Mangatoetoe Beach

Mangatoetoe Beach – Buy 

The next day, heavy, dark clouds hung overhead like a thick blanket and in the distance a wall of weather loomed ominously on the horizon. Between, patches of blue sky gave a sense of hope that there might yet be some fine weather left in the day. I hoped so, I was heading for Cape Palliser Lighthouse, the southernmost point of the North Island.

Approaching the coast which would eventually lead to the Lighthouse, the wind picked up and the countryside changed to a beach of blacksand with dramatic pinnacle cliffs. Occasionally I’d pass cribs and huts that were scattered along the road that held little or no protection from the elements. I manoeuvred past partially washed out roads and small villages that were filled with crayfish pots and fishing boats that were pushed into the sea by bulldozers. The road narrowed to a single lane, a ford had to be negotiated, fallen rocks scattered the way ahead and I lost wifi coverage. This was a place that you’d truly have to love to spend any length of time. It was New Zealand’s rugged coastline at its very best and what’s more, it even had a Lighthouse!

The Maniototo

Stock on the Mniototo – Buy 

I’d spent the day driving the dirt roads near Gimmerburn in the Maniototo looking for old structures. Actually, I wasn’t altogether sure what I was searching for, I just trusted that I’d know when I saw it. It was somewhere between Gimmerburn and Waipiata that I found an old water race that seemed a good subject for further investigation when I saw these sheep in a nearby paddock looking strangely curious.

Jupiter In Waipiata

Jupiter model on the rail trail – Buy 

In the small Central Otago town of Waipiata I found this sculpture of the planet Jupiter. At first it seemed a rather random place to have a sculpture such as this but, I figured it must be there for a reason. Instead, I was much more interested in the unique shape and structure of it and the way it looked against the clear blue sky. I then spent a good 20 minutes photographing it from all sorts of usual angles and distances.


Waipiata rail bridge – Buy 

I arrived in the small town of Waipiata in the Maniototo close to midday. The traffic coming from Central Otago had been surprisingly light and having parked close to where the Railway Station used to stand in the centre of town, I realised I was ready to go for a stroll and stretch my legs.

Chimney Stack On The Maniototo

Chimney stack on the Maniototo– Buy 

In places like the Ida Valley, Blackstone Hill, Kyeburn, Patearoa and near the Rock and Pillar there are old structures scattered all around the place. They are like a window into the past that tell stories of human existence, past lives and hint at a sense of belonging in a timeless place.

Looking over the land, I like the questions those old structures ask and how they hint towards a forgotten human presence. Here, a crumbling chimney stack sits in a dry and sunburned field,  just beyond a small pond in the wide open spaces of The Maniototo.

Lone Tree In The Maniototo

Lone Tree In The Maniototo – Buy 

I like the name ‘Gimmerburn’. It’s got a kind of, ‘where the hell is that?’ feeling. It’s one of those place names that makes you wonder about the place itself. After all, ‘The Gimmerburn’ hardly sounds like a bustling suburb of London or New York. 

So, one day after a self guided tiki tour through the Maniototo, and at one stage passing through The Gimmerburn, I found this lovely singular tree.

Shed At Waipiata

Shed at Waipiata– Buy 

It wasn’t long after I arrived in Waipiata that I found the disused goods-shed that once belonged to the railway. In fact, I saw it immediately after turning into the town! Waipata’s claim to fame is that there was once both a rabbit processing plant and a tuberculosis sanatorium operating near the town in the early 1900’s. While the processed rabbits were transported to Dunedin via train, people were transported from Dunedin to the sanatorium.