Tobins Track In Autumn

Tobins Track in autumn

Before I change direction away from autumn, I thought I’d show you a few more images that haven’t been posted on my daily photo blog. This is one I took on my Arrowtown trip while wandering the autumnal Arrowtown paths (Tobins Track) near the river and Chinese Village. It really is a colour overload at times. By the time you leave the path and head back towards the town, your eyes take a few seconds to adjust from seeing colours apart from yellow, orange and the occasional red! Is that what colour theory is?   

Former Police Cottage In Arowtown.

Butlers Green and the former Police cottage

On my last morning in Arrowtown I went for a stroll along the Arrow River Bridges Trail which on my way back, linked onto Tobins Track. A trail that gently ambles its way alongside the Arrow River. When the town came into view, I made my way up onto the Village Green before headlong on Buckingham Street. From there, I took in the view that looks out over Butlers Green to the Chinese Village and the Arrow River. From that vantage point hidden amongst the trees is a former Police Cottage. Built in 1863, the old Police hut is the oldest surviving wooden building in Arrowtown and originally located in Cardigan Street, it formed part of the Arrowtown Police Camp during the gold rush.

Jubilee Park

Jubilee Park

Thanks to a mostly empty calendar, I had several weeks at my disposal, in a fictitious kind of way. The only thing I really had to do was stay close to home in Dunedin, so as long as I didn’t go on any long overnight expeditions the time was my own. I could do anything I liked, within reason.

I decided, quite randomly, to start with a walk through Jubilee Park in the city’s town belt. This was something I had been meaning to do for a while. I’d also been wondering for some time if Queen Victoria knew she had a park named after her in Dunedin? Further to this, I wondered if there’s an official royal list that identifies every world park, estate, playground, garden and forest that is named after a royal? I’m sure that if Queen Victoria knew that Jubilee Park was named after her, she would have been quite delighted. Anyway, Dunedin’s Jubilee Park was once known as Tomlinson’s Paddock before it was renamed Jubilee Park after Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887. It was here that I spent a lovely morning happily wandering the various paths that twisted and turned through the bush that makes up a section of the city’s town belt. 

The route I took made its way from the car park, through a dense line of trees that circumferenced a football ground. The bank on one side was high and steep with a heavy line of trees that sloped up to the sports field, while the other side quickly slipped down to a nearby road. As the path led further into the bush, the canopy of trees widened and grew thick. Occasionally it would split, leaving me with a choice of going left or right. Sometimes the light would drop, hidden by the thick foliage. Other times the sunlight would stream through the trees and bounce off the autumn vegetation. 

The path drew to a junction where three of four different paths met and the fallen leaves had overtaken the forest floor. Surveying my options, I could either head down the hill toward a path I hadn’t yet explored, or follow the path I was on to the top of the hill, back to the sports ground and eventually my car. I stood and looked at my surroundings, from time to time leaves would fall and land both on me and near me. At this moment, I realised I wasn’t quite ready to be back at my car just yet, so I headed down hill. The next hour or so was spent in this manner. Walking paths I hadn’t walked in a very long time, criss-crossing my way around Jubilee Park and the nearby town belt in the glistening afternoon sun.

Jackson’s Inlet, Lake Dunstan

Jackson’s Inlet, Lake Dunstan

At about the time in my podcast that Ms Patterson (The Mushroom Cook) was discovering that the Australian police were a little suspicious about her actions and that she would be facing charges of both murder and attempted murder, I was coming into view of Lake Dunstan. This was at Bruce Jackson Point, above where the old Cromwell township used to be, before the lake was formed. As I continued along State Highway 8, I now had the lake for company out of the right hand window, and a truly lovely scene it was. I rounded a bend and was greeted by a serene view of the lake. It was placid and tranquil as the mid-morning sun took over the surrounding hills that once formed the Cromwell Gorge. Not being able to resist, I called in to a picnic area at Jackson’s Inlet for a closer look. 

When I arrived an elderly couple were just packing up a picnic that they had been having under a row of Poplar trees. The trees were covered in golden leaves, glowing in the mid-morning air and not a breath of wind was out on the lake. It looked rather pleasant and somewhat idyllic. Standing on the shoreline, looking out to my picturesque and blissful surroundings, I found myself for the second time that morning tempted to start negotiating a time of departure. Alas, aware that I had a prior appointment to get to in Dunedin, I went back to my car and rejoined the line of traffic that was snaking its way past Lake Dunstan to Clyde and further on Alexandra. 


Autumn in Arrowtown

The next morning I decided to start the day with a stroll through some autumn leaves. It was one of those cool, clear autumnal mornings where everything was covered in dew. I noted that before too long, on mornings like these a heavy frost would have settled over night. It was clear that winter was approaching so, I was pleased to be able to enjoy my surroundings as I walked along the banks of the Arrow River. Eventually, after a number of scenic distractions, I pointed myself towards my intended target. The historic Chinese Village in Arrowtown. 

In 1865, when the initial Otago Gold rush had settled, many of the miners ventured to other gold fields. Such as on the West Coast of the South Island. So, the Dunedin Chamber of Commerce decided that they wanted to keep the economy going. To do this they invited Chinese miners to the region. For many of the invited miners, the plan was to send large amounts of money home before returning themselves in a few years. So it was that by the mid-1860’s the first of the recruited Chinese miners reached the goldfields in Otago. When they arrived, they discovered they were not allowed to have claims of their own, instead being granted permission to pickover the claims European miners had abandoned. By 1876, around 4000 male Chinese could be found on the goldfields. Spread over a number of locations throughout Central Otago, one of these locations was Arrowtown. It’s a sad tale really, as many of the miners never made anywhere near enough money to send home. In fact, many of them never made it home. Penniless and persecuted by many of the Europeans, a large number of those invited to the Otago goldfields died, never seeing their families again. 

The last time I visited the Chinese Village in autumn, everywhere was covered in a blanket of colour. An autumn palette of orange, red and ochre had taken over and there was something very tranquil and surreal about the whole scene. I was very much looking forward to seeing it once again. When the Chinese miners first arrived at the gold fields to work claims that had been abandoned, they weren’t allowed to settle in the main part of the village. Instead they set up homes and market gardens on the outskirts of the town beside the river. Not more than a 5 minute walk from the town’s main street, the Chinese Village and associated tracks beside the river used to be separated by a number of paths that twisted and turned through the trees and past streams until you reached the main car park. From there, the main shopping area was a short walk past buses and vehicles of various sizes circling the town looking for a parking spot. 

In my walk to the Chinese Village, I discovered that In recent years, to solve this problem and to provide enough parking spaces for the overflow of traffic that arrives each day, the main car park has been extended towards the river. This now means there is no separation between the carpark and the scenic vistas that people have come to see. So, while there is ample room for all the daily traffic, it also means you can step straight out of your vehicle and onto a walking track. You can stroll by the Arrow River or stand by landmarks of national significance while a campervan parks right beside you or you can watch families disembark from their SUVs as the kids squabble over who’s turn it is with the iphone! There really is nothing like having a gleaming white SUV as a backdrop for a piece of 1870’s history. Feeling a little disappointed that some of the tranquillity had been lost, I meandered back through the car park and went in search of a bakery for some morning sustenance. 

A short time later, I found myself standing in a short but busy line making a careful selection from the menu on the wall behind the counter. When at last my turn came, I approached the counter and said “good morning” in the friendliest voice I could muster, while realising this was the first person I had spoken to in 12 hours! “How can I help?” came a direct yet short tone that suggested urgency and speed was paramount. Placing my order at speed that I hoped would satisfy the lady standing behind the counter, paid and waited for the transaction to complete. I waited and waited and waited as the machine whirled. I waited and waited and waited yet the machine didn’t seem to want me to leave. As I continued to wait, I could feel the unease and grumblings of the customers behind me that were being held up. I could sense their frustration and annoyance at this idiot at the front of the line as the machine continued to whirl. Just as I was considering cancelling the order (out of embarrassment as much as anything else), the machine announced ‘approved.’

Feeling a sense of relief and having held up a line that was now snaking out the door, I collected my things, apologised to everyone and scurried out onto the street hanging my head in shame! Clutching a fresh cup of coffee and a Cinnamon Scroll, I headed to my car with a mind to enjoy the fresh morning air of Lake Hayes, and that’s where I headed next.

Autumn On The Otago Peninsula

The Otago Peninsula 

As I was standing looking out to the South Pacific Ocean, it occurred to me that autumn was most definitely taking hold. The warm evenings of summer had disappeared, only to be replaced by changeable weather patterns that not only brought with it cooler temperatures but also more frequent spells of wind and rain. I continued along the track, pausing for a moment to look out over a farm field that stretched down a slope and eventually stopped where the horizon met the ocean. I had the place all to myself and it was threatening to rain.

Arrowtown’s Historic Miners’ Cottages

Arrowtown’s European miners’ cottages

Having spent the afternoon photographing a local rugby match at Jack Reid Park in Arrowtown, I retired to my hotel where I showered and changed, reorganised my gear and went in search of a local pub. Several minutes later, I found a local establishment that I decided needed further investigation. I went inside, went about making myself comfortable and invested some time in testing several pints of beer while at the same time demolishing a pulled pork burger and successfully managing to drip BBQ sauce down my top. It was while I was contemplating whether I should attempt to clean my top or test another pint when the bar staff made the surprising announcement of last orders!  Wondering if I had missed something I checked my watch to find it was all of 9:05pm. Still trying to make sense of the fact that the pub was shutting at 9:00pm on a Saturday night, several minutes later I found myself standing on Buckingham Street with half an hour to kill before the Highlanders game kicked off. So, with four pints to the wind, a full stomach and the night air starting to feel a little crisp, I decided I might as well put the time to good use and headed in a mostly straight line in search of some historic gold miners’ cottages to see if I could drink and click!

Jack Reid Park

Arrowtown v Wakatipu (13.04.24)Jack Reid Park in Arrowtown

The other day I was in Arrowtown to cover a local rugby match between Arrowtown and Wakatipu that was being played at Jack Reid Park. These aren’t two heavyweights of New Zealand rugby you’ll understand, simply two local teams that have a fierce rivalry. Whenever they play it’s called “the battle of the basin” and it always draws a big crowd and Saturday’s match was no exception. For the record, Wakatipu won 27 to 19 with low misty rain and clouds hanging around for most of the day. However, late in the match the cloud cover did clear enough for the hillside which provides the backdrop to Jack Reid Park to be exposed with all its autumn glory. As far as backgrounds go there aren’t many rugby grounds in the world that can top Jack Reid Park in autumn.

Welcome To Autumn

Autumn in Dunedin

Here in this part of the world it’s that lovely time of year when all the colours of trees start to change. The sun is now a fraction lower in the sky, the mornings and evenings are becoming a tad colder with a definite autumnal feel to the start of each day. Around the city, the autumn colour palette of warm yellow undertones mixed with oranges, reds, ochre and olive colours is starting to appear. Before long the inner city will be covered in leaves.

Moody Morning In Dunedin

Corner of Moray Place and Princes Street

The previous evening a wonderful and very impressive thunder storm passed over the city. At some point it was accompanied with heavy rain and a great deal of wind. The next morning, while the thunder and lightning had passed, a set of heavy, dark clouds was left hanging over the city. The forecast for the day involved an awful lot of wind, more rain and a high of 10 or 11 degrees. Perfect conditions for those heading to the Pink concert that evening.

Arrowtown Autumn Colour

Arrowtown autumn colour – Buy 

It was a sunny May day, yet at this time of year in Central Otago, the warmth that the sun brings can be fleeting. Winter was just around the corner and in the small town of Arrowtown, pockets of autumn colour were still visible. Fairly shortly the area would start to take on a distinctly winter feel however, for now I decided to enjoy the last of the autumn leaves.

Autumn Reflection At Lakes Hayes

Autumn reflection at Lakes Hayes – Buy 

What a tranquil place Lake Hayes is. For the life of me, I can’t recall ever seeing it anything but placid and serene. Even when the weather has been miserable, all around the lake manages to remain reposeful. I’ve seen it when it’s windy, when it’s raining, when it’s hailing and snowing. I’ve seen it in the morning and the evening, at dawn and at dusk yet it really is quite remarkable how untroubled it always seems. I wonder why that is!

Autumn In Roxburgh

Autumn In Roxburgh – Buy 

Isn’t it hard not to like autumn? There are so many reasons why it is just a wonderful season, the least of which is seeing the colour change on the trees throughout the month. There’s something lovely about walking through a city or town as leaves full of colour fall all around you. It’s a very poetic feeling, particularly when it’s one of those still, slightly overcast autumnal days.

Lunch In Arrowtown

Arrowtown – Buy 

I had lunch just as the day in Arrowtown was starting to collect itself. The morning had started with subzero temperatures creating a thick layer of frost over the town and virtually everything in it. Now, several hours later with the sky a clear and brilliant blue and the sun being a welcome source of warmth, I found myself in a delightful cafe having brunch. Actually, I wasn’t as much in the cafe as I was outside in the garden, which was equally as delightful and rather splendid as the sun took hold. 

Earlier that morning having been for a walk in the cool morning air, I decided to see what Trip Advisor was advising regarding the local eating establishments while the town defrosted. So, after some toing and froing and a rather lengthy period of indecisiveness, I decided to make my way to a place called Provisions of Arrowtown. There, I found my way to a table in the lovely garden and enjoyed a splendid brunch surrounded by a wonderfully restored cottage that dated back to the 1870’s and the Arrowtown goldrush era. 

Having no immediate plans for the rest of the day, apart from vacating my table which was clearly wanted by a number of hungry visitors, I decided to ponder what to do next as I walked the town streets

View From Lawyer’s Head

View From Lawyer’s Head Buy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

At first glance it seemed rather windy, which turned out to be wrong. It was actually extremely windy and for the life of me I could work out why I was there! The only reason I stayed in my position among the long grass, sheltering from the wind, was because having walked there it seemed a bit pointless to leave without taking a photo.

Matanaka Farm Buildings

Matanaka Farm BuildingsBuy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

I returned to Matanaka for no reason other than curiosity got the better of me. I had been driving through the township of Waikouaiti, when I suddenly found myself turning off the main highway and passing by farm fields, a golf course, a horse racing track and a beach before arriving at the Matanaka visitors car park. After a short stroll along a fence line, through a group of eucalyptus trees and passing some very unfriendly looking sheep my destination appeared in front of me. That being a group of farm buildings that is thought to be New Zealand’s oldest surviving farm. 

The oddest thing about the farm buildings that remain at the Matanaka farm is that they are there at all. Considering original owner Johnny Jones could have chosen anyway for his farm in 1838, it’s curious that he chose such an isolated and exposed place.

In Memory of Johnny Jones

The Grave of Johnny Jones Buy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

If ever there was a person in Otago history who was both legendary yet controversial, then pioneer Johnny Jones must be a strong candidate. First coming to the Otago shores for whaling in the 1820’s and by the time the Scottish settlers arrived in the 1840’s he had already built himself a miniature colony at Waikouaiti. The hills and valleys were dotted with sheep and cattle; orchards were planted and crops of vegetables and grain were harvested. When the first settlers from Scotland arrived in Port Chalmers in March, 1848, he was able to provide them with much of their foodstuffs. 

However, controversially after negotiations with tangata whenua such as notable South Island chief Tuhawaiki, the paramount chief of the Kai Tahu tribe, Jones purchased the entire South Island. However, this ambitious land purchase was halted by the British Crown following the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840.

The Cliffs

The CliffsBuy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

‘The Cliffs’ or Cargill’s Castle as it is otherwise known was built between 1875 and 1877 costing approximately £14,000. The original building had 21 rooms and was one of the first buildings in New Zealand of the Italianate architectural style. Despite claims that the concrete construction would make the building fireproof, a large fire gutted the interior of the house. The fire started in an outhouse and spread to the main building through a connecting wooden beam and destroyed the original lavish interior woodwork.

Silver Stream In Autumn

Silver Stream Valley RoadBuy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

I had decided that a stroll around Whare Flat and the Silver Stream walking tracks was in order before autumn gave way to winter. The afternoon was spent wandering through bush that was quiet, peaceful and warm in the sun. However, by the time I arrived back to the carpark, the sun had dropped and long, cool, shadows from the surrounding hills were starting to take over.

The Farmers Market & The Chef

The Chef Buy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

The thing about this photo is that I took it several years ago at the Dunedin Farmers Market and I’m not sure I’ve been back since! A few days back, I posted a photo of a busker with the thought that I should get more photos of people, which in turn reminded me of this image. It might be time I revisited the Market to see if I can find any interesting faces.

The Taieri River

The Taieri River Buy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

Consider the Taieri River. In a land littered with scenic beauty it sits somewhat forgotten, yet as far as rivers go, only three in Aotearoa are longer! 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.

Otago Museum Hues

Otago Museum Hues Buy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

As I was standing outside the Otago Museum, my attention was drawn upwards. This was due to the large number of birds that had been circling. Scientifically, birds circle to take advantage of weather thermals. However, I had suspicions. I have long held the belief that one day the birds will secretly forming a mass gathering which will eventually dive bomb me, leaving me pecked to death like the Australian lady from Adelaide who was attacked by a rooster several years ago.

The attack occurred while the 76 year old lady she was out collecting the eggs on her rural property when suddenly an overly aggressive rooster launched at her leg. The agressive pecking from the rooster accidently punctured a varicose vein causing a hemorrhage which eventually lead her to collapsing and later dying. Ever since I read about the poor lady from Adelaide I have been cautious about birds forming protest rallies in the skies above me. Fortunately, the gathering mob of beak and feathers didn’t view me as a target, instead they moved off as quickly as they arrived, leaving me to enjoy the autumn colours in relative safety.

8 Vogel Street – By Jon Thom.

Summer In Dunedin Buy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

Whenever I have a bit of spare time on my hands, I find myself wandering the city streets of Dunedin. At the moment they are filled with leaves as the autumn transformation has gone from a city filled with colour, to the trees starting to look a little bare. A common location for these strolls is the Warehouse Precinct and Queens Garden’s, which is where you’ll find this major urban mural by Dunedin artist Jon Thom.

True It Is, When The Rain Stops.

True it is, when the rain stops.True it is, when the rain stops. Buy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

I don’t have many shots of Dunedin at night as I would like and I always think I should get more but I never seem to. I always think I should put some time aside to get more images like this which is more of a cityscape than a landscape. It had just stopped raining which made the city lights glow, shine and bounce off all the wet surfaces .

St Clair Seawall

St Clair Seawall Buy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

Below both the St Clair Shark Bell and Heated Salt Water Pool is the St Clair seawall. It stretches from the Surfing Living club along to the point where the heated pool is. In between you’ll find a surf club, park, restaurants, shops and numerous bars. In front of these sits the seawall, a barrier stopping the power and ferocity of the ocean reaching the suburbs behind. If there’s one consistency with the sea wall, it’s that coastal erosion and damage caused by the sea have long been a problem, dating back to the early 1870’s when the first wall was constructed. Since then, the constructions that the seawall has undergone have been almost countless yet the only consistency has been the rhythmic coming and going of the tide.

St Clair Baths

St Clair Baths Buy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

Further along the Esplanade from the Shark Bell is the St Clair Salt Water Pool. First dug out by the Caversham Council in 1883, the baths proved so popular with school children and families, the pool was enlarged and officially opened by the mayor the following year. As the pool continued to grow in popularity, a few years later a petition was presented to have the baths enlarged and to provide better facilities for females. Following this petition a discussion group was formed, and after looking into the requirements for men and women (who had to bathe separately) two options were suggested. One, restricting women’s bathing hours, or two, ladies bathing in a different place. The ladies of course weren’t forced to move to a different location, however decency laws meant that men and women had to use the baths at separate times. Over the next 100 years, the pool was lengthened, deepened, concrete was added, it was repaired, facilities added, facilities were upgraded, heating was added and men, women and children were all allowed to use the pool at the same time. Today the pool is an iconic feature of Dunedin and the Esplanade which is opened yearly from October to March. 

To think, it all started from a hole in the ground.