Photography: New Zealand, Winter 2005
During July, August and September of 2005 I was in Queenstown, on the South Island of New Zealand. Queenstown is often described as an "adventure playground", where activities such as bungee jumps, jetboating, skydiving, paragliding and skiing are available, as well as more sedentary pursuits such as walking and horse riding. The following photos were taken during my stay in New Zealand.
Queenstown and its suburbs are situated 300 meters above sea level, on the shores of lake Wakatipu, at the foot of Queenstown Hill. The hill rises to a height of some 900 meters, and overlooks much of the lake, as well as the Shotover and Kawarau valleys and the broad plain which stretches 20 km East to the Crown Range. One afternoon, I walked up Queenstown hill, and took several photos of the surrounding landscapes.
View from Queenstown Hill. Bowen peak is to the left, and Mount Aspiring is visible in the distance, just right of centre.
Ben Lomond (left) and Bowen peak (right) from Queenstown Hill. At 1748 meters, Ben Lomond is has commanding views of the southern and central parts of lake Wakatipu, and owing to its position directly above Queenstown, is one of the more popular day walks in the area.
View from Queenstown hill over the Shotover river towards the Crown Range.
View from Queenstown Hill towards Coronet Peak (top left). Coronet Peak is one of the two ski fields near Queenstown, the other being the Remarkables.
View from behind Coronet Peak, looking towards Skipper's canyon and Mount Aspiring (far top right).
View from Queenstown Hill towards the Remarkables (left). Double cone, the highest point in the Remarkables (2319 meters) is also the highest mountain on lake Wakatipu.
Lake Wakatipu is the third largest lake in New Zealand. The lake has a peculiar dog-leg, with three sections of approximately equal length. Because of this unusual shape, it has a 'tide' (more correctly an unusually large seiche), which rises and falls by about 10 cm every 25 minutes or so.
View over the southern part of lake Wakatipu from Queenstown Hill. The small suburb of Kelvin Heights is visible in the centre of the picture, at the base of Peninsula Hill.
Golfers enjoy an unseasonably warm afternoon in early September, at Kelvin Peninsula Golf Course. The view is West along the central part of the lake.
The lake's only steamship, the TSS Ernslaw, is just visible crossing the lake in this view, looking West from the beach near Kelvin Heights.
The Sun sinks over the central part of lake Wakatipu. Kelvin Heights is visible bottom right, as is the golf course.
The view South from Peninsula Hill.
Lake Wakatipu and Cecil Peak from Drift Bay, at the foot of the Remarkables (south of Peninsula Hill).
View North from near the southern tip of the lake.
Past the southern tip of the lake, the valley opens out into a broad plain, with lower, more rounded mountains to either side. In this view and the accompanying detail, a flock of seagulls fly over a sheep field.
The west coast of New Zealand's South Island is radically different from the more eastern areas. Because of their geographical location, and because the southern alps rise to the west, the west coast catches more rain than most places in the world. This higher level of precipitation and the sudden drop from the mountains into the sea meant that during the ice age the glaciers were exceptionally deep and fast-moving, carving out deep fjords and glacial valleys. Now that the glaciers have retreated, the same rainfall gives rise to a temperate rainforest down the length of this isolated coast. Of the fjords, the most famous is undoubtedly the world-renowned Milford Sound.
Mitre Peak (1690 meters) has become a New Zealand icon. The above two views taken from the bandwagon.
In winter, on the peaks around this area, the heavy rainfall piles up enourmous quantities of snow, which give rise to huge glaciers and equally impressive avalanches throughout the high valleys of Fjordland National Park.
The Kea is the world's only alpine parrot. These playful birds are known for eating just about anything they can get their beaks on, including the rubber sealant which holds car windscreens in place!
Milford Sound is surrounded by glacial valleys, and with its high rainfall, it plays host to literally thousands of waterfalls. Of these, only two are permanent features of the Fjord. The largest, Bowen falls (pictured here first), can be approached on foot from the dock at Milford.