Alpine tarns in Fiordland National Park, New Zealand

A SPIN AROUND THE BLOCK

Landscapes, Mountains, Photography

A misty, moody day for a scenic flight over the Southern Alps from Wanaka across to Milford Sound and back with Southern Alps Air. Best left to the photos to do the talking….

Roys Peninsula, Mou Tapu and Mou Waho Island on Lake Wanaka, New Zealand

SYMMETRY. Roys Peninsula, Mou Tapu and Mou Waho Island on Lake Wanaka.

Glendhu Bay, Lake Wanaka, New Zealand

PADDOCK BAY. View across Paddock Bay and Glendhu Bay towards a cloud-obscured Matukituki Valley.

The mountains of the Southern Alps near Treble Cone, Wanaka, New Zealand

BACKSIDE. Looking up Blue Creek towards Treble Cone ski area on the right.

The braided channels of the Dart River near Glenorchy.

BRAIDS #1. The braided channels of the Dart River near Glenorchy.

The braided Dart River near Queenstown, New Zealand

BRAIDS #2. The glacial blue channels of the Dart River.

Mt Alfred, Glenorchy, Queenstown, New Zealand

ISENGARD. They still haven’t taken down the set for Lord of the Rings…. Mt Alfred near Glenorchy, the film location for Isengard.

Rainbow coloured valley, Southern Alps, New Zealand

RAINBOW VALLEY. Mother Nature with a sprinkling of geology creating a little bit of alpine magic.

Park Pas Glacier, Mt Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

RETREATING. A particularly hot summer has seen a distinct retreat in the glaciers of the Southern Alps, which is pretty evident looking here at the Park Pass Glacier.

Lake Erskine and Bowmar Waterfall, Fiordland, New Zealand

CIRQUE. Lake Erskine (1,378m) and Bowmar Falls, a classic example of a glacial cirque.

Aline Lake, Southern Alps, Fiordland, New Zealand

LONE TARN. A tarn high in the Fiordland mountains with smooth, glacier-polished rock faces above.

Alpine tarns in Fiordland National Park, New Zealand

TWIN TARNS. Emerald alpine tarns (although one is more likely a cirque) hight in the mountains of Fiordland National Park.

Southern Alps, Fiordland, New Zealand

RIDGELINE. Rugged, glacier carved ridges in Fiordland.

The Lion, Milford Sound, Fiordland, New Zealand

THE LION. An icon of Milford Sound, Fiordland.

Surprise Pass, Fiordland, New Zealand

MIDDLE EARTH. Looking out for Orcs over Surprise Pass, Fiordland National Park.

Milford Road, Fiordland, New Zealand

HIGHWAY. The Milford Road (SH94) meanders along the shoreline of Lake Gunn and Lake Fergus.

Glacial carved valley, and view of Lake Te Anau, Fiordland, New Zealand

VALLEY VIEW. Looking South down the Neale Burn towards Lake Te Anau and the start of the Milford Track.

Aerial view of Glenorchy and Mt Alfred, Queenstown New Zealand

GY. Mount Alfred flanked by the Dart and Rees Rivers feeding into Lake Wakatipu, Glenorchy.

Mountains of the Southern Alps near Queenstown, New Zealand

MISTY MOUNTAINS. The Humboldt Range with Lake Wakatipu just visible to the left of the frame.

The Pisa Range, Wanaka, New Zealand

PISA RANGE. Looking across the Harris Mountains to the Pisa Range beyond.

 

WOW! Warbirds Over Wanaka 2018

Events, Photography

There is something about the roar of a Rolls Royce Merlin engine that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand to attention….

The biannual Warbirds Over Wanaka Air Show is the biggest event of it’s kind in the southern hemisphere and is heralded days in advance by WWII fighters and modern jets flying low across the Wanaka landscape. These warbirds somehow bring out the innermost kid in the locals, with curtains twitching and back doors being flung open across town to catch a glimpse of the iconic aircraft anytime the distinctive rasp of an engine or roar of a turbine is heard…. And that’s just the warm up before the main event!

The actual Warbirds show is a treat for all the senses. Here’s a taste of the 2018 instalment….

F16 fighter at Warbirds Over Wanaka Airshow

AFTER-BURN. The F16 Fighting Falcon coming in hot to launch the show in style!

Harvard Display Team at Warbirds Over Wanaka Airshow

LOOPY. The Harvard Display Team blowing smoke.

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SKY ART. The Harvards decorate the sky.

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SPLIT! The Harvards running through their paces.

Hercules flares at Warbirds Over Wanaka Airshow

A PHOENIX OF FLARES. The RNZAF Hercules releases it’s anti heat-seeking missile flares.

Yak Display Team at Warbirds Over Wanaka Airshow

SMOKE N’ THUNDER. The Yak Display Team roar into action

The Yak 52 Aerobatic Display Team perform at Warbirds Over Wanaka Air Show

YAK ATTACK. A credit card would barely separate the wing tips! The Yak 52 Aerobatic Display Team.

Jurgis Kairys performs aerobatics at Warbirds Over Wanaka Airshow

SMOKIN’ SPIRALS. The insane aerobatics of Jurgis Kairys.

United States Air Force C-17 Globemaster at Warbirds Over Wanaka Air Show

SOLAR ECLIPSE. The huge United States Air Force C-17 Globemaster blocks out the sun!

RNZAF Black Falcons at Warbirds Over Wanaka Air Show

IN SYNC. Precision flying by the RNZAF Black Falcons.

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BREAK AWAY. A signature manoeuvre by the RNZAF Black Falcons.

Helicopter at Warbirds Over Wanaka Air Show

THE FINAL SOLUTION. Taking care of illegal freedom camping….

Aston Martin Vulcan at Warbirds Over Wanaka Air Show

MILLION DOLLAR MOTOR. Proving you don’t need wings to fly… the Aston Martin Vulcan rips down the runway… all $4.2 million worth!

Model aircraft at Warbirds Over Wanaka Air Show

BIG BOYS TOYS. Incredible model aircraft display.

US Air Force F16 Fighting Falcon at Warbirds Over Wanaka Air Show

STAR TURN. The F16 lights up the afternoon skies over Wanaka.

Trojan at Warbirds Over Wanaka Air Show

TROJAN. More at home landing on an aircraft carrier than a grass strip in the mountains…

Supermarine Spitfire and Avro Anson at Warbirds Over Wanaka Air Show

HEAVY METAL. The Supermarine Spitfire and Avro Anson roar across the aerodrome.

A Spitfire is pursued by the Messerschmitt 109 at Warbirds Over Wanaka Air Show

TAIL CHASE. A Spitfire is pursued by the Messerschmitt 109 across the blue Wanaka skies.

Pyrotechnics at Warbirds Over Wanaka Air Show

BOOM! Scramble, scramble, scramble…. the air field comes under attack!

Avro Anson flies through a smoke ring at Warbirds Over Wanaka Air Show

BULLSEYE! The Avro Anson right on target as it flies through a perfectly formed smoke ring.

Avro Anson at Warbirds Over Wanaka Air Show

HIT. The Avro limps across the Wanaka skyline.

ME 109 fighter plane at Warbirds Over Wanaka Air Show

BANDITS AT 10 O’CLOCK. The ME 109 stalks the Wanaka skyline.

C-47 Dakota at Warbirds Over Wanaka Air Show

AERO ANTICS. Jurgis Kairys loops around the C-47 Dakota….inverted, of course!

P-51 Mustang at Warbirds Over Wanaka Air Show

LOOK MUM, NO HANDS! A one-handed fly-by of the aerodrome by the P-51 Mustang.

De Havilland Vampire and L-39 jets at Warbirds Over Wanaka Air Show

VAMPS. De Havilland Vampires flank the L-39 and jet-in for action…

L-39 Albatros jet at Warbirds Over Wanaka Air Show

JET STREAM. L-39 Albatros jet trainer skims across the mountain skyline.

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FLY BY. Hard to capture an image of a jet travelling at 800kmph!

The Mk XI Supermarine Spitfire at Warbirds Over Wanaka Air Show

ICON. The Mk XI Supermarine Spitfire, a game changer in the Battle of Britain.

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DOG FIGHT. A Spitfire roars across the late afternoon skies as a Russian Yak 3, the “Dogfighter Extreme”, pursues a bogey in the background.

Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawk at Warbirds Over Wanaka Air Show

DARK SKIES. A Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawk passes in front of smoke blackened skies.

Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawk & ME-109 at Warbirds Over Wanaka Air Show

ONCE WERE WARRIORS. ME-109 and Kittyhawk fly peacefully side by side.

WWII fighter planes at Warbirds Over Wanaka Air Show

PARTING SHOT. Warbirds at sunset.

BEYOND THE LOOKOUT

Adventure, Landscapes, Mountains, Walking & Hiking

The hike to the lookout over the Rob Roy Glacier in Mount Aspiring National Park is arguably the best half day walk in New Zealand. But where the track ends, is really just the start….

Deciding to camp out at the base of a glacier after the first frost of the autumn might not – on the face of it – seem like a smart idea, but a forecast of clear skies and perhaps the last overnight tramp of the season was lure-enough to have us loading our packs. Besides, with down jackets, cosy sleeping bags plus whisky to warm us in the evening and coffee to defrost us in the morning what more could we possibly need?….

The walk to the lookout of the Rob Roy Glacier is a moderate 5km uphill walk on a well formed track, but thereafter the trail fades and despite the occasional rock cairn to guide you in the general direction, consists of bush-bashing across steep, boulder-ridden moraines. The spectacular glacial landscape, however, is worth every entanglement with a spiky matagouri bush and the uphill scrambling…

Sheep on the road, Wanaka, Mt Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

RUSH HOUR. Running into heavy traffic on the road to Mt Aspiring National Park.

Native beech forest - Rob Roy Glacier, Wanaka, Mt Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

‘BEECHED’. Lush, green, native beech forest flanks the Rob Roy Stream on the approach to the glacier.

Cloud over the Rob Roy Glacier, Wanaka, Mt Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

CLAG. Nothing to be seen here… low cloud obscures the view of the glacier. So much for the “clear skies” forecast!…

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WINDOW. Low cloud begins to clear offering tantalising views of the ice.

Rob Roy Glacier, Wanaka, Mt Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

MISTY MOUNTAINS. The cloud burns off to reveal the blue ice of the Rob Roy.

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RIVERSIDE. Following the Rob Roy Stream up the valley.

Hiking in the Rob Roy Valley, Wanaka, Mt Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

BEYOND THE LOOKOUT. Tramping towards the head of the Rob Roy Valley

Hiking in the Rob Roy Valley, Wanaka, Mt Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

VALLEY VIEWS. Hiking high into the Rob Roy Valley.

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INTO THE WILD. Pressing on to the head of the valley.

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CONTRASTS PART 1. Blue ice. Green rainforest.

Avalanche on the Rob Roy Glacier, Wanaka, Mt Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

MOUNTAIN THUNDER. As the sun warms the glacier, huge car-sized chunks of ice are carved from the face of the glacier and avalanche down the cliffs below.

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BLUE TANIWHA. The dragon-esque snout of the Rob Roy Glacier.

Glacial landscapes - Rob Roy Glacier, Wanaka, Mt Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

POLISHED. The scraped, scored and polished rock left behind as the glacier retreats into the recess of the valley.

Hiking above the Rob Roy Glacier, Wanaka, Mt Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

VIEW FROM ABOVE. Hiking above the Upper Rob Roy Glacier.

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AWE & ICE. Spectacular glacial views are the reward for several hours of tough bush-bashing.

Hiking on the Rob Roy Glacier, Wanaka, Mt Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

SCALE. Hiking on the moraine wall high above the Rob Roy icefall.

Alpine flowers and the Rob Roy Glacier, Wanaka, Mt Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

CONTRASTS PART 2. Alpine flowers carpet the moraine wall contrasting the blue ice of the Rob Roy icefall.

Crevasses on the Rob Roy Glacier, Wanaka, Mt Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

CHAOTIC CREVASSES. The Rob Roy icefall tumbles down the valley forming a geographical masterpiece.

Moraine wall of the Rob Roy Glacier, Wanaka, Mt Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

MORAINE. The lateral moraine of the upper glacier, a history of of Rob Roy’s past extent.

 

Hiking on the Rob Roy Glacier, Wanaka, Mt Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

HANGING VALLEY. Descending back to camp at twilight.

Camping beneath the Rob Roy Glacier, Wanaka, Mt Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

PITCH PERFECT. Not a bad spot to spend the night….

Camping food at Rob Roy Valley, Wanaka, Mt Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

LOCAL KAI. Dehydrated, vegan, boil-in-the-bag never tasted so good! (Seriously, this stuff is great)!

View of the Matukituki Valley from the Rob Roy Glacier, Wanaka, Mt Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

MATUKITUKI MOUNTAINS. View from our campsite down to the Matukituki Valley.

The Milky Way above the Rob Roy Glacier, Wanaka, Mt Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

COSMIC CAMPSITE. The stars of the Milky Way rise above the horizon and our little blue tent.

Sunrise above the Rob Roy Glacier, Wanaka, Mt Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

MORNING GLORY. Waking up to views like this, priceless…

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CONTRASTS PART 3. Blue glacial ice contrasted against pink skies at sunrise.

Sunrise at the Rob Roy Glacier, Wanaka, Mt Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

FIRE & ICE. A spectacular sunrise lights up the Rob Roy Glacier.

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RED SKY IN THE MORNING….

Rob Roy Glacier, Wanaka, Mt Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

HANGING IN THERE. Ice clings limpet-like to the vertical cliff walls of the valley.

View of Rob Roy Glacier, Wanaka, Mt Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

WOODLAND WINDOW. Spectacular glacier and waterfall views, all part of the Rob Roy experience.

Rob Roy Glacier, Wanaka, Mt Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

PARTING SHOT. A final iconic view of the Rob Roy Glacier.

 

Canyon Creek, Ahuriri Valley New Zealand

UP THE CREEK…

Adventure, Landscapes, Mountains, Walking & Hiking

After a week overseas on business trapped within the confines of a hot, congested city it’s always good to come home and escape into the hills; to stretch the legs; breathe deep lung-fulls of fresh mountain air, and rejuvenate.

The Ahuriri Valley is only an hour’s drive from Wanaka and offers a variety of great tramping options from day walks to multi-day hikes. Allegedly, it also offers some outstanding trout fishing, but I’ve only ever succeeded in donating a tackle-box-load of lures to the river and gone home slightly poorer and hungry!

With a good forecast we hiked into the aptly named Canyon Creek and camped at the base of a spectacular series of cascades, then climbed up high above the myriad of waterfalls and into the catchment of Mount Barth for some spectacular views. There’s a rock bivvy located at the head of the valley, but thankfully we opted to camp low as in the middle of the night the wind picked up to gale force and nearly blew us all the way back to Wanaka!

Mountains reflections in the Ahuriri Valley, NZ

CHOCOLATE BOX. The approach into the Ahuriri Valley is easy on the eye.

Hiking in the Ahuriri Valley, South Island, New Zealand

THE FLATS. Strolling through the lowland flats of the Ahuriri Valley.

Beech forest, Southern Alps, NZ

GNARLY. Negotiating the rocks and roots of the stunted beech forest guarding the entrance to Canyon Creek.

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UPWARDS. A short, steep climb from the valley floor through stunted beech forest traverses above the canyon and into Canyon Creek.

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VALLEY VIEW. Looking down on Canyon Creek and the Ahuriri Valley with the Barrier Range beyond. A fresh dusting of snow always adds nice contrast to a photo!

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SLIPS. The track crosses numerous large rocks slips and fans before reaching the dramatic waterfalls at the head of the valley.

Canyon Creek, Ahuriri, New Zealand

CANYON CREEK. The crystal clear waters of Canyon Creek flow past our campsite and on to the Ahuriri Valley below.

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ROCK WALL. Waterfalls slice through the rocky bluffs at the head of Canyon Creek. Mt Barth in the background.

Waterfalls of Canyon Creek, Southern Alps, New Zealand

FLOW. Waterfalls pour off the mountainside to feed Canyon Creek below.

Waterfalls flow form the catchment of Canyon Creek with Mt Barth in the background. Southern Alps, NZ

BLUFFS. A view worthy of the climb and scramble up. Mt Barth and the Thurneysen Glacier.

Mt Barth and the Thurneysen Glacier, Canyon Creek, Southern Alps, New Zealand

CATCHMENT. The Canyon Creek catchment with Mt Barth and the Thurneysen Glacier at the head of the valley.

Canyon Creek, Ahuriri Valley New Zealand

VALLEY VISTA. Looking down Canyon Creek towards to Ahuriri Valley. The clouds should have put us on notice of the fast approaching weather front!

A hiker climbs above Canyon Creek, Southern Alps, New Zealand

UPLANDS. Hiking above Canyon Creek towards Mt Barth and the head of the valley.

The view down Canyon Creek to the Ahuriri Valley, Southern Alps, New Zealand

AHURIRI. The view down Canyon Creek to the Ahuriri Valley.

A hiker surrounded by waterfalls in the Southern Alps of New Zealand

CHASING WATERFALLS. Descending waterfalls to the valley floor and our campsite.

Camping in the wilderness of Southern Alps of New Zealand

ROOM WITH A VIEW. When we pitched the tent this looked like a pretty good site – great views, the only bit of flat ground for miles around and close to the creek for water. Little did we know it was actually in the heart of a wind tunnel!

A hiker amongst the misty mountains of the Southern Alps, New Zealand

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DAY MAKES. The front which we had seen in the weather forecast arrived early with gale force winds. Thankfully we managed to strike camp and pack up before the rain started.

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WIND BLOWN. A gusty, gale force NW’er blows us back down the valley.

Sunset over Mount Avalanche, Mt Aspiring National Park

KEAS & CHEERS

Adventure, Landscapes, Mountains, Walking & Hiking

Wanaka is the best place to live in the world.
Albeit for 49 weeks of the year….

But for 3-weeks over Christmas and New Year, Wanaka is invaded by holidaymakers with their boats, bikes, barbecues & beers and there’s no better time to run for the hills and to escape the Silly Season….

Mount Aspiring National Park is a refuge. Not just for native New Zealand wildlife, but for those seeking peace, quiet and the increasingly rare opportunity to escape the non-stop chatter of technology. As John Muir, the environmental philosopher once observed, “Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity”. I, for one, could not agree more.

So home to the mountains is where we headed for 4-nights over Christmas, enjoying the hospitality of our friends Stu & Heather at Aspiring Hut and the not so peaceful feathered residents of French Ridge Hut….

Sunrise over mountains and forest, Mt Aspiring National Park NZ

EARLY START. Sunrise over the forest canopy near Aspiring Hut as we begin the hike up to French Ridge Hut.

Hiker on a swing bridge in Mt Aspiring National Park NZ

SWINGING. One of many swing bridges that criss-cross the West Matukituki River as you head deeper into Mt Aspiring National Park.

French Ridge and Mount Aspiring near Wanaka NZ

FRENCH RIDGE. Your mission, should you choose to accept it…. French Ridge winds its way up towards the Bonar Glacier with Mount Aspiring in the background. French Ridge Hut is just below the snow line at 1465m and our home for the night.

A hiker in Mt Aspiring National Park NZ

RIVER FLATS. Strolling along the river flats before the steep climb up to French Ridge Hut.

A hiker crosses a river in Mount Aspiring National Park, NZ

WET FEET. Wet feet are an integral part of tramping in NZ, but given this crossing of the Matukituki was our only river of the day and the water was low, we opted for the luxury of taking our boots off and having dry feet for the rest of the hike.

A hiker climbing up French Ridge Track Mount Aspiring National Park

JUNGLE GYM. The ascent and descent of French Ridge requires a certain skill set….

Small tarns alongside the track up to French Ridge Hut with great views of the West Matukituki Valley. Mount Aspiring National Park NZ

TUSSOCKS & TARNS. Small tarns alongside the track up to French Ridge Hut with great views of the West Matukituki Valley.

A hiker near Mt Avalanche & Maud Francis Glacier, Mt Aspiring National Park NZ

MT AVALANCHE. Heading into the alpine zone with Mt Avalanche and the Maud Francis Glacier set firmly in our sights.

Mount Avalanche and the Maud Francis Glacier at the head of Gloomy Gorge

GLOOMY. Gloomy Gorge looking remarkably bright and sunny with Mount Avalanche and the Maud Francis Glacier at the head of the valley.

Mount Aspiring and the Breakaway (Bonar Glacier)

TITITEA | MOUNT ASPIRING. The 3,033m ‘glistening peak’ at the heart of the National Park with the Bonar Glacier ‘Breakaway” to the centre left.

Hiking in Mount Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

VALLEY VISTA. Spectacular alpine views from French Ridge. Sharp eyes might be able to spot the red speck of Liverpool Hut on the opposite side of the valley (centre left above the bushline).

Hiking in Mt Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

ONWARDS | UPWARDS. The steep climb continues… Mt Avalanche in the background.

Tramping on French Ridge, Mt Aspiring National Park, NZ

RELENTLESS. French Ridge continues to climb ever upwards with the sheer cliffs of Gloomy Gorge and Mt Avalanche to the right.

Hiking above the headwaters of the West Matukituki River and Mt Barff, Mt Aspiring NP.

THE SOURCE. Mt Barff and the headwaters of the West Matukituki River.

A hiker climbs above French Ridge Hut, Mount Aspiring National Park.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION. French Ridge Hut, Mount Aspiring National Park. After unloading some gear from our packs we continued up the ridge towards Mt Avalanche and the Bonar Glacier.

French Ridge Hut toilet, Mt Aspiring National Park, NZ

LONG DROP. A loo with a view…. But not somewhere to take a wrong turn in the middle of night!

Waterfalls stream off the melting ice of the Maud Francis Glacier and into Gloomy Gorge.

CASCADES & ICE. Waterfalls stream off the melting ice of the Maud Francis Glacier and into Gloomy Gorge.

Hiking on the upper slopes of French Ridge, Mount Aspiring National Park

THE CLIMB. Hiking on the upper slopes of French Ridge.

A hiker looks at the view of Mount Aspiring from French Ridge

ASPIRATIONAL. The summit of Mount Aspiring peaks out above French Ridge.

A hiker on French Ridge, Mt Aspiring National Park, NZ

TRAVERSE. Traversing the snowfields on French Ridge towards the Quarterdeck Pass.

Mount Avalanche and the Maud Francis Glacier at the head of Gloomy Gorge, Mt Aspiring National Park NZ

GLACIAL. Mount Avalanche and the Maud Francis Glacier dominate the head of Gloomy Gorge.

A kea at French Ridge Hut, Mt Aspiring National Park NZ

JUVENILE DELINQUENT. A young kea caught in the act of trying to turn on the tank water supply at French Ridge Hut. Despite the best efforts of the DOC rangers to “kea proof” the tap, these highly intelligent birds always seem up to the challenge and hikers regularly find an empty water tank upon arrival at alpine huts – drained by the curious kea.

A kea in the mountains of Mt Aspiring National Park New Zealand

SCHEMING…. A mature kea plans its next move…. My Dad would probably assert that the “dawn” chorus provided by the kea at 3am on Christmas Eve was reminiscent of my brother and I waking up as kids in the middle of the night to see if Santa had visited and to open our Christmas stockings. Karma, huh?….

Mountain reflections in a small tarn at French Ridge Hut at sunset. Mt Aspiring National Park NZ

FRENCH REFLECTION. Evening sun lights up Rob Roy Peak.

Reflection of French Ridge Hut, Mt Aspiring National Park NZ

RED SHED. Reflections of French Ridge Hut.

Sunset over Mount Avalanche, Mt Aspiring National Park

SPOTLIT. Mt Avalanche catches the last sun of the day.

French Ridge Hut at sunset. Mount Aspiring National Park NZ

RED SKY AT NIGHT. Pink clouds at sunset above French Ridge Hut.

A panorama of the headwaters of the West Matukituki Valley Mt Aspiring National Park

CATCHMENT. A panorama of the headwaters of the West Matukituki Valley on Christmas Eve.

French Ridge and the West Matukituki Valley Mt Aspiring National Park NZ

DOWNWARD. Heading down French Ridge on Christmas Eve and thinking of cold beer and cheeses!

Cascade Saddle Mount Aspiring National Park New Zealand

CASCADE SADDLE. Another of the Matukituki Valley’s ‘must climb’ tracks.

Clouds above Islington Dome, Mt Aspiring National Park NZ

MOUNTAIN MOODS. Dark clouds shroud the summit of Islington Dome.

French Ridge Mount Aspiring National Park NZ

VENI VIDI VICI. French Ridge: we came, we saw, we climbed – because you can never really conquer a landscape like this!

A hiker in front of a waterfall in Mount Aspiring National Park NZ

CHASING WATERFALLS. A deviation off the beaten track to explore the side valleys of Mount Aspiring National Park is usually well worth it!

Long exposure of a waterfall in Mount Aspiring National Park NZ

SLOW MO. Long exposure of a cascading waterfall feeding the Liverpool Stream.

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CLAGGED IN. Strong winds and driving rain on Christmas Day kept us hut-bound for most of the day… But we were well prepared!

Cooking pancakes in a NZ backcountry hut

FLIP. Pancakes for breakfast on Christmas morning!

Frying bacon in a NZ backcountry hut

EVERYTHING IS BETTER WITH BACON!

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BACKCOUNTRY BUBBLES. Our host with the most – Stu pours the bubbles on Christmas morning at Aspiring Hut.

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SEASONAL SCONES. Heather prepares a treat fresh from the camp oven for trampers at Aspiring Hut on Christmas Day

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CRAZY CLIMBERS. A party of Korean trampers depart Aspiring Hut in torrential rain heading for Cascade Saddle. We had a sweep stake on what time they’d give up climbing and return to the hut, but we never saw them again – we hope they dried out and had a warm Christmas night in their tents!!

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THE CAKE COURSE. White port and Christmas cake conclude our 6 course backcountry degustation on Christmas Day!

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COSY TOES. It’s not just our socks keeping us warm…

The Milky Way over Mt Aspiring National Park New Zealand

SILENT NIGHT. The skies finally cleared on Christmas Day to a spectacular starry nightsky – here’s the Milky Way seen from the deck of Aspiring Hut.

Aspiring Hut

BOXING DAY. What a difference a day makes. Waking up at Aspiring Hut to clear skies on Boxing Day for the walk home.

 

 

 

Mountain reflections in an alpine tarn at McKellar Saddle, Greenstone - Caples Track, Mount Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

THE CAPLES CAPER

Adventure, Landscapes, Mountains, Walking & Hiking

Escaping into the mountains away from the humdrum of modern living has always been a great way for me to recharge my batteries, although chasing a couple of spritely septuagenarians for 30kms up the Caples Valley is also an excellent way to drain the batteries!….

Stu & Heather are exceptional tramping companions, so whenever we get the chance to join them for a hike it’s always a treat…. not least because Stu – as a retired Department of Conservation ranger – frequently has the key to the DOC staff quarters in the backcountry huts and so tramping soon becomes glamping!

Our trip into the Caples Valley in Mount Aspiring National Park began with a river crossing course run by Stu on the Rees River near Glenorchy. An afternoon of wading back and forth across the glacial braids of the Rees – sometimes up to our armpits – was the “warm up” (well, as warm as a glacial river can be in spring) for 3-days hiking in the valley.

Hikers crossing a river, Glenorchy NZ

PEDESTRIAN CROSSING. Learning the art of safe river crossings with Stu on the Rees River near Glenorchy and discovering that frigid glacial rivers are are best crossed as quickly as possible! Thankfully a warm NW wind acted as nature’s hairdryer to keep mild hypothermia at bay…

The weather forecast wasn’t flash and we were expecting a couple of “hut days” – playing cards, reading books and drinking cups of coffee – and so it was no surprise when we awoke at Mid Caples Hut to low cloud and rain. However, after only a single cup of coffee, the skies brightened and we decided to stretch our legs and wander up the track…. a wander that ended up being 32km to the top of McKeller Saddle and back on a spectacular, sunny spring day!

Greenstone River, Mount Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

THE GREENSTONE. The spectacular clear, green waters of the Greenstone River, Mt Aspiring National Park – near Glenorchy.

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GREEN FLOW. The Greenstone River flows into Lake Wakatipu.

Caples River, Mount Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

THE CHASM. A ‘knickpoint’ in the Caples River forces the water through a spectacular deep, narrow chasm.

Mid Caples Hut, Greenstone - Caples Track, Mount Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

TOTEM. A rustic welcome to Mid Caples Hut.

Low cloud in the Caples Valley, Mount Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

MISTY MOUNTAINS. Low cloud and mist was not a particularly auspicious start for a full day of tramping.

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CANOPY CLOUD. Morning mist drifts across the forest canopy.

Caples Valley, Mount Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

GRANDEUR. The Caples River drains the Ailsa Mountains, Mt Aspiring National Park.

Hikers in the Caples Valley, Mount Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

CAPLES CONVOY. Hiking through the Caples Valley on the way to McKellar Saddle.

Crystal clear waters of the Caples River, Mount Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

PRISTINE. The crystal clear glacial waters of the Caples River – home to some decent sized brown trout. Next time I’ll bring my fishing rod …. and scare them all away!…

The Caples Valley, Mount Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

FRAMED. The Caples Valley, Mount Aspiring National Park.

The Caples River, Mount Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

SPARKLING WATER. Sun glints off the waters of the Caples River.

New Zealand robin bird, Mount Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

MAKING FRIENDS. A young New Zealand robin follows us through the bush.

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STRIKE A POSE. A mature male robin.

The Caples Track sidles through the lush green beech forest of Mount Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

LUSH. The Caples Track sidles through the lush green beech forest of Mt Aspiring National Park.

An alpine stream on the Greenstone - Caples Track, Mount Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

FAIRYLAND. Small creeks cascade across the track on the climb up to McKellar Saddle.

Mountain reflections in an alpine tarn at McKellar Saddle, Greenstone - Caples Track, Mount Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

McKELLAR. A view worthy of the 16km uphill hike – McKellar Saddle did not disappoint and neither did the weather!

McKellar Saddle, Greenstone - Caples Track, Mount Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

JEAN BATTEN PEAK. Rugged views on McKellar Saddle.

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BUSHLINE. Jean Batten Peak dominates the view at McKellar Saddle on the Greenstone – Caples Track.

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IN REFLECTIVE MOOD. The Ailsa Mountains reflected in an alpine tarn at McKellar Saddle.

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DIVERSE. Wetlands, rainforest, waterfalls, ice and rugged peaks make up the diverse landscape of McKellar Saddle.

Alpine wetlands at McKellar Saddle, Greenstone - Caples Track, Mount Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

WETLAND. The alpine wetlands of McKellar Saddle.

Reflections in an alpine tarn at McKellar Saddle, Greenstone - Caples Track, Mount Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

PANORAMIC. McKellar Saddle in all its glory on a fabulous spring day.

 

An alpine tarn at McKellar Saddle, Greenstone - Caples Track, Mount Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

LAYERS. The diversity of the landscape at McKellar Saddle – from snow clad peaks to rainforest and alpine wetlands.

Hikers on McKellar Saddle, Greenstone - Caples Track, Mount Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

THE LONG WALK. 16km up means another 16km back down to Mid Caples Hut.

Alpine panorama from McKellar Saddle, Greenstone - Caples Track, Mount Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

ALPINE VISTA. The distinct u-shape of the glacial carved Caples Valley.

The Caples Valley seen from McKellar Saddle, Greenstone - Caples Track, Mount Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

Native beech forest, Caples River, Mount Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

VALLEY VIEWS. Beech forest lines the banks of the Caples River with views across the Humboldt Mountains behind.

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OLD MAN’S BEARD. Lichen clad beech trees in the Caples Valley.

View from Mid Caples Hut on Greenstone - Caples Track, Mount Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

ROOM WITH A VIEW. The mountain panorama from Mid Caples Hut.

Evening shadows fall across the Southern Alps from Mid Caples Hut on Greenstone - Caples Track, Mount Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

SHADOWLAND. Evening shadows fall across the Southern Alps at Mid Caples Hut.

Icebergs in the Tasman Glacier Lake, Mount Cook, New Zealand

VANISHING LAND

Landscapes, Mountains, Walking & Hiking

Aoraki | Mount Cook National Park is home to the largest remaining glaciers in New Zealand’s Southern Alps, but if you want to see them for yourself, you’d best get there quick!

When a bucket list trip to ski the Tasman Glacier turned to custard due to wild weather, it provided the chance to explore the spectacular Hooker and Tasman valleys. Today, the end of both these valleys are marked with large glacial lakes which even offer boat trips to tourists to get up close to the huge icebergs that drift in the icy waters, but as little as 30 years ago these lakes did not exist. It’s a stark reminder that there may be little left of these giants in another 30 years, and fine excuse to spend the day taking photos!

Ice blue glaciers on Mount Sefton, Mount Cook National Park

THE WALL. A wall of blue glacial ice on Mount Sefton – an impressive view from our motel window at Mt Cook Village.

Sunburst over Mount Cook, NZ

SUNBURST. Morning sun lights up Aoraki | Mount Cook at the head of the Hooker Valley,

Glacial ice on Mt Sefton, Mount Cook National Park, NZ

SCULPTED. Glacial blue ice on the flanks of Mt Sefton.

Fluting on Mount Cook, NZ

FLUTES. Fluting on Mount Cook – created as melt water forms channels in snow and ice.

Aoraki Mount Cook, NZ

THE CLOUD PIERCER. Aoraki | Mount Cook (3,724m).

Icebergs in the Hooker Glacier Lake, Mount Cook, New Zealand

BERGLAND. Icebergs carved from the face of the Hooker Glacier litter the Hooker Lake with Aoraki | Mt Cook shrouded in clouds in the background.

Hooker Glacier, Aoraki Mount Cook, NZ

TERMINUS. The abrupt blue ice cliffs that mark the furthest reaches of the ever retreating Hooker Glacier.

Hooker Glacier Lake, Aoraki Mount Cook, NZ

CARVED. Mt Cook at the head of the Hooker Valley, carved by millennia’s of ice.

Mt Sefton & Mueller Lake, Aoraki Mount Cook, NZ

WILDERNESS. Wild weather & landscapes, Mueller Lake & Mt Sefton shrouded in cloud.

Hooker River, Aoraki Mount Cook, NZ

RUMBLING THUNDER. The Hooker River drains the meltwater from the Hooker & Mueller Glaciers.

Aoraki Mount Cook, New Zealand

AORAKI | MOUNT COOK. Evening sun lights up summit of NZ’s highest peak.

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TASMAN PANORAMA. Evening sunlight glints off the icebergs floating in the Tasman Glacier Lake.

Icebergs in the Tasman Glacier Lake, Mount Cook, New Zealand

ICE BLUE. Wind blown icebergs congregate downwind at the outlet of the Tasman Lake, Mt Cook National Park.

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RETREATING WORLD. It’s only within living memory that the Tasman and Hooker Lakes have formed. As little as 30 years ago these vast lakes were still part of the glaciers of the Southern Alps.

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GRANDSTAND OF ICE. Tasman Lake, Mt Cook National Park.

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SHAPED BY NATURE.

Icebergs on Tasman Lake, Aoraki Mount Cook, NZ

ICE GALLERY. Wind blown, floating icebergs form a gallery of blue sculptures on Tasman Lake

The Milky Way over Mt Cook Village New Zealand

SOUTHERN SKIES. The Milky Way over Mt Cook Village.

Broken River Ski Area, New Zealand

The Nutcracker Suite

Adventure, Mountains, Skiing

They promised a unique alternative for adventurous off-piste skiers looking for no-frills fun in the snow, they said it would be skiing like it used to be in the ‘good old days’, before mammoth queues, impersonal crowds… oh, and chairlifts…

Managed by a club and a handful of passionate locals, you can forget chairlifts and lift queues at New Zealand’s Clubbies, but should instead think rope tows, powered by old tractors, and access to some of the best ski terrain in New Zealand.

But, access to the Clubbies’ uncrowded slopes and epic terrain must be earned. First are the access roads – unsealed, narrow, exposed and frequently icy with the fitting of snow chains usually essential. Then, once on the mountain, comes the challenge of mastering the ‘nutcracker’ to ride up the rope tows.

For the uninitiated, a nutcracker lift basically consists of a moving rope that passes through a series of pulleys to which skiers fix themselves using a metal contraption that’s connected to an old leather belt worn around their waist. The metal clamp is nutcracker shaped – nothing to do with injury risks to male skiers – and takes quite a knack to master.

Skiing the Clubbies had been at the top of our to-do-list for a long time and once we finally got around to a week-long road trip this August, they really lived up to their promise of adventure, albeit with the regular requirement for a good ‘Plan B’….

The Lindis Pass, Mackenzie Country, Canterbury, New Zealand

ROAD TRIPPIN’. The Lindis Pass, gateway to MacKenzie Country & the Canterbury Ski Club Fields

Storm clouds over the Southern Alps, Mackenzie Country, Canterbury, New Zealand

STORM CHASING. A huge front envelopes the mountains around Ohau Ski Area where we had planned to ski… time for a Plan B.

The Southern Alps, Mackenzie Country, Canterbury, New Zealand

MACKENZIE. The distinctive landscape of the Mackenzie Country – named after a notorious sheep rustler!

The Southern Alps, Roundhill Ski Area, Canterbury, New Zealand

PLAN B. With storm clouds spilling over the Main Divide, Roundhill Ski Area provided a weather window for an afternoon of fantastic skiing and a great start to our trip.

Nutcracker Rope Tow, Roundhill Ski Area, Canterbury, New Zealand

THE WALL. The World’s longest (1.5km) and steepest rope tow was quite the challenge for our first ‘nutcracker’ lift experience!!

Roundhill Ski Area, Canterbury, New Zealand

WEATHER WINDOW. Blue skies over Roundhill as the storm clouds roll in across Mt Cook and the Southern Alps.

A skier at Roundhill Ski Area, Canterbury, New Zealand

SCOPING LINES. Raewyn picks her route down “The Wall” at Roundhill.

Skiers at Roundhill Ski Area, Canterbury, New Zealand

INCOMING. The storm closes in at the end of a great afternoon at Roundhill.

Fox Peak Ski Area, Canterbury, New Zealand

WANTING BUT NOT GETTING. With over 1m of fresh new snow we were desperate for Fox Peak (pictured) or Dobson Ski Areas to open – but a long, slow dig-out and more bad weather kept us grounded and eating pies in Fairlie all day (not such a bad plan B)…

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THE BIG WET. The road trip through the Canterbury Plains had more than a few challenges – beginning with some quite Biblical flooding for kilometre after kilometre….

Road snowfall New Zealand

BLIZZARD. From rain to snow, but things were beginning to look very promising for the ski fields…

Castle Rocks covered in snow and reflected in a tarn

CASTLE ROCKS. The unusually low snow made exploring through the rocks fun, with the added excitement of treating and evacuating a snowboarder who had broken his leg!

Driving to Porter Heights Ski Area, Canterbury, New Zealand

ANTICIPATION. Driving up to Porter Heights Ski Area on a bluebird powder day with 50-60cm of fresh snow waiting for us.

Powder Day at Porter Heights Ski Area, Canterbury, New Zealand

POWDER DAY. This is what we came for!! Fresh tracks at Porters.

Skier on a Powder Day at Porter Heights Ski Area, Canterbury, New Zealand

COLD SMOKE. Rae scores fresh tracks at Porters.

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BIG MAMA. Top to bottom with no stops, a brutal leg burner! (Rod, you owe me a bottle of whisky)!

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POW @ PORTERS

Southern Alps and Lake Coleridge views from Porter Heights Ski Area, Canterbury, New Zealand

ICE | LAND. The spectacular view across Lake Coleridge & the Southern Alps from the summit of Porter Heights. (Digging myself out of the snow drift after taking this photo was quite the challenge)! 

Skier in powder snow at Porter Heights Ski Area New Zealand

BOOT DEEP & DRY! Porter Heights delivering the goods.

Tyndall Tramway, Broken River Ski Area, Canterbury, New Zealand

BROKEN. The [broken] tramway which takes skiers from the car park to base area at Broken River Ski Area… Time for a contingency plan…

A skier hikes through the forest at Broken River Ski Area, New Zealand

EARNING OUR TURNS. With the tram from the car park to the Broken River base area out of action there was no other option than to hike up through the forest. 

Stairs to Broken River Ski Area, New Zealand

STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN. Following the forest hike, there was just the small hurdle of 200 steps to reach the access lift at Broken River.

Skier at Broken River Ski Area, New Zealand

FRESHIES. Broken River turning it on.

Skier at Broken River Ski Area, Canterbury, New Zealand

NO FRIENDS ON A POWDER DAY. Proof in point… all day freshies in Allan’s Basin at Broken River. The hike was totally worth it!

Skiers at Broken River Ski Area, Canterbury, New Zealand

SUMMIT STYLE. Dismounting the Ridgeline Rope Tow and climbing to the summit at Broken River.

View from Broken River Ski Area, Canterbury, New Zealand

FLOCK HILL. Magnificent views from Broken River.

Avalanche chutes cut a swathe through the native beech forest flanking the Craigieburn Range. Canterbury, New Zealand

CHUTES. Avalanche chutes cut a swathe through the native beech forest flanking the Craigieburn Range.

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NUTCRACKERS & KNACKERED. The end of a full day and full body workout at Broken River!

Skier at Broken River Ski Area, New Zealand

WALK OUT. Hiking down from Broken River at the end of an epic day.

Double Rainbow, over the Southern Alps New Zealand

FINDING GOLD. Following two fantastic ski days the weather closed in again forcing the ski areas to close. Time for a plan B, again….

Scrabble and red wine in front of the fire

COSY. With the ski areas closed due to bad weather, we were forced to actually relax on holiday!

Hiking in the Craigieburn Valley, Canterbury New Zealand

GONE WALKABOUT. Wind kept the ski areas closed for another day, but it was great weather for a hike lower down in the Craigieburn Valley.

A hiker next to a mountain creek, Craigieburn NZ

FOREST CASCADE. The aptly named Waterfall Creek in the foothills of the Craigieburn Range.

The Milky Way, Castle Hill, Canterbury, New Zealand

HEAVENS ABOVE. The Milky Way stretches out across the night sky above our base at Castle Hill.

The night sky over the Torlesse Range, Castle Hill, New Zealand

GOLDEN GLOW. The night sky over the tussocks of the Torlesse Range, Castle Hill.

The Milky Way, Castle Hill, New Zealand

TO INFINITY, AND BEYOND!….

A skier at Craigieburn Valley Ski Area, Canterbury, New Zealand

CRANKIN’ AT CRAIGIEBURN. After 2-days of wind & rain we were worried that conditions at Craigieburn Valley Ski Club would be marginal, at best, but the rain had smoothly groomed the slopes and with 10cms of fresh new snow we had perfect, creamy conditions from top to bottom!

Skier at Craigieburn Valley Ski Area, Canterbury, New Zealand

SOLITUDE. Creamy snow from top to bottom and almost the entire mountain to ourselves. Craigieburn Valley Ski Club… on a Saturday!!

Skiers at Craigieburn Valley Ski Area, Canterbury, New Zealand

UNTRACKED. Fresh lines at Craigieburn.

A glider at Craigieburn Valley Ski Area, Canterbury, New Zealand

SOAR. The vast shadow of this low flying glider fell across me as I traversed around a bluff, and for a moment I thought the Haast Eagle had come back from the dead! The glider did several laps around the ski field no more than 20-30m off the ground – an incredible sight.

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SKIMMING SUMMITS

Skier on a forest track, Craigieburn, New Zealand

NEW ZEALAND TREE SKIING. Following the forest track down to the base at Craigieburn at the end of four amazing days and a wonderful introduction to the Canterbury Clubbies.

Kayaking on the West Coast of New Zealand

WESTLAND WINTER

Adventure, Mountains, Walking & Hiking

Winter on the West Coast is hard to beat. Clear blue skies, panoramic views of Aoraki Mount Cook & the Southern Alps, relatively few tourists and mercifully few sand flies…

Early winter can be a SAD* time of year in Wanaka. The ski fields are waiting for the first snowfalls of winter to arrive and a low, damp, cold layer of inversion cloud can hang over the lake and hide the sun for days on end. It’s the ideal time to get out of town on a  road trip to find some blue skies, and a pilgrimage across to the West Coast is becoming an annual tradition for us….

*Seasonal Affective Disorder

Road on the coastal West Coast of New Zealand passes through forest

SH6 – The Haast Highway – cuts through ancient coastal podocarp rainforest

West Coast New Zealand Coastal Forest

Beach | Forest

Hectors Dolphins West Coast New Zealand

Hanging out with the locals – a pod of Hector’s Dolphins catch a wave at Ship Creek. These are amongst the smallest and rarest species of dolphin in the world.

West Coast Beach New Zealand

The Wild West Coast, Ship Creek.

Reflections in a lagoon on West Coast NZ

Okarito Lagoon in reflective mood

White heron West Coast NZ

GONE FISHING… A white heron focused on the job in hand

Sunset and waves West Coast New Zealand

Light shafts at sunset.

West Coast Beach New Zealand Long Exposure

Watching the sun go down, West Coast NZ (long exposure)

Misty Mountains Southern Alps NZ

An easterly flow spills cloud over the Southern Alps – clagged in back home in Wanaka!

West Coast Beach New Zealand

SURF’S UP. The wild, rugged West Coast

A bridge spans a lagoon on the West Coast of New Zealand

Three Mile Lagoon

Forest reflections West Coast New Zealand

Podocarp forest flanking Three Mile Lagoon

Forest reflections West Coast New Zealand

Podocarp forest reflections in Three Mile Lagoon, with easterly clouds spilling over the Main Divide (cloudy in Wanaka)!

West Coast Beach NZ with views of Southern Alps

Classic West Coast

West Coast beach New Zealand

Frothing.

Oystercatcher on beach

Foam bath. A variable oystercatcher hunts for shellfish on the tide line

Sunset West Coast New Zealand

Orange glow

Moonlight reflections, Okarito Beach

Moonlight reflections, Okarito Beach

Kayaking West Coast New Zealand

Slicing through the glassy water of Okarito Lagoon

Kayaking on Okarito Lagoon, West Coast New Zealand

Tranquility.

Mount Cook

Aoraki, the cloud piercer.

Mount Cook reflections on West Coast

Ocean | Rainforest | Ice | Rock

Kayaking West Coast NZ

Into the wild…. Kayaking up the Okarito River

Kayaking on the West Coast of NZ

Thorney looking pirates!

Kayaking on the West Coast with views of Mt Cook, West Coast New Zealand

Winter on the West Coast. Magnificent.

Kayaking on the West Coast of New Zealand

Glassy.

Kayaking on the West Coast of NZ with views of Mount Cook, NZ

Ocean to Alps. Kayaking on the glassy water of Okarito Lagoon.

Haast Pass Highway Mt Aspiring National Park

Homeward bound. The Haast Highway cuts a swathe through Mount Aspiring National Park.

 

Treble Cone ski area view over Lake Wanaka New Zealand

ON SNOW IN JULY, YOU CAN RELY…

Adventure, Mountains, Skiing

Anticipation for the ski season starts early in Wanaka with every autumnal snow flurry heralded as an omen of the winter to come by novice skiing soothsayers. But the locals know differently. Spend more than a season in Wanaka, and you’ll soon learn that, “snow in May doesn’t stay”; that “snow in June is too soon; but “on snow in July, you can rely”!….

And, boy, did July deliver for the 2017 season. Although slightly later than scheduled, Treble Cone opened to blue skies, short queues and a powder day! Regular, but modest snowfalls with cold temperatures have kept the snow in great condition and I think we’ve notched up more ski days this July than ever before including a few days ski-touring in the TC side-country.

Given TC normally saves its best conditions for August and September, we can’t wait to see what the next couple of months deliver. Bring it on!

Skier at Treble Cone Ski Area Wanaka New Zealand

Wannabe cover shot. Clancy telemarking on Opening Day. It doesn’t get much better.

Skier at Treble Cone Ski Area Wanaka New Zealand

Shredding cords on Main Street. Opening Day.

Sunrise over Lake Wanaka seen from Treble Cone

Securing a car park is not the only reason to get up to Treble Cone early in the morning…

Treble Cone Lake Wanaka View

Mountain Road. The pilgrimage up to Treble Cone on a misty morning.

Ski touring Treble Cone Wanaka New Zealand

Raewyn, Georgia & Andy earning the turns in the TC backcountry

Skier Treble Cone Wanaka New Zealand

Early season freshies on one of several bluebird powder days!

Ski touring Treble Cone Wanaka New Zealand

Backcountry ski-touring above the clouds

Skier Treble Cone Wanaka New Zealand

A short hike from the Saddle Chairlift usually results in freshies! Another bluebird powder day in July!

Ski touring Treble Cone Wanaka New Zealand

Trail blazing. Skinning up Towers Ridge.

Skier Treble Cone Wanaka New Zealand

The hike was worth it! Rae scoring fresh tracks after a hike up Towers Ridge, TC backcountry

Ski touring Treble Cone Wanaka New Zealand

Earning the turns….

Matukituki Valley Treble Cone Wanaka New Zealand

A bluebird day in the Matukituki Valley

Black Peak & Mt Aspiring Southern Alps New Zealand

Black Peak and Mount Aspiring (3,033m), dominate the skyline of the Matukituki Valley.

Skiing Treble Cone Wanaka New Zealand

Skiing can sometimes be secondary to enjoying the view. Matukituki Valley, Treble Cone.

Skiing Treble Cone Wanaka New Zealand

Yours truly on the wrong side of the camera in the shadow of Mount Aspiring in the Matukituki Valley

Treble Cone ski area view over Lake Wanaka New Zealand

Lee scopes a line in the Matukituki Valley

St Bathans Mountains New Zealand

The St Bathan’s Range rises proudly above the cloud and is the dramatic backdrop to that TC view. I’ll ski it one day….

Treble Cone Ski Area Wanaka New Zealand

Above the inversion layer. A drive up to TC is a good good way to find some sun when it’s frigid & gloomy in town.

Treble Cone Ski Area Wanaka New Zealand

Rite of Passage – hiking to the TC Summit on a powder day.

Southern Alps Wanaka New Zealand

The view from the Summit looking back behind Treble Cone is not bad either… NZ’s Southern Alps in all their winter glory.

Skier at Treble Cone Lake Wanaka New Zealand

Clancy finding the goods on a bluebird powder day.

Kea Mount Aspiring Wanaka New Zealand

Treble Cone Icons. A kea and Mount Aspiring

Kea mountain parrot and Black Peak

On the charge – an inquisitive kea hops across to check out its reflection in my shiny new camera lens

Kea and Black Peak Wanaka New Zealand

The king surveys his kingdom.

Glendhu Bay Lake Wanaka Mountain Reflections

The drive home from Treble Cone can also be easy on the eye. Mirror-like reflections at Glendhu Bay, Lake Wanaka.

Southern Alps Sunset Wanaka New Zealand

The view over Black Peak & Treble Cone at sunset seen from our bedroom window – also an ideal vantage point for the “no BS” TC weather report in the morning!