This is the shores of Lake Wanaka on a stunning summer’s day. Doesn’t it look amazing? It’s not hard to tell why it’s one of the country’s top holiday spots in the summer months. In fact, each year between Christmas and New Years the town becomes so busy that the town’s infrastructure struggles to cope with the number of tourists and holidaymakers enjoying the sunshine and the lake. Maybe that’s why so many developments have started up in the area.
It’s amazing how lazy you can feel after sitting by a river all day. Having done just that, by the time evening hit the Central Otago town of Arrowtown, I started to feel like some exercise might be needed. So, as dusk approached I decided to stretch my legs with a walk up Tobins Track to see the sunset over the Wakatipu Basin. Set high above the hills of Arrowtown, Tobin’s track was originally built by Irishman Thomas Tobin who won the roading contract to link the Wakatipu Basin to the Cardrona Valley in the 1870’s.
Fleur’s Place in Moeraki
While I was in the seaside village of Moeraki I called past Fleur’s Place, a rustic style restaurant that specialises in fresh seafood. Unfortunately, it closed during the Covid 19 pandemic when the whole hospitality industry struggled to stay open. In fact, I don’t know if it ever reopened?
Fleur’s Place gained a great reputation for fantastic sea food and regularly received rave reviews by visitors from all over the world, including Britain’s own popular TV chef Rick Stein. In fact, when British newspaper the Daily Mail offered to fly him anywhere in the world to eat, he chose Fleur’s Place! That’s impressive.
When Charles Rooking Carter was born in Kendal, Westmorland, England, I wonder if it ever occurred to him that he would have a town named after him 18518 kilometres away. I also wonder if he ever imagined that in another 194 years he would be immortalised in a bronze, 2 metre high statue?
Water silhouette at dawn.
The wondrous joy of water silhouettes in the Hakataramea Valley near the foot of the Kirkliston Range.
Welcome to Steampunk HQ in Oamaru which is a fun place to visit. This train outside also lights up at night which is quite spectacular. Unfortunately, whenever I go past it’s always daylight. I really must go up for a night trip to photograph the lights in the evening. Also, a fun fact I read stated that not only is Oamaru the Steampunk capital of New Zealand but of the entire world. Is that true?
I thought I should warn you that over the next few days I’m going to be skipping around the place a fair bit as I share photos with you from towns, points of interest and random curiosities I’ve discovered. So, having said that, I’ve headed just over the hill from Taieri Mouth to Akatore Creek Road which provides access to nearby farms. I actually thought this was one long driveway as it didn’t initially look like a public road. Also, a fun fact is that the nearby Akatore Creek is home to the Fernbird which is listed as an ‘at risk and declining’ species.
Once the Taieri River reaches Henley, it heads to Taieri Mouth via the Taieri River Gorge. Along the way through the gorge, there are a number of walking tracks that take you through forests that also provide wonderful views of the river. At Taieri Mouth, which is a small fishing village, the river reaches the South Pacific Ocean and its 288 kilometre journey ends insight of Moturata Island.
The stately home of Olveston
This is the upstairs of the grand, stately home of Olveston here in Dunedin. It was built between 1904 and 1907 for wealthy English merchant David Theomin who wanted to create an English country house in the city for his wife Marie and their two children Edward and Dorothy. Olveston was a family home from the time it was built in 1906 until 1966 when Dorothy, the last remaining member of the family, passed away. It was then bequeathed to the City of Dunedin and opened to the public the following year.
This is a large scale panorama of Aramoana Beach. It’s actually made up of 17 photos that shows the entire length of the beach, the mole, Taiaroa Head and part of the harbour. To get this, I had to climb up to the top of a very large dune and then up a few rocks to a point that provided clear views in either direction. Yet, somehow coming down seemed trickier than getting up there!
Harington Point Gun Emplacements
The other month when I was out on the Otago Peninsula I spent a day exploring the Harington Point Battery gun emplacements on the Otago Peninsula. Originally built in response to the threat of a Russian invasion in the 1880’s, the site was added to when World War 1, then World War 2 broke out. It’s a fun place to wander around, even if it does require a little scrambling up and down banks, pushing through overgrown gorse bushes and stepping over empty spray cans.
Boulder Beach from the Highcliff Track
I do love the Highcliff Track on the Otago Peninsula. It’s a glorious place that leads to so many other tracks and that you can be spoilt for choice. My favourite route is to make my way down McMeeking Road before linking up with the Highcliff Track and continuing on down to Boulder Beach and returning via the Paradise Road Track, up to Highcliff Road. Of course, if you’re feeling adventurous and energetic, instead of going up the Paradise Track there is always the option of heading over to Sandfly Bay. If you find yourself heading that way, make sure you allow yourself some time to take in the view from the Highcliff Track looking down to Boulder Beach and out over the Peninsula. It really is stunning.
166 Portobello Road, aka The White House, aka The Waverly House, aka The Dandie Dinmont was constructed in 1880 for businessman and politician William Larnach. Designed by Dunedin architectural firm Mason and Wales, the building was intended to be a hotel with transport across the harbour being by way of a harbour steamer. However, due to an economic depression and the failure of the steamer service, along with the building failing to get a liquor licence it was instead used as a stopover for guests travelling to Larnach’s Castle further down the Peninsula. William Larnach eventually lost interest in the venture and after the death of his first wife, he started to focus his attention on other projects.
I decided that it was time to get an updated photo of Kapiti Island. So, while recently in the North Island, I detoured over to Raumati Beach before heading the short distance along to Paraparaumu. It was one of those hot summer days that I’m reliably informed is typical of the Kapiti Coast in late December and early January. So, after successfully dripping ice cream all over myself, I went in search of views of Kapiti Island from the beach.
De Molen Foxton
While driving through the North Island town of Foxton, it’s hard not to notice the very large Windmill. It’s also very hard to not be enticed to stop and visit it. Even if it’s only to look at it from the outside. After all, New Zealand doesn’t have many genuine Windmills and this is the real thing. Built to traditional Dutch plans, it is an authentic replica of a 17th-century flour mill that is totally operational. Not only that, it looks great too.
For no particular reason I detoured into the township of Moeraki, a small fishing village on the east coast of the South Island. It had been some time since I last visited the seaside port so after parking my car overlooking the beach, I went for a stroll. A few minutes later I found myself amongst boats, canoes, boat ramps, crayfish pots and other assorted items you generally find in a fishing village. There was also a nearby Fish and Chip shop that was doing a reasonable trade for a Saturday afternoon.
The Dunedin Gasworks Forge
While I was at the Dunedin Gasworks Museum the forge was working which was surprisingly interesting. I really didn’t think much of it when I was told it was operating at reception, however it was fascinating to see. After several minutes I decided that it isn’t often you see something made from a lot of heat and physical labour these days. Also, on a side note the gasworks are the oldest in the country being the first in New Zealand and also the last to cease production operating from 1863 – 1987.
Of all the things I’ve discovered recently, the most interesting and peculiar is this. The Treaty of Waitangi, our nation’s founding document was lost for nearly 30 years. At the time, this was something I couldn’t quite believe. Even now, a month later, I still find it mind boggling yet somehow very typically kiwi.
Much like the rediscovery of the treaty, I came across this information quite by chance. It was during a recent visit to the treaty grounds in the Bay Of Islands. It was a lovely fine morning and after a short 30 minute stroll along Te Ti Bay I found myself at the Treaty Grounds in Waitangi. With a good 30 minutes to spare before the next tour, I had decided to pass the time by looking through the Waitangi museum. I had been assured it was well worth a look so I figured, well, why not!
I casually strolled through the various exhibits which I must confess was very captivating until I happened upon a display cabinet containing a very worn and ripped piece of paper that resembled a school notice that had been at the bottom of a child’s bag for some time. The document, as it turns out, was an exact copy of the actual Treaty.
It seems that after the initial signing at Waitangi on the 6th February 1840, the treaty then went on a kind of regional tour around New Zealand so other Maori chiefs could sign. Unfortunately the next year the document was nearly destroyed by fire. Then, sometime after 1877 it was ‘misplaced’ (for nearly 30 years) before being found by historian Thomas Hocken in 1908.
The story goes that the highly esteemed Thomas Hocken was rummaging around in the basement of a Government building in Wellington when rolled up, thrown in a corner, damaged by water and eaten by rats, he discovered the Treaty of Waitangi. It was then damaged further when restoration work (a little DIY presumably) went horribly wrong. It was at this point, after misplacing it for 30 years, damaged by fire, water, rats and restoration work that everyone decided it was best to leave the thing alone, put it in a tin case and lock it up for another 50 years.
As I moved out of the museum into bright sunshine and towards a gathering crowd that I assumed was the tour party I was joining, I had two thoughts. Firstly, what other important national documents are we missing? Secondly, has anyone thought to look for them in remote hay barns?
It was a lovely afternoon as I arrived in Aramoana, a small coastal settlement on the western side of the entrance to Otago Harbour. I spent the afternoon walking along the beach, climbing over rocks, up sand dunes and enjoying the local wildlife. This photo that I took overlooking the beach, the mole and beyond to Taiaroa Head was finished with a black and white film preset called Retro 80s that was made by the Rollei company.
The Rollei company was founded by Paul Franke and Reinhold Heidecke in Braunschweig, Germany in 1920. Their vision was to create a new type of roll film for cameras. Over the preceding years the company grew until eventually acquiring a worldwide reputation. In the 1950s and 1960s it became a high-quality brand with a unique photographic style. In 2009 they released the Retro 80s film which quickly became one of the favourite black and white films for international photographers.
I continued on my journey to the Dunedin Botanic Gardens where I spent a few hours wandering the various trails, paths and walkways. This photo from my walk was recreated with the Kodak Royal Gold 400 film. The Kodak Royal Gold 400 film was promoted as the world’s finest grain, 400-speed colour print film. It was stated to provide a balance between fine grain, sharpness, and colour for exposure in daylight or with flash.
My next stop on my tour of Dunedin was the Dunedin Gasworks Museum and that’s where I headed now. Located in South Dunedin, it is one of only three known preserved gaswork museums in the world which makes it a significant heritage site. The gasworks which operated from 1863 to 1987, were New Zealand’s first and last gasworks.
This photo of the Dunedin Gasworks Museum is made from a Kodak Elite 100 film preset. In the late 1980’s and into the 1990’s the cross-processing of negative films came into fashion. The cross-processing of film came about by intentionally processing film in the wrong chemicals to create interesting and sometimes unpredictable shifts in colour and contrast. In this process a colour slide film could be developed as if it were a colour negative film and vice-versa. One of these films was the Kodak Elite 100.
Next, I called in to the Otago Museum for a look around where I took this image. I finished with a recreation of the Fujifilm Superia 200 film. The Fujifilm Superia 200 first appeared on shop shelves in the 1990’s. This was a very popular film and was a great starting point for photographers due to its ease of use. It worked well outdoors in daylight and indoors with flash. The Superia 200 featured enhanced colour reproduction, sharpness, fine grain and a green base with tinges of blues and reds. Before the digital age when film was still king, Fuji Superia 200 was the great competitor to the Kodak Gold range.
Next stop is the historic home of Olveston. Located near the inner city of Dunedin, the large Jacobean style home was built for David Theomin and his family between 1904 and 1907. This is the dining room of the grand house finished in the Polaroid 669 film.
The history of the Polaroid camera is really interesting. So, I might save the details and write more in depth another time. In brief, it was invented in 1943 by American Edwin Land. Initially, a Polaroid photo was created in monochrome but evolved into colour in 1963 when Polacolor was invented. Over the preceding years, many models of the Polaroid were designed and so films for the camera changed accordingly. One of those was the Polaroid 669 which produced a photo print in 8 x 10cm.
Toitu Museum in Ektachrome Infrared
Today my photographic tour of Dunedin using colour film presets stops off at Toitu Early Settlers Museum. While I was there, I took this photo of the train Josephine which started life on the Dunedin-Port Chalmers Railway in 1872. This image is finished with settings that create the Ektachrome Infrared EIR E6 film. When it was manufactured, it was one of the standard colour infrared films of its time which created a dramatic red look in photos. The film, which was made in small batches and was discontinued in 2010 due to declining sales.
This is the legendary Speight’s Brewery in Rattray Street, Central Dunedin. In 1876, James Speight, Charles Greenslade and William Dawson set-up their brewery on this location where it has been based ever since. In 1880, Speight’s won a gold medal at an International Exhibition in Australia which started the brand, Speight’s Gold Medal Ale.
The effect for this photo was recreated for a forgotten film in history called GAF 500. It was a very grainy film from the 1960’s and 1970’s. The GAF company began in 1886 as the Standard Paint Company of New Jersey and after several amalgamations in 1928 they changed their name to General Aniline & Film—GAF for short. In 1967, GAF introduced a revolutionary new 35mm high-ISO film called GAF 500. At the time the GAF 500 was twice as fast as any other film on the market. It was a film that customers either loved or hated.
My journey around Dunedin in film presets brings us to the University of Otago in Agfacolor Neu. I was hoping for a nice bright blue sky, however unfortunately the last few days have been very overcast and grey.
The Agfa company introduced the Agfacolor Neu film in 1936 for both amateur and professional photographers. The Agfacolor film was an early rival to the Kodak company as they competed to become the first to launch a method that would make colour photography with slides easy and cheap to use. Agfa Color Neu was the first commercially successful colour film that was accessible to mass audiences. In 1978, Agfa ceased production of colour film that was based upon the originally designed process used in the Agfacolor film.
Next stop on the tour of Dunedin, seen through early colour film is Tunnel Beach. The hidden beach is an amazingly popular spot for tourists. For this photo I used a preset based on the process called Autochrome. The early colour photography process of Autochrome was introduced by the Lumière brothers Auguste and Louis of France in 1907. In this process a colour image is created by combining microscopic layers of dyed potato starch grains on a glass plate.
And so to Taiaroa Head and the Harington Point Battery gun emplacements on Otago Peninsula. The site was first constructed in response to the threat of a Russian invasion in 1885 following Anglo–Russian tensions in Afghanistan. This led to the building of major fortifications along New Zealand’s coastline which included the Otago Peninsula.
This look was created from a more modern film that is currently available from the CineStill company. Based in Los Angeles and founded in 2012, CineStill sells a range of photographic film, one of which is a product called Redrum 200. Launched in October 2021, Redrum film is a redscale, reverse-rolled exposure base film that produces red, yellow, and orange toned images. Only available in limited edition runs in the 120 Medium format for Halloween, it is only sold in individual rolls and sells out incredibly quickly.
As I move through a photographic tour of Dunedin using colour film presets we come to Larnach Castle. So, I thought I’d show you another image from a Kodacolor preset. Kodacolor was made by the Kodak company, it was introduced in 1942 and was the first colour negative film for making colour prints. Originally, Kodacolor was sold with the cost of processing the film included, prints having to be ordered separately. Colour prints quickly became the amateur and social photographers medium of choice with the prints being stored in photo albums. However, prints that were left out and exposed to light quickly faded. The production of Kodacolor ended in 1963 when it was replaced with Kodacolor-X.