I took this photo on a June evening while heading home and the thing that I remember was that it was cold. Really cold! I mean toe curling, slap me across the face cold. The type of winter evening where the still night air simply goes right through you. Maybe that’s why the evening was so calm.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 .
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.
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.
Sometimes it’s a good thing if an item goes unused. St Clair has a shark bell and I would be very happy if I went my entire life and never heard it rung! This is a big change from the mid 1960’s where in the space of seven years, there were five great white attacks, three fatal, off the Dunedin coast.The attacks resulted in the deaths of Les Jordan at St Clair in 1964, Bill Black at St Kilda in 1967 and Graham Hitt at Aramoana in 1968. These attacks gave the city the unenviable record of having the worst shark attack fatality record in the country. I would imagine that for some residents of Dunedin, Steven Spielberg’s 1975 hit movie Jaws would have been incredibly hard to watch given the devastation, trauma, and hysteria that surrounded the attacks. Which brings me back to St Clair’s shark bell. I shall be very happy if I never hear it rung!
This year’s Octagonal Day contest was cancelled because of Covid which is unfortunate all those involved as it’s a very popular event. Last year I came across the event which featured 15 pipe bands completely by accident. Personally, my favorite performer was the lone freestyler that accompanied each band. I was also informed by one of the judges that he was apparently being a “true” Scotsman and was reminded that young child were present!
I didn’t have any particular reason to be at the Otago Museum apart from it was a good place to shelter from the passing rain. Some hours earlier I had left home, foolishly thinking the distant clouds that looked a tad ominous out at sea would continue their meander up the coast, thus avoiding my location. Well, I was wrong! The rain passed directly over the city, forcing me to take some shelter inisde. Fortunately I was near the Otago Museum and leaving a line of wet foot prints across the foyer as I entered. I then happily enjoyed looking at nothing in particular, including the hull of a waka taua. The war canoe which measured nearly 40 metres in length was made in about 1840 in the Whanganui River valley for Paturomu, a chief based at Koroniti.
Autumn Bridge – Buy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery
Autumn keeps drawing me back to the University for some reason, maybe it’s because I don’t spend a lot of time there or maybe it’s just a curiosity to see what’s going on. Either way there are pockets of colour all over the place like this view looking back to the botanical gardens.
Sitting on Smith and Tennyson Street, I always thought that this building was a little bit foreboding, cheerless or even glum. I always imagined that walking the halls in the middle of the night would be a spooky as hell. The kind of place where noises would play mind games. The offical style of the building is referred to as “stripped Gothic” or Gothic architecture bare of the ornamentation. Apparently when it was opened it was praised for being aesthetically striking.
Dunedin Skyline Sunset – Buy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery
The Dunedin skyline at sunset after a warm autumn day.
The early morning light was just starting to hit the tree tops. It was a cold, chilly morning with frost covering everything at ground level. Pools of water looked like glass, leaves frozen in place where they had fallen the day before. My breath appeared infront of me in great clouds of mist as I watched the light creep across the hillside, revealing the autumn colours that had be hidden by night.
One of the attractions of Arrowtown during autumn is the wonderful colour that comes out throughout the town. However, the Wilding Pines that surround the hills have created a dilemma. Either lose a large section of the autumnal background or face an ecological disaster.
When I started walking down the beach, I hadn’t realised just how windy it was. The beach was long, scattered with sand dunes that had taken a beating over the years as the southerly swells hit them. However I saw very little of them. I had left the car, full of optimism and excitement with a long walk along the beach but now that the wind had picked up, my face was full of sand, there was spray coming off the sea and staying upright was a battle in itself. As I looked along the coast, there was something more absorbing than before. It struck me that sometimes when the beach is at i’s most interesting, noone one is there.
I walked through the University looking for autumn in the city. I wanted to see warm yellows, mixed with oranges, reds, ochre and olive colours. I wanted textures offset with iconic images that could only be distinctively Dunedin. My wants were few as I walked past the many buildings of various ages that make up Otago University. I went over a bridge and through a gate. My eye was caught by the particularly handsome gothic style clocktower, constructed from bluestone with Oamaru stone facings and slate roofs. I crossed the square, turned and found the view I was looking for.
It was the most annoying part of my day, having to wait for a break in the traffic to get the right view I wanted. I’d been taking in the joy and wonder of walking through a city filled with autumn colour when my eye was caught by a line of green and yellow hues that ran parallel to the road. Unfortunately, at the same time a heavy and never ending line of traffic passed through at precisely that moment. Included in which was some type of a cattle truck that could be smelt before it arrived and long after it vanished from sight it left the smell of silage lingering in the air. Isn’t it a good thing photos don’t come with smells I pondered as the lights up ahead turned red.
Not long before arriving I had been at the Dunedin Gypsy Fair and having left disappointed, I needed to enliven myself with some autumn leaves. Fortunately the leaves on the trees at Dunedin’s Queens Garden had yet to completely disappear and under the watchful gaze of presbyterian minister Donald Stuart, I kicked a few leaves around in between taking photos. It is autumn after all.
I walked along the beach, unsure if the day was going to get better or suddenly turn without warning. Not being fully prepared to get soaked (although I never am), yet intrigued by the beach I decided the only course of action was to get closer to the water. This move had proven fatal many times and I wasn’t at all confident that this time would be any different.
I found my way back to the harbour where a container ship was at anchor. The day was bright and clear, the water was still and a nearby sign reflected off the water while the shadows of the dock lay in contrast. I looked at nothing much for a while before deciding to take my leave.
I emerged at the University to find long shadows stretching across the courtyards, filling most of the spaces with a cool air that comes just before the onset of winter. The sun was still warm, yet the temperature in the shadows dropped sharply. I found a set of stone steps leading up to one of the lecture theatres, watched the autumn colours on a nearby tree and enjoyed the olden day charm that comes from being around buildings that were constructed in the 1880’s and have been lovingly maintained.
The next day I found myself wondering through a very different set of architectural features. I had ventured down the peninsula past the villages of Macandrew Bay, Broad Bay and Portobello through Ōtākou and on to Taiaroa Heads. Having carefully parked my car at Harrington Point, ensuring it was almost nearly out of the way of any traffic that might pass by, I spent a captivating afternoon wandering, tripping and scrambling through an abandoned military complex. It seems the complex which was constructed on Harrington Point in the 1890s was built amid panic and fear that the Russian Empire might invade, which of course, never happened.
The next morning I headed around the harbour. Following the main road that snakes its way along the shoreline from Dunedin to Port Chalmers. Then, heading over the hill that looks down to the harbour mouth I soon found myself enjoying the vista that looks out down to Purakaunui Bay. It really is the most tranquil and peaceful place to waste away the day in the sun. The hillside surrounding the inlet is filled with homes of all shapes and sizes. Some are old, some new but all are loved for the splendid surroundings they sit in.
Daily Photo – Dunedin’s Exchange, Harbour & Town Belt
I’d been walking for some time. Having dodged scooters, bikes, skateboarders and runners in the afternoon sunshine, the wind was now picking up. It was the type of northwest wind that typically rockets down that Harbour and hits Portsmouth Drive at the end of the harbour with a great rate of knots. Before turning back to the car, I took in the view of the city from across the water.
Daily Photo – Dawn at Dunedin’s Salt Water Pool
This photo is a revisit back to the last day of summer, it seems a while ago now. Here in New Zealand and in particular the South Island, the Autumn temperatures are certainly taking hold. While the days have been fine, overnight temperatures are dropping to single figures with Dunedin Airport reaching -0.9° a few nights ago. Better make the most of the fine days while they last.
Daily Photo – Wingatui Junction
I spent a good portion of the day exploring walking tracks near the Taieri plains and on the way back I called in at Wingatui Railway Station or Wingatui Junction as it is otherwise known. These days it is pretty much unused as most railway stations are in New Zealand, however, it’s not hard to see how it would have been a busy place in its day. The original station was opened in Wingatui on 1 September 1875 with the present building constructed in 1914 and while it is still standing, the station closed on 13 August 1983.
Wingatui was once an important part of the Otago rail network as it was the starting point for the Otago Central Railway and for many years it was the station that provided service for nearby Wingatui racecourse.