St Clair Beach At Sunrise

St Clair Beach at Sunrise

The beach was still and calm as I looked out over the ocean. The sky was an exquisite blend of deep blues and purples, with streaks of orange and yellow near the horizon where the sun was first appearing. The reflections of the colourful sky on the wet sand created a mesmerising effect. To my left were stairs that led up to the Esplanade, illuminated by the warm glow of the morning light. In the distance, lights started to appear as people awoke, adding to the tranquil and picturesque scene.

Dunedin’s Tomahawk Beach

Tomahawk Beach In Dunedin 

When it comes to beaches, I seem to forget about Dunedin’s Tomahawk Beach. Maybe the reason is that it’s so close to home? I’m really not sure! It’s actually a lovely beach to walk along, when the weather is fine of course. Due to its location it can get a tiny bit windy however, on a fine day it’s a lovely walk. If you get your timing right, at low tide once you reach the end of the beach you can even continue around the point to Smaills Beach. Additionally, in 2018 Tomahawk Beach was used as a location for a British bank advertisement. It featured 20 black horses galloping along the beach in a commercial for Lloyds Bank which was called The Running of the Horses. Just how a British bank ended up filming on Tomahawk Beach is really quiet mind boggling. 

Hotel St Clair & Tītī Restaurant

Hotel St Clair & Tītī Restaurant

Without any real intention or set purpose, I returned to the Esplanade at St Clair. I’d been there only a few days earlier, only this time was different. On the previous occasion, I’d spent a glorious afternoon exploring the rock pools surrounding the St Clair Salt Water Pool at low tide. This time however, for reasons I wasn’t sure about and with no-set agenda, I needed to walk. Now, sitting in my car, I waited a few moments for a light rain shower to pass before strolling along the beachfront. I passed both the St Clair Surf Lifesaving club and the statue of ‘Mum’ (a famous local Sea Lion) and looked out beyond rows of sand sausages – massive long tubes made of mesh, filled with sand and put in place to help slow coastal erosion. I watched the incoming tide for a few minutes, turned and headed for the far opposite end of the Esplanade. The whole area was quiet in the fading light as the street lights started to take hold. Reaching the end of the Esplanade by the Salt Water Pool, I paused beside a cafe that must have closed several hours ago. Once again I stood and watched the tide roll in, breaking against the rocks before receding out into the backwash. Every so often patches of sand became exposed, revealing leftover seaweed and driftwood that would shift and move with the tide. I took a moment to look out across the ocean. As the light had continued to fade, the sea had taken on a moody grey-blue complexion. Suddenly to my left the lights of the Hotel St Clair came on and drew my attention back to the Esplanade. In the blue hour of evening, I walked in the salty sea air as darkness held. The lights from the hotel reflected off the road’s glossy surface, created from light misty rain that had recently passed through. The glow of the lights from the hotel revealed a cleaning crew packing up from the day while the restaurant was just starting to become busy. Occasionally, a passing vehicle would slowly pass along couples holding hands, walking in the calm and quiet night air.


Aramoana view.

To get to this vantage point its a bit of a hike. Not difficult, just awkward more than anything else. That’s because I had to slog my way uphill through dense sand dunes that were heavily overgrown. The problem that created was that I couldn’t always see where I was stepping. However, the uphill struggle was worth the effort because the views from the small rocky ledge were very rewarding.

Stewart Island/Rakiura

Bathing Beach Inlet on Stewart Island

Geographically, Stewart Island/Rakiura is the forgotten child of New Zealand. It is to New Zealand, what Alexander Hamilton is to American Politics. Everyone knows it’s there, and they know it’s kind of important but not really sure why! Ask anyone from either the North or South Island of New Zealand and they’ll most assuredly tell you it’s a wonderful place, yet ask them if they’ve actually set foot on it and you’ll most likely get an embarrassed shake of the head. Well, I can tell you that it’s a terrific spot with sheltered inlets, forested hills, rugged coasts, dunes, inlets and that’s only the start of its remarkable landscapes. It has a long history of Māori habitation, sealers and whalers lived there from around 1800 and its social history is as interesting as any other part of New Zealand. It truly is a most delightful place!

St Clair Sea Wall In Orange & Teal

St Clair Esplanade

Feeling in a bit of a creative mood, I decided to have a little bit of fun with this photo I took of the sea wall at the St Clair Esplanade. Starting in Lightroom, I gave it an orange and teal feel before exporting it to photoshop. At that point I hit it with a kind of black and white-bleach effect that I washed over the top before finishing it with some old school scratches for a bit of texture. Of course, it took a lot longer to do than I’m making it sound but you get the idea. I hope!

Channeling Ansel Adams

Blackhead Beach in black and white.

A few weeks ago I spent the afternoon at Blackhead Beach. While most of my time was taken up with stumbling over stones and splashing through rock pools, I did find time to admire the local Sea Lions that were playing close by. I also spent time photographing the scenery, which is when I felt the inspiration to take a black and white photo or two. So, channelling the great American landscape photographer Ansel Adams, I switched modes on my trusty camera to black and white and set to work attempting to control the contrast between highlights and shadows.

Rockpools & Seaweed

Blackhead Rockpools

I ended up spending a delightful afternoon wading in rock pools at Blackhead Beach, just south of Dunedin. It was one of those warm, still, late summer days that reminded me with autumn on the horizon, days like this will be less and less common. So it was, I spent a few hours stumbling over stones and sploshing through rock pools as seaweed gently drifted on the tide. I have to admit, there’s something delightfully delicious about wading through rock pools in your bare feet on a warm afternoon.