Omarama Clay Cliff

Omarama Clay Cliff – Buy 

It’s not often you can say you’re standing in front of something that was formed 20 million years ago but that’s just what the Clay Cliffs near Omarama are. The pinnacles and ridges were formed from layers of gravel and silt that came from ancient rivers, lakes and glaciers. The layers were compressed and pushed up by a fault-line. As this happened, the rock was eroded by wind and rain, creating deep ravines and high pinnacles.

The Corner Of Water and Vogel Street.

Vogel House – Buy 

The corner of Water and Vogel Street is set in heart of Dunedin’s Warehouse Precinct. There you’ll find Vogel House which during the 1980s and 1990’s was used as a music venue for bands that were part of the Dunedin Sound. It was a popular rehearsal venue for musicians that included the popular group, The Chills who recorded their single Doledrums there in 1984.

The Hooker Valley Track

The Hooker Valley Track – Buy 

The walk through The Hooker Valley is rated as one of the best walks in the country and it’s not hard to see why. Starting at the White Horse car park, the track begins by passing the Alpine Memorial and Freda’s Rock before the Mueller Glacier comes into view. The track crosses the Hooker River, it ventures into the wider valley and open tussock which includes three swing bridges that need to be crossed. After passing over the third swing bridge, the path leads to the source of the Hooker River and amazing views of Hooker Lake.

Stained Glass Window At St Paul’s Cathedral

Stained glass window at St Paul’s Cathedral – Buy 

On Sunday evening I was planning to walk to the beach in the early evening. I had a spot on the rocks all picked out and I was in the middle of getting my gear ready, when the weather turned. A southerly blew in from the south bringing with it thunder, lightning, heavy rain and strong wind gusts. It really was an intense front of weather and I was really glad I was caught in the middle of it. Instead, I processed this image of the lovely stained glass window at St Paul’s Cathedral here in Dunedin.

The Remarkables

The Remarkables – Buy 

I was staying the night in Frankton near Queenstown in South Islands Lakes District. In the last few years the development and growth in Frankton has been quite amazing. So, I found myself staying there the night before an early morning flight from Queenstown Airport the next morning. Late in the afternoon I went for a walk on a section of the Twins River Trail which is part of the Queenstown Great Ride’ network that follows the iconic Kawarau and Shotover Rivers and provides wonderful views of The Remarkables.

A Very Brief History Of The Lupinus Polyphyllus

Lupinus Polyphyllus Buy 

We can thank horticulturist and Yorkshireman George Russell for the wonderful range of colours we see in today’s Lupins. However, the story starts further back with a Scottish botanist called David Douglas. After being recommended by London’s Royal Horticultural Society, Douglas went on a plant-hunting expedition in the Pacific Northwest in 1824. Two years later, when returned home, he brought with him many new species of plants, which included the predominantly blue and white Lupinus Polyphyllus (or Lupin).

Then, in 1911 at the Coronation of King George V, George decided he didn’t particularly like the blue and white coloured Lupins that were on display. So, he spent the next twenty six years of his life collecting and crossing different Lupin to develop a more colourful species that was exhibited for the first time at the Chelsea flower show in 1936. This new species would become known as the Russell Lupin and was exported all over the world.

Pompallier House In Russell

Pompallier House and Missionary – Buy 

When ships started stopping off at some of the more well known bays and inlets around New Zealand in the early 1800’s, they brought plenty of goods to trade with local Māori. Local iwi eagerly provided items such as fish, pork, kumara, freshwater and women for items such as guns, and blankets. 

However, when the ships were in port and their crews were set loose on shore-leave, they also brought other interests with them such as grogshops and brothels. Both of which did a roaring trade. In fact, life in some of the bays around New Zealand became fairly rough and rowdy. Nowhere was this more evident than at a place in the Bay of Islands called Kororāreka (Russell). 

In Kororāreka, such was the unruly behaviour that when Charles Darwin visited in the summer of 1835/1836 he declared the place the “hellhole of the pacific”. So, to help sort out all the miss-behaviour, Missionaries were sent to New Zealand and when they arrived they had two main goals. Firstly, to introduce christianity to Māori and secondly to try and keep law and order among the European settlers.

One of these Missionaries was French Bishop Jean Baptiste François Pompallier who arrived in January 1839. Pompallier quickly got to work and by the end of 1844 he had setup Missionaries in Hokianga Whangaroa, Kaipara, Tauranga, Akaroa, Matamata, Ōpōtiki, Auckland, Wellington, Rotorua and Whakatāne, with his headquarters being Kororāreka.  

At his headquarters at Pompallier House (built in 1842), he developed a printing press that translated church texts from Latin to te reo Māori. They were then printed, bound and distributed around the country. Producing a staggering 40,000 books, the missionary at Pompallier House had a major effect on the development of literacy around the country.

The Blue Lake of St Bathans

The Blue Lake of St Bathans – Buy 

When Gold was discovered in Otago by Australian Gabirel Reid, in 1861,  it started what was to become known as the Great Otago Rush. The rush brought miners from all over the world to the Otago region who steadily made their way inland as the hunt for gold, fame and fortune took them all over the barren hills of the Central Otago landscape. 

By around 1863, the search for gold had brought miners to an area known as Dunstan Creek, a place now called St Bathans, and a town quickly grew. The famous Vulcan Hotel was built in the area in 1882 and by 1887, the place had developed into a bustling town of over 2000 people. 
In the area, one of the main ways to search for gold was by sluicing, where powerful jets of water are blasted at banks that wash gravel into sluice boxes. The boxes then trap the gold at the bottom of the box. In St Bathans, this method was so popular that the nearby Kildare Hill was transformed into a 168 metre deep pit. It was only when the pit started getting too close to the town that mining was halted in 1934. Once mining was stopped, the huge hole was filled with water which created the beautiful blue lake that we see today.

St Joseph’s Cathedral On A Spring Morning

St Joseph’s Cathedral on a spring morning – Buy 

It’s that wonderful time of year when the morning sun is starting to have a tiny bit more heat in it as it rises over the Dunedin Hills along the Peninsula. With the changing of seasons from Winter to Spring, the early morning sun when accompanied by clear, cloudless mornings creates a lovely dawn glow as it strikes the front of the various buildings around the city centre. 

The other morning I managed to catch the last of the early morning sun hitting St Joseph’s Cathedral before it disappeared behind a large bank of cloud.

George Duppa Of Oriental Bay

Oriental Bay – Buy 

George Duppa first arrived in Port Nicholson on the ship The Oriental in early 1840. Born near Maidstone, Kent, England in 1819, George was the youngest son of Baldwin and Mary Duppa. Upon arrival in Aotearoa he spent time clearing land on the west bank of the Hutt River until he eventually moved to the area now known as Oriental Bay. Once in the bay, he erected a prefabricated house that he had shipped out from England.

At the time, the area was called Duppa because of its one and only resident. In fact, the bay was so remote that it was also used for quarantine purposes. It only became known as Oriental bay after George Duppa named the area after the ship he originally arrived on.

Tripod on Courtney Place

Tripod on Courtney Place – Buy 

If you wander around Wellington for long enough you’ll come across some of the sculptures that are placed around the city. 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.

Freda du Faur & Mount Cook

Mount Cook – Buy 

High on Mount Cook, in the cold, early hours of Saturday 3rd December 1910, Australian mountaineer Freda du Faur and her companions Peter and Alec Graham started their final ascent on the summit. 

Born and raised in Sydney, Freda taught herself to rock climb and pursued it with a passion. In 1906, at the age of 24, she summered in New Zealand and after seeing images of Mount Cook became determined to climb it. She then spent the years between 1908 and 1910 preparing for her ascent on the peak. So, on Saturday 3rd December 1910, accompanied with two companions, Freda du Faur became the first woman to successfully climb Mount Cook.


Makarora – Buy 

Earlier this year I spent a few days in Makarora. While I was there, I planned on going to visit the famous Blue Pools. Unfortunately, when I arrived at the car park I found a large sign saying the two swing bridges that lead to the Blue Pools were closed due to the bridges having reached the end of their life. It also went on to advise that while the track was open, access to the Blue Pools wasn’t possible. Not wanting to waste a good bush walk, the best I could figure was that a walk through the forest would still be nice and rivers are always pleasant to watch, so I happily set off following the track into the bush.

The Dingle Burn

The Dingle Burn – Buy 

This isn’t quite the Dingle Burn, but it’s pretty close to it. Access to this whole area starts at the Dingle Burn Peninsula Track and leads to the Turihuka Conservation Area, the Hāwea Conservation Park and the Hunter River Tracks. The whole area is very magnificent and has tracks that can take anything from several hours to several days to walk and enjoy.

The Pai Lou Archway

The Pai Lou archway – Buy 

The intricate and elaborate Pai Lou archway that stands out front of the Lan Yuan Gardens in Dunedin is quite a beautiful thing. The other week, after having a very tranquil walk around the gardens, upon leaving I took a moment to view and appreciate the Pai Lou archway. From a distance, it looks quite impressive, however up close it’s absolutely magnificent. I left having a whole new appreciation for it. 

The Red Glenorchy Shed

Store Shed At Day BreakThe Red Glenorchy Shed – Buy 

Like most towns in Otago and the Lake’s District, Glenorchy was born out of the gold rush that occurred in the 1860’s. Once Glenorchy was settled and populated by prospectors, the only real access to it was via steamers that carried people and cargo up and down the lake from Queenstown. At Glenorchy, the goods and cargo going to and from steamers on the lake was stored and sorted in a goods shed that also operated as the local station. 

As the steamers were owned by NZ Railways, Glenorchy was officially a railway station and the rails that ran from the end of the wharf to the shed were technically railway. Thus, at the time, the track that ran from the shed to the end of the wharf was the shortest piece of railway in the country.

Harrolds Bay From Acker’s Cottage

Harrolds Bay from Acker’s cottage – Buy 

This is the view from Lewis Acker’s stone cottage on Stewart Island looking out to Harrolds Bay. Acker lived quite an amazing life which started in New England, America, around 1815. He then went to sea which brought him to the shores of Aotearoa as a 16 year old. He returned several years later as part of the sealing and whaling industry before purchasing 600 acres of land on Stewart Island from local Maori. It was here in a small bay on Stewart Island that Acker built a remarkable stone, one room, two windowed house where he lived with his wife Mary Pi and eight children until they moved back to the mainland in 1856. 

It seems that Acker was a particularly skilled person as not only did he spend time working in the sealing and whaling industry, but he built boats, ran a sawmill, was a river boat pilot and spent time running a farm. At the time of his death in 1885, aged around 70 he had been married twice and was father to 14 children, having outlived six of them.

… 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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