, and eventually found my car where I had left it. Which is always a bonus.  

Sunlight In The Exchange

Sunlight In The Exchange – Buy 

Having parked not more than a minute or two’s walk from the square, I enjoyed the stroll along the street, watching sunlight find its way into the shadowy corners in between buildings. It seemed busier than usual for this early time of day. A motley mix of people hurried their way into the various buildings that surrounded the square, clearly there were more pressing matters to attend to than watching sunlight reflect off windows.

The Nuggets

The Nuggets – Buy 

When Alan Martin lost his job in 1989 due to technological advancement, he had the honor of being one of the last Lighthouse Keepers employed in the country. So, after the Nugget Point lighthouse became automated in 1989, and Mr Martin was no longer needed, it brought to an end the tradition of lighthouse keeping at ‘The Nuggets.’ A tradition that dated back 119 years to 1870             

The Peace of Matiu/Somes Island

Wellington from Matiu/Somes Island – Buy 

My time on Matiu/Somes Island was completely majestic. I wander along tracks and paths surrounded by bushes. Past decommissioned army barracks and other disused buildings that had been constructed on the island over the years. I walked through a bush filled with bird life and took in the sweeping views of Wellington Harbour and the city around me. It was on my return to the ferry that it occurred to me what makes Matiu/Somes Island so peaceful. Firstly, there’s no litter or rubbish bins. Secondly there’s no powerlines or graffiti and thirdly, a lack of human noise. For two hours I was free of all human sounds that now backdrop our lives. Of course, it couldn’t last and when the sight and sound of the ferry came chugging around the far point of Island, I found my ticket and boarded the ferry for Day’s Bay and in search of lunch. 

… 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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