Dawn At The Beach

Dawn at the beach – Buy 

It was a quarter to 7 in the morning and my head was throbbing. The previous evening I’d decided it would be a good idea to get up early and capture the sunrise at the beach. The idea had been sound in theory, however now in the early morning dawn I was starting to have my doubts. My temples had a pulsating sensation which told me I either had an intense hangover or a head cold was coming on. Since I hadn’t been drinking the night before, I deduced it must be a cold. 

After ten to fifteen minutes of taking photos of the sunrise as the dawn broke, I made the decision to go in search of another coffee, hoping it would help.

Dunedin Railway Station

Dunedin Railway Station – Buy 

The other day, I found myself carefully and conscientiously navigating the Dunedin one way system. It was raining, and having left the Otago University area and heading south in my car, it was as I passed the Dunedin Railway Station that I began to ponder. You see, the Dunedin Railway Station is currently undergoing a multi-million dollar upgrade and has been surrounded by scaffolding and covered in white plastic wrap to allow workmen to complete the restoration without being impeded by the weather. So, as I drove past the railway station, I took a moment to look at the covered building and tried to figure out what it used to look like without all the white wrapping paper. Not being able to remember, I went in search of a photo to remind myself. 

Nightmoves In The Exchange

Nightmoves in the Exchange– Buy 

City streets seem so empty when it’s dark and there’s no-one around. I guess that’s what makes them interesting. Street lights like these are great just after it’s rained because the all the surfaces have a shine to them and the light reflect really well. When the streets are empty at night you get all sorts of options for where to shoot from without having to worry to much about being in the way. Then, if you can get something large like a bus streaking through the image the effect is awesome.

St Clair Sunrise

St Clair Sunrise – Buy 

I arrived at St Clair Beach just in time to see the morning light change into a brilliant orange glow that filled the sky. I parked my car and headed along the Esplanade, past the Pier 24 Hotel, The Longdog Cafe and The Saltwater Pool heading for a high bank of ground that looked out to sea and the point of Lawyers Head in the distance. It seemed strange to have the place to myself. Usually, at this time in the morning there were people running and walking before work, but today the only other person I had seen was a dog taking his owner for a walk. I watched them for a few minutes with interest. The dog owner, a man with an extreme lack of enthusiasm, was only matched by the dog’s extreme overexcitement. It was a battle of wills which the dog was winning and impossible to imagine any scenario that would result in the dog calmly returning to the man’s car anytime soon. 

The light continued to change and the day was creeping in. It was that time in the morning when the earth seemed to wake and the streets became busy. It was also time for me to leave.

Rain Clouds Over Second Beach

Rain clouds over Second Beach – Buy 

It had been raining since early the previous morning. I had hoped it would clear but with every passing minute,  it was becoming obvious that the weather had settled in for a long stay. The rain seemed to be passing over in patches that varied between light drizzle and heavy rain. Summing up the situation, I decided that I was going to get wet no matter what I did and with that, I went for a walk on the beach.

Queens Gardens

Queens Gardens – Buy 

I left the Chinese Gardens and headed across the road into Queens Gardens, a triangular garden filled with lawn and surrounded by trees and statues. Sitting close to the city’s Warehouse Precinct, Queens Gardens is a popular place due to its close proximity to the Railway Station, the NZR Bus Depot, The Early Settlers Museum and the wharf. Originally known as The Triangle, at the time of the 1860’s Otago Gold Rush, the many notable buildings that overlook Queens Gardens give an indication of just how wealthy the Otago province was while the rush was in full swing. 

Lan Yuan Lily Pond

Lan Yuan Lily Pond – Buy 

One lunchtime I went for a walk through the Lan Yuan Dunedin Chinese Gardens. The gardens were quiet with the only other visitors being two men playing chess by the tearooms. It really is a tranquil, peaceful and serene place near the Dunedin Railway Station, Queens Gardens and Toitu Otago Early Settlers Museum. The garden is an authentic Chinese Garden that was created with the support of the Shanghai Municipal Government. It is New Zealand’s only authentic Chinese Garden and when it was opened, one of only three outside China.

Dunedin Sunset With Texture

Dunedin sunset with textures – Buy 

There have been some wonderful sunrises in Dunedin lately and even better sunsets. At the moment, here in Dunedin, as we move through autumn and slowly approach winter, the sun has been setting at 5:30pm. Meaning, the long summer evenings are definitely gone and the chilly winter nights aren’t far away. However, recently the evenings here have been still and warm, resulting in some lovely sunsets.

The Beautiful Colours Of Blackhead Beach

The Beautiful Colours Of Blackhead Beach – Buy 

Given the nature of what a stunning autumn day it was, and with the winter months looming on the horizon, I wasn’t sure how many more I would see. So, I ended up on the south coast of Dunedin at Blackhead Beach. The day was still, full of colour and the beach was filled with people making the most of the warm, summer-like afternoon.

Twilight On John Wilson Drive

Twilight On John Wilson Drive – Buy 

It’d been one of those summer days that started off fine and only gets warmer as the day unfolds.  Then, once the sun goes down the heat from the day stretches into the evening, lasting long after the sun has set. The wonderful thing about summer evenings like this is that you can walk late into the twilight as the light hangs round.

The Cliffs

The Cliffs – Buy 

I drove to Cargills Castle on the cliffs above St Clair. Well, to be precise, I drove to the area that Cargills Castle is located in and walked around the neighbourhood looking for a good view of the historic building. That’s because the house is now completely surrounded by suburban homes. To get to the building you need to trespass across multiple driveways and properties, something the neighbourhood is clearly sick of as the whole suburb is filled with signs like ‘Private Driveway’, ‘No Trespassing – Private Property’ and ‘Private Property – Keep out!’ The Castle is actually nothing like a castle, is more of a stately home that has fallen into ruin through years of neglect. In the mid 1990’s the building was so derelict that the ballroom was demolished and the rest would have followed suit if the Cargill’s Castle Trust had not been formed and bought the building for $180,000.

Stormwater Outlet At Second Beach

Stormwater outlet at Second Beach – Buy 

Second Beach was covered with the usual accompaniment of small boulders, countless amounts of seaweed and washed up driftwood. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t  enjoy a visit there. Made up completely of rock, the beach is nearly impossible to walk on since your feet sink with each step as years of consistent wave movement have created great drifts of raggedly oval stones worn to a polished smoothness. At the same time, the sea crashes into the shore creating a seemingly endless musical score of stones clattering on the shoreline while the air is filled with the smell of seaweed and spray from saltwater. It has tidal rock pools, unstable cliffs, disused quarry structures that are nearly eighty years old and occasionally you’ll see Sea Lions or Fur Seals basking on the shoreline. It’s one of the most glorious places in Dunedin.

Fenceline at Karetai

Fenceline at Karetai – Buy 

One of my favourite places on the Otago Peninsula (and there are many of them), is the Karetai Track. Once a short 2 kilometre dirt road that links Smails Beach to Karetai Road, it’s now a walking track that provides outstanding views along the Otago coastline. It has old stone walls, wildlife, farm machinery, sheer cliffs and great photo opportunities that all combine for a wonderful outing. One that I enjoyed immensely.

St Paul’s Cathedral

St Paul’s Cathedral – Buy 

Standing on the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral, looking out over the Octagon several thoughts occurred to me in a very random, scattered sort of way. 

I stood facing the main entrance, my thoughts marveling at how Cathedral’s such as the one in front of me were built. If the task was left to me (despite that being a mass mistake) I wouldn’t know where to begin, let alone successfully designing and constructing a grand vaulted ceiling made of stone. 

Turning to see the city, standing on the steps of the Cathedral looking out towards the harbour, it occurred to me what a glorious outlook it once would have been. Not that it’s a bad view now, but with a few less buildings and tall trees the view would have been superb.

My thoughts then focused on the stone steps that lead up to the main entrance and how many famous people and events had walked the same path. It’s no wonder Cathedrals were often considered the heart of a city I thought to myself.

Dunedin Public Library

Dunedin Public Library – Buy 

At first glance the low cloud that was covering the city in the morning looked like it could clear. However, several hours later it was apparent that the gray rain clouds weren’t going to move anywhere soon, so with that, I decided a trip to the library was in order. Also, just like the large pile of books by the front door, somewhat overdue! 

When I got to the library car park it was hard not to notice a 2017 Suzki Swift that seemed to be having a little trouble with steering, reversing, braking, finding the accelerator, doing three point turns and generally not blocking traffic! Parking with caution, I took some time to admire one of the many scaffolding features that seem to be a permanent feature of the inner city before heading for the depth of the library.

Don’t Forget The Stones!

Sunrise At Blueskin Bay – Buy 

Recently, on one of the pages in my notebook I found a scrawled and scrambled note that read “don’t forget the stones – 01.06.18”. Just what that meant, I didn’t have the faintest idea! The fact it was written in one of my notebooks led me to believe that it must have something to do with a photo location but what, I couldn’t imagine. 

Upon further investigation into my digital archives, I discovered that the only place I visited that day was Blueskin Bay at sunrise. However, just what “don’t forget the stones” meant, I hadn’t the foggiest idea! Maybe, that morning I’d drank too much coffee and wired on caffeine I’d been listening to The Rolling Stones. Or, it could have been a warning to myself to stay away from dangerous boulders on the shoreline. Either way, somehow it linked to this photo, however I haven’t a clue why!

Lan Yuan Chinese Gardens

Lan Yuan Chinese Garden – Buy 

When I started out for the day, it wasn’t my plan to visit the Lan Yuan Chinese Garden in the center of Dunedin, however I was rather glad I did. Earlier in the day, I had spent a few hours in a local art gallery staring at paintings and pretending I knew what the meaning in them was. Once I’d made my way around the gallery, I left and followed a street art trail that took me through the city streets and ended near the Lan Yuan Gardens. Noticing the gardens were open, and with no other plans, I decided to go in for a look.

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!

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.