Monday, 28 April 2008


Being a long weekend, we took the chance to head west to visit our son C in Haast, South Westland. On the way we stopped at a picnic spot by Lake Dunstan to have a coffee from the thermos. On the banks the poplars and willows were nearing their peak of autumn colouring.

There is a marked difference between the dry, autumn tinted landscape of Central Otago and the green of the West Coast. Once we reached Makarora, it was only a matter of minutes and we'd gone from brown and umber, to deep jades.

C was away fishing when we arrived, but the owner of the house where he boards made us welcome. C arrived a bit later with crays and blue cod.

Pungas ( a type of giant fern) like these are a common feature on the West Coast.

ABM and I went for a walk down the track to the small bay. It looks idyllic - and is - but the photo doesn't show the sandflies (a bit like midges) that feasted on any exposed flesh (hands and ankles mainly.) We were obviously fresh meat!

These large trees are called kahikateas and are incredible for their hosting of other plants and trees - their tall trunks festooned with vines, roots and berries of other plants and trees. Our walk through a kahikatea forest was an amazing experience. Usually it's birds that impress me, but it turned out to be the trees this time.
Sadly there are fewer and fewer birds because of introduced pests such as stoats, ferrets, possums and rats. C works for DOC who work real hard trying to eradicate these predators.

Tussock is being trained to seek out and lead his owner to protected kiwi in a block of native forest. He's holds a stick in his mouth that he hopes someone will throw for him to fetch. He lives to fetch.

On the way back home it was back into the autumn colours ...

ABM took this photo of the sun as it slipped out of view behind Lake Wanaka.

We spent the night in Cromwell, driving away from there through a misty morning.

A wonderful weekend. C said, come back and stay longer next time. We will. Whitebaiting season sounds like a good plan ...


Catherine said...

Lovely. Autumn in Central Otago is the best, especially around Arrowtown, although Christchurch is beginning to look quite colourful too - all those English trees the early settlers planted.

rel said...

Thanks for sharing. I like best, both the Pungas fern and the kahikateas tree. I make friends with trees very easily.

Anonymous said...

wow! stunning photos!
how beautiful autumn is in NZ isn't it? i am missing my homeland at the moment - even though it's finally starting to warm up in London. it's just not the same as home...

it's great seeing such beautiful photos - thankyou

Joyce Ellen Davis said...

Thanks for the morning trip! It was a good one! Glad you had a nice time. The first week in June we are taking off for Minnesota to see my son C--you can come, too!

by kd said...

Thanks Chief! Your posts are like mini holidays. It makes me look forward to 2009, when JD & me will be zooming around Central at this time of year.

Anne Camille said...

Thanks for the photo tour! Beautiful pictures. As I've been observing the trees here bud & bloom (flowering trees are at their peak right now), I keep thinking how, supposedly, the color in the leaves is there all the time, we just can't see it because of the chlorophyll. It's fun to think about what a tree will look like in 6 months. How different it is.

What is DOC? In the States this would mean Dept of Corrections (e.g., prisons). I'm sure some who work there would think that they are eradicating rats and ferrets and other predators -- metaphorically speaking, that is.

Mama Llama said...

Wow. The splendors of the season change always invoke in me such respect for Mother Nature.

I'm so glad you had such a wonderful time with your sons! Beautiful photos, as always. Thank you for sharing!

Be well, Chief.

Pam in Tucson said...

What a lovely trip! It's a gift to us desert types to experience your warm autumn colours and the lush greens. And the misty morning is quite ethereal. So happy that you had such a grand time.

Pam in Tucson said...

What a lovely trip! It's a gift to us desert types to experience your warm autumn colours and the lush greens. And the misty morning is quite ethereal. So happy that you had such a grand time.

Unknown said...

Hi CB, really enjoyed all the pictures. Sorry to hear they didn't pick your poem - I recognised it from your collection and I loved the nostalgia it brought to me, in thinking of my own mother and grandmother's separate contraptions for 'hoovering'. The fact that it was mentioned in the Intro, does mean it might have come close, though - still!
I love the clarity you achieve with your photos - just like your poems :)

Avus said...

Well this has decided us! We are going over to Oz to see our daughter (HHnB)next March and were wondering what NZ would be like for 4 weeks in March/April (have only experienced your springs - which were pretty damned good).
So - NZ in April 2009 here we come!
Thanks Chief.

Di Mackey said...

I used to live in Cromwell, so the homesickness hit from the first photograph but more than than, I LOVED the drive to the West Coast.

Thank you SO MUCH for posting your trip. I loved it, despite the first 'Ufff!' and 'Gert, you must come look!'


Kay Cooke said...

catherine- Arrowtown does take a lot to beat for autumn colours.

rel - trees - aah!

leonie - my pleasure to make you homesick. :)

pepek - Ooh goody - a trip! Thanks. I'm looking forward to it. :)

kd - Can't wait to see you guys!

cam - DOC is Dept of Conservation! I'll have to remember it has another meaning in the US!
Thanks for your insights into the make-up of trees ... fascinating ...

mapi - LOVED your photos too.

pam - I'm just happy to reciprocate.

cailleach - Too many better poets in NZ ... but as you say, I'm happy to be mentioned by a generous selector (who didn't have to mention the ones she only looked at ... :) All is good! Life is oh so much much more than being noticed!

avus - Wow! That is so exciting. And you mustn't pass through without dropping in - I can even bake a cake as you've given me lots of notice! (There's also room at our place to stay if you want.)

di - Sorry ... I think. You'll make it back soon - I just know it.

Anonymous said...

Yours is a beautiful country of such contrasts. I love your photos. You bring the same qualities to your photography as you do to your poetry.

Thank you for all your support during NaPoWriMo - just one to go now. Tomorrow I'm off to stay with my eldest in Switzerland for 10 days

kj said...

wow--that first photo is as beautiful as any spot of the planet could ever be.

it is such a treat to follow along on your vacation and with you and your family. i've put new zealand on my travel list just because of you. perhaps you might consider new england as well?


Becky Willis Motew said...

WOW, CB, you have really outdone yourself here. Your photos are mesmerizing. And what a handsome son you and ABM have turned is good.


Joyce Ellen Davis said...

And, ...what is "whitebaiting?"

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

That is SO beautiful.
It makes me smile to think you are having fall right now... everything here is blossoming with the hint of spring...
I'd say promise, but it's snowing a blizzard today.

I always love wandering through your photos... they take me right with you, to see things as you see them, and you see things in a wonderful way.

Thank you, the tour was lovely, as always.

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

Bee said...

I am visiting you from England -- via Bombay.

It is almost indescribably lovely to look at your landscapes . . . as I have been relishing and describing my own (adopted)landscape today.

I remain amazed by the power of blogging linkage . . . that I can find a person on the other side of the world who also loves Joni Mitchell (I have been listening to "Travelogue" all week) and Jane Siberry.

Kay Cooke said...

carole - I enjoyed your spate of poetry through April - so the pleasure was all ine!

kj - I am so glad NZ is now on your list. :) New England's always been on mine!

becky - Thanks so much - he is isn't he?

pepek - They are tiny fish. I will elucidate when the season arrives.

scarlett - What a wonderful world - to quote Satchmo.

bee - Welcome Bee. A wonderful world indeed.

Omykiss said...

Hello gemma .. lovely pics .. lucky you went when you did ... I think you've got snow down there now, haven't you?

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

I love Satchmo, and I sing that song regularly.


Scarlett & V.

Anonymous said...

Incredible contrast - it looks like you're going from somewhere coolly temperate to somewhere almost subtropical. I am going to have to go to New Zealand some day - I keep seeing so much, and the more I see the more I like!

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