Sunday, December 10, 2017

... to North Central Otago

Inspired by some IG photos of St Bathan's, on the third day of the long long weekend, I headed south from Oamaru to Palmerston and then inland to North Central Otago.

NZ's goldrush happened in the 1860s so there are a lot of historic buildings down that way. Central Otago is now known for the 'rail trail' were people ride bikes for days alongside disused railway lines. Rather them than me. I detoured to Naseby on my way back and it's reinvented itself as a mountain biking destination. It turns out my sister-in-law's grandparents used to live in Naseby.

Like the day before, my final destination was a let down because it was blowing a gale at St Bathan's which whipped up the water, and the sky was grey. Next time!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

... Clay Cliffs, Omarama

To reach the Clay Cliffs outside Omarama you take a shingle road. The most corrugated road I have ever driven is the one to Bodie State Park, in the wops of California. The road to the Clay Cliffs of Omarama is the second most corrugated road I have ever driven. And there was a fair amount of traffic on it too.

I felt quite underwhelmed by the cliffs. They don't compare to the beautiful national parks of the southwest USA. And they are probably not supposed to. But I had in my head beautiful blue sky and 'red' rock formations like Arches and Bryce. Nope.

I got to Omarama via the settlement of Earthquakes.There I climbed (as in walked up a steep hill) to see some fossilised whale bones.

On my way to Omarama I thanked the South Island for all the electricity they generate for the North Island as I drove around Lake Aviemore to Benmore.

Returning through Kurow I thought this garage below possibly has the best paint job in the whole of NZ.

And I loved these Oamaru stone figures just coming into Kurow overlooking the memorial oak trees. 400 oak trees were planted in 1919 to commemorate the locals who did not return home after the first World War. You can read more about the commemorative oaks here.

So while the Clay Cliffs were underwhelming, I found lots of interesting and scenic phototunities on the way there and back.

Monday, November 27, 2017

... to Elephant Rocks

Elephant Rocks are in a privately owned paddock on the Island Cliff - Duntroon Road in the Maerewhenua Valley. You can't see much from the road and could easily drive straight past this impressive display of local limestone.

After a one minute wander through the paddock, free of livestock, still wondering that was going to appear, the paddock opened into a big, wide and low bowl of green grass and limestone.

None of the rocks resembled elephants. Some looked like hippos and some like crocodile heads.

It was a very quiet and serene place to wander around taking photos. It was another New Zealand is really beautiful moment for me. I was glad I stopped for a visit.

Friday, November 24, 2017

... to Weston and Ngapara, Waitaki District

On the second day of my long weekend away, I ventured inland to the clay cliffs at Omarama. While the clay cliffs were underwhelming, there were lots of phototunities along the way. 

I went inland via the Weston Ngapara Road. The first phototunity came at Weston. Weston has a beautiful Oamaru stone hall built in 1890 and just around the corner from that a lovely old church. The corrugated iron fence between the church and its neighbour had been turned into a graffiti board for local youth. It was horrible and quite a juxtaposition to the lovely church. In my experience very few children are into graffiti or tagging. I couldn't name one from the 46 Yr 9 children I teach. It's such a stereotyped view of youth!

A few kilometres up the road and literally on the side of the road in Ngapara, I came across the vibrant Milligan's Eclipse flour mill built in 1896. I assumed it was an abandoned building, but it is still in use. Not for flour but for animal nutrition products. There is an article about the change in use here. Those 'bricks' are thick. The windows are inset about 30cm. 

Then I came across another beautiful community - memorial hall. I love the colours and the straightlines. In the second photo you can see the chimney. Imagine the inside with a roaring fire going. I did not love the dog that came running out of the neighbour's place to see what I was doing. I was glad it ran on down the road to visit someone else!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

... to Kakanui

My final stop before getting in to Oamaru was Kakanui. Apparently, it was once a bustling port. It's not now. Blame the railway and the invention of frozen meat exports. However, there is a nice old church still standing from 1870. That's old in NZ.

And thus my journey from Dunedin Airport to Oamaru was almost complete. It is a distance of 140km. Google says that will take 1 hour and 50 minutes. It took me close to six hours. It was all so scenic.

Friday, November 17, 2017

... to Moeraki

When my cousin Kell and I did a bottom of the South Island road trip a few years back, it was very cool to finally get to Moeraki. And the boulders were a deliberate stop on this trip too. Primarily, to practise my long exposure photography. I have seen some beautiful sunrise long exposure shots on instagram of the boulders. I learnt on this visit that when the waves come in the tripod starts to sink into the sand.

My feet got a bit wet in the process.

Monday, November 13, 2017

... to Shag Point/Matakaea

Just up the road from Karitane and 9km east from Palmerston is Shag Point/Matakaea. I had never been there before this Labour Weekend. I like that the Maori name is being used. Whoever suggested Shag Point was severley lacking in imagination.

It was blowing a fair gale. There was a minibus full of international tourists taking selfies and two other keen photographers. They were trying to capture (photographically speaking) a common old seagull. The gulls were hovering in the gales. I also saw a couple of divers in a sea thick with kelp and one big, fat seal basking in the sun amongst the birds. He did look up a couple of times and I did wonder how fast he could swim and 'run' compared to my damaged meniscus affected 'run'. Fortunately, I didn't need to test the belief that I could get away from him if I needed too.