Street Art By Phlegm

Street Art by UK artist Phlegm

The Dunedin street art scene kicked off in around 2014 when local and international artists were invited to add colour to some of the city walls. Since then, murals have appeared all over the city. It’s really not hard to come across street art in Dunedin. One of the earlier pieces was this one by Welsh-born Sheffield-based muralist and artist Phlegm that can be found on Vogel Street on the exterior wall of Vogel Street Kitchen. 

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.

School of Dentistry

School of Dentistry

The other day I was feeling a bit creatively uninspired. So, to spark my thinking I spent some time reading a bit of poetry by William Blake before going for a walk listening to Blues musicians such as Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf,  BB King, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Blind Willie Johnson and Robert Johnson to name a few. At some point on my walk I passed the University School of Dentistry which I decided looked interesting in Black & White.

Otago University Library

Otago University Library

I found my way to the Otago University Library. Mainly because it was raining and I was wanting to wander around somewhere interesting. The rain had started while I was walking down Dunedin’s Castle Street and by the time I was approaching the Otago University, it was getting responsibly hard. Needing to find some shelter, I ducked into the Otago University Library where I figured I might as well see what creative angles I could find. 

The Dunedin Railway Station

The Dunedin Railway Station

Leaving the Octagon in central Dunedin, I walked along lower Stuart Street before arriving at Dunedin Railway Station. A grand masterpiece of a building that really is magnificent in its splendour. Looking out across ANZAC Square, I couldn’t help but imagine what a hive of activity the place must have been when the station was the busiest in the country. At one time up to 100 trains a day used to arrive at the various platforms which included services from Mosgiel, Port Chalmers, Palmerston, Oamaru, Central Otago, Christchurch, Gore and Invercargill.

The Great Irish Hunger

The Irish Famine Sculptures of Dublin

This is another unpublished photo I came across. While in Dublin, I was walking alongside the River Liffey in the city’s Docklands on Custom House Quay. It was then that I came across the Irish Famine statues. An event that had a profound effect on Ireland and the worldwide Irish Community. There are a great many stories of the Great Irish Famine (1845-1849), many of which are hard to read due to the level of suffering that was involved.

One story is that of Rodger Cantwell and his family who survived the Irish famine that began in 1845. At the age of 30, living and working as farm laborer on the estate of Englisman George Fawcett in Toomevara, Tipperary, he and his wife Mary had come to rely on the potato as their main source of sustenance.

On a bleak October morning in 1845, after a prolonged period of heavy rain, he awoke to find a dense blue fog had settled over his fields. The air filled with the scent of decay. He was soon to discover, like his many neighbors, that his entire potato crop had been destroyed. For Rodger and his wife, the next few years were miserable. Often hungry, underweight and in ill health, the Indian corn and maize provided by the English as relief only managed to cause abdominal pain and diarrhea. To make matters worse, while the Irish farmers were starving, food exports to England that included oats, bacon, eggs, butter and beef continued. Eventually, many Irish farm laborers were dislodged from their homes by English landlords who hired crews to destroy their lodgings. Overnight, families found themselves starving and homeless. For people like Mary and Rodger, they joined the many waves of migrants fleeing starvation by immigrating overseas to places like America. 

Rodger and Mary Cantwell went on to settle in Rochester, New York before shifting to Milwaukee where they raised a family. Rodger eventually passed away at the age of 55 in 1870 while his wife Mary lived to the age 76. 

Following the Irish famine, between 1845 and 1855, the population of 8.2 million was reduced by one-third with 1 million dying of starvation and disease. Another 2 million emigrated to other countries. The Famine statues on Custom House Quay, are a somber and poignant commemoration of one of the most profound disasters in Irish history.

Daniel of Dublin

Daniel of Dublin

Amongst the jigsaw puzzle streets of Dublin that twist and turn across the city, you’ll find St Stephen’s Green. Within St Stephen’s Green, I found a man called Daniel. The few items that he was carrying with him were carefully placed on a park bench while he chatted to anyone who would stop by to talk. He was polite and friendly and spoke in a gravelly tone that told of a less than comfortable life on the streets of Dublin. He spoke of having many favourite spots in the city centre but this spot was by far his favourite. Manly because of how peaceful it is and the calmness of the place. Then just as he spoke they arrived, pigeons. Lots and lots of pigeons. 

It turns out that Daniel works for one of the homeless shelters in Dublin. Collecting money and donations, along with doing other ‘odds and ends’ that need to be done. But, what he really likes to do is feed the pigeons. As he threw seed out for them and gently poured it into the hands of strangers who stopped, the pigeons were quick to find the food source. In an instant, three to five pigeons were on heads, shoulders and arms, gently pecking. Suddenly, as quickly as they had arrived they were off into the sky. They swooped in a massive loop before landing in exactly the same spot and continuing their hunt for food.

Only then in the peace and beauty in Dublin’s St Stephen’s Green did he ask for a small donation.

The Town Belt At Night

City & Silgo Walkway

It’s fair to say that at the moment, here in Dunedin the mornings aren’t exactly tropical! In fact, they’re simply cold! Fortunately the rain passed through overnight, however the wind that has been present since Friday remains. On this occasion, for some silly reason I decided to go for a walk, I left my car near Sligo Terrace in the Town Belt and made my way in the wind along Scarba Street before turning on Leven and Ross Streets. From there and with the wind at my back, it was a short downhill canter before joining the walkway heading back up City Road to Sligo Terrace. Along the way I took several photos, one of which is featured today. Note to self, wear gloves next time!

In The Depths Of Morning

Braid Road

There’s a strange time of morning at the end of autumn and the beginning of winter when it’s not quite light, yet not completely dark. It’s a curious time of day, the depths of morning. This is a time where shadows creep and the night lingers on paths that seem twisted with form. The wind whispers, dark corners betray our thoughts yet light seems to have a friendly, welcoming glow.


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.

Otago Harbour At Dawn

Otago Harbour – Buy 

How I like still, clear and undisturbed water on a tranquil morning. There’s something rather soothing about looking out across a lake, harbour or ocean that is as calm as a mill pond. It’s a very positive feeling. It makes me think that today everything is going to be ok, the sun will shine and it’ll only get better from this point. 

The Octagon

The Octagon 

On one occasion, I ventured into the city centre early one morning before everything became ‘used’ for the day. My altera motive was to see the Octagon, the scene of a recent unexpected set of circumstances.  An out-of-control truck and trailer had taken a scenic detour down Stuart Street and through the central Octagon several days earlier, narrowly avoiding the famed Robbie Burns statue before crashing through a covered walkway and decorating the whole area with a lovely assortment of wood chips. In celebration, a wide variety of orange road cones had been placed all around the unplanned route the truck had taken through the city centre, giving the whole place a scattered look.

Archibald Baxter Peace Garden

Archibald Baxter Peace Garden

So each day, without much planning I did things I hadn’t done in a long time. I strolled through parks and public gardens. I explored alleyways and lanes that detoured off empty back streets. I went to museums, exhibitions, and art galleries that I saw advertised on flyers hanging to lamp posts. I sat in Maggie’s cafe drinking coffee while watching people walk past. I went on self-guided heritage walks and admired forgotten pieces of architecture. I ambled around looking approvingly at pieces of street-art on the side of buildings. I sat in the Archibald Baxter Peace Garden that honours all New Zealand’s conscientious and quietly watched the world go by. I took the time to read plaques on footpaths that mark spots of historical significance. I even read all the plaques in the upper Octagon that make up the Dunedin Writers’ Walk as part of the UNESCO City of Literature.

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.

The Meridian Mall

The Meridian’s glass dome.

To get this angle of the glass dome in the Meridian Mall in Dunedin I had to shoot while on the escalator. It took several attempts to get one I was happy with and by the third time I had been up and down the escalators the security guards were starting to show some interest in what I was doing. It was at that point that I decided it was best to leave. The thing I love about this angle is the way all the different shapes interplay with the circular domes; however to be under the dead centre you need to be in a certain spot on the escalator.

The Solar Eclipse

Solar Eclipse In Dallas Texas

There are some very cool video’s floating around of yesterday’s Solar Eclipse. Check out this awesome video of the the crowd at Klyde Warren Park in Dallas, Taxas as they react to the moon passing between the earth and the sun.

Daily Photo: South Dunedin

South Dunedin

This is a shot I took on a helicopter ride over Dunedin a few years ago. It’s not a view of Dunedin I often see, so it’s nice to be reminded how different things can look if you can your perspective. It also reminds me how much the whole area of South Dunedin has changed in 200 years. 

Over two hundred years ago the area wasn’t solid land. There were lots of tidal inlets with wide spread marshy swamp land covered with tussock, rushes and flax. It was also home to a wide variety of bird life. Out towards the coast near the suburbs of St Clair and St Kilda, there were low lying sand dunes and a large lagoon that stretched towards Lawyer Head. From that point the land was covered in a much higher series of sand dunes. 

In the mid-1800’s when Dunedin began to be settled as a city, dry level land was in high demand. So, much of the wet, low areas were filled with any material available including a section near the beach being used as a tip. A tip right next to a beach, what could possibly go wrong!

Ross Creek Waterfall (School Creek Waterfall)

Ross Creek Waterfall

I’d completely forgotten about the Ross Creek Waterfall (also known as School Creek Waterfall). It really is a hidden surprise! Found along the trail that runs beside School Creek, it’s a delightful tranquil spot and completely man made. Although it appears a natural creation as the water cascades down from the reservoir, in fact the falls were created as a diversion channel when the reservoir was first created.


Maggies Tearoom, Bar & Arcade

What’s not to love about Maggies (aka the former Morning Magpie) with its hip, urban vibe and relaxed atmosphere. I hear the Hotcakes are wonderful, the Leek and Potato Stew is great, the Full English breakfast is terrific and the coffee is always delicious. Not a bad place to pass a few minutes during the day if you’re close to lower Stuart Street in Dunedin.

Is Boating New Zealand’s favourite recreational activity?

Early Morning on a Bluebridge Ferry

If there’s one thing New Zealand has a long history with, it’s boats. From the early migrations of the Polynesians who reached the south-west corner of the Pacific between 1250 to 1300 AD, to famous people like Able Tasman and James Cook, New Zealanders do seem to enjoy boats. In fact, boating is New Zealand’s largest recreational activity with 1.9 million people participating in boating activities each year and it being a $2.9 billion dollar industry. According to 2023 statistics, there are more than 1,540,000 boats in New Zealand with an annual growth of an estimated 45,000 vessels per year. That’s not bad for a tiny nation in the south-west corner of the Pacific.

Love Is In The Air

Love is in the air.

If you go to Central Otago at the right time of year, one of the strange sights you’ll see are a numerous number of brides and grooms. Usually, they’re posing for photos in very public places with lots of people holding lighting gear and taking photos. However, I never know if they’re from an actual wedding party or if it’s a promotional shoot. This is a couple I found on the shores of Lake Wanaka.

Ross Creek Track Waterfall

Here’s short video I forgot about!

Ross Creek Track Waterfall

The other week I went wandering along some of the bush tracks in Leith Valley, in North Dunedin. I started at the entrance to the tracks that start off Rockside Road and head into the bush from there. The stream that runs down from Ross Creek Reservoir and links up with the Water of Leith was on the low side meaning a few of the small waterfalls were easily accessible. While I was there I made a short view which I then forgot about until yesterday. I hope you enjoy it. 

Another Mystery Location

Careys Creek

This is another mystery location that I’m not 100% sure of. I’m thinking it’s Carey’s Creek which is north of Dunedin and runs near the Silver Peaks area through to Evandale Glen and out to the coast, I believe. I recall while detouring slightly off the track and coming across a sign that warned of hunters operating in the area. It got me wondering if I should be more worried about being attacked by wild animals or shot by the hunters who were hunting them. Either way, it was a lovely afternoon.    

“Yes, Virgina, there is a Santa Claus”

The Octagon, Dunedin Buy 

If there’s one text you should read at Christmas time it’s the letter eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon wrote to the editor of New York’s Sun newspaper in September, 1897. The response by Francis Church has since become one of the most reprinted newspaper editorials in history. Here it is in full: “Yes, Virgina, there is a Santa Claus”

Have a very Happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year.

Of Light & Lines

Of Light and Lines – Buy 

Eventually I made my way to a nearby car parking building.  Which, I must admit, are really interesting places if you’re looking for some creative inspiration or mental stimulation. They provide all sorts of views across the tops of buildings, from all kinds of angles. You can also find some fun textures and lines if that’s what you’re looking for.   

The Wanderer

Escalator in centre Dunedin Buy 

I went wandering through centre Dunedin not looking for anything in particular. While I was in the process of looking for some mental stimulation I came across an escalator close to the central Library. I spent the next few minutes riding it in both directions trying to decide where to go next when the escalator itself became of interest.

Dunedin’s St Paul’s Cathedral

St Paul’s Cathedral in central Dunedin – Buy 

I called in to St Paul’s Cathedral in central Dunedin for a bit of a look around and a little creative inspiration. It so happened that the next day they were holding a concert in the Cathedral and while I was there they were holding an open practice. One lady who was playing the piano was very good while the man that followed her seemed to need a little more practice. Having said that, if you consider the fact that I can’t play the piano at all, they were both actually very delightful to listen to.