Tag Archives: vacation

McLean Falls

In one of my first posts from New Zealand, I wrote about our visit to McLean Falls and other places and displayed some photographs from that trip. Over these past six months or so, we’ve driven past the McLean Falls turnoff several times and hadn’t gotten back. There are so many beautiful things to see in the Catlins that we’ve been spreading ourselves around.

 

In early February, we had guests in our home. Coming all of the way from Madison, they felt the need to visit the Catlins, in part because of our raving about it and hopefully because they had viewed some of my photographs. So, we made the trip to McLean Falls and several other places. But, this trip piqued my desire to get back to McLean Falls by myself and really “work” the area.

 

So, a few days later, I dropped the kids off at school and dashed over to McLean Falls. The weather was in my favor – overcast with a slight chance of rain. Excellent lighting for a waterfall and forest where bright sun light can create a lot of high-contrast problems (and opportunities) for outdoor photographers. It takes about an hour to drive from Invercargill to McLean Falls, and then maybe another fifteen minutes to walk up to the main fall. I’m one of these photographers who likes to enjoy these kinds of places all by myself – just like everyone else. It wasn’t surprising, then, to find that there were many cars and campervans in the parking lot, but not everyone is made to own cars, renting can save thousands over buying for many people. And, when I made it to the top, yes, there were several people milling about. This kind of shooting requires a little patience as people move in and out of the places that I want to shoot, as well as some other creative techniques to manage how these people appear (and don’t appear) in my final photographs.

 

It was an excellent, gratifying day at McLean Falls. The weather was pleasant and humid, with hints of threatening rain, but only threatening. There were other visitors milling around the area of the Falls, but there weren’t so many people that it was difficult to shoot. At the top of the McLean Falls walk, you can stand away from the Falls and take in the whole of the Falls. Or, you can be a bit more adventurous and climb some rocks and get closer to the base of the top, and tallest, waterfall. Further down, there are four or five cascades of various height that require some climbing (and slipping) to get into a decent position for a nice photograph. The following gallery provides some flavor of the McLean Falls Conservation Area – quaint, simple, easy and beautiful.

 

 

46 S EnZed signing off…

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Holiday Photo Gallery

At the request of my better half, I’m posting some fun photos that she chose from some of our travels over the past couple of weeks.  You’ll note that there are no rockslide photos in this gallery!

 

And, please remember to view full screen!

 

Enjoy,

 

46 S EnZed signing off…

Posted in New Zealand Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Wanaka Weekend

Yes, today’s entry will be more of a travelogue and I’ll get back to some beautiful pictures in the near future.

 

 

This past weekend, we drove to Arrowtown, Cromwell, Wanaka and home. The weather wasn’t all that pleasant, especially during Friday’s driving, but it slowly improved.

 

 

Panoramic View of Lake Wakatipu, New Zealand (“click” for a larger view)

Arrowtown is a small, historic mining town a few kilometers northeast of Queenstown (and, Queenstown is about two hours north of Invercargill, in the mountains). Arrowtown is definitely some place that we want to return, particularly in the austral autumn. We ate at a fun place (Mondo’s Café) that we’d love to visit again. The main area of town is small and quaint, and the area is surrounded by the Crown Range on the northeast.

 

Panoramic View from Cardrona in the Crown & Criffel Ranges, with the Cardrona River Valley (“click” for a larger view)

 

On Saturday, we drove over to Cromwell and ate breakfast in a coffee shop. Cromwell seems to be a fruit and vegetable growing region, particularly for fruit trees such as apples, pears and the like. Our weather was a bit overcast, but Cromwell is a pleasant town that I hope we’ll visit again when the weather is more pleasant. Cromwell sits on the shores of Lake Dunstan and it must be spectacular to look over this valley from some altitude! After breakfast, we drove up the Clutha River Valley and the beautiful views across the Valley to the Dunstan Range, with the Pisa Range on our left. There were many orchards as we entered and left Cromwell, and the further that we drove from Cromwell, the more sheep that we saw. Did we mention that it’s lambing season here?

 

 

Since the weather was less than wonderful on Saturday, we visited Puzzling World just east of Wanaka. I have to say that I’m not the kind of person who appreciates the normal touristy things (a.k.a., “tourist traps”) that other people enjoy, particularly in places like the Wisconsin Dells, but I did enjoy Puzzling World. First, there was a large maze that we visited. We spent at least an hour “lost” within it, and enjoyed ourselves. I’m also happy to write that I’m the only mouse who earned the cheese! Asta, Aras and Julija bailed out via an emergency exit, while I suffered through ‘til the end! Inside of Puzzling World there was a variety of visual and physical puzzles – oddly tilted rooms, the Ames Room, holograms, and art by some of my favorite artists like M.C. Escher, Rob Gonsalves and Patrick Hughes (I really like Hughes’ work! It’s inspired me since I first saw a couple of his pieces in San Francisco several years ago).

 

 

Crown Terrace Panorama, overlooking the Arrow River, The Remarkables, Frankton and Queentstown (“click” for a larger view)

After Puzzling World, we finally made it to Wanaka and it’s one of the most beautiful towns I’ve ever visited! (I think that I said the same thing about Queenstown.) Another beautiful town located along a lake (Lake Wanaka) and surrounded by mountains. One of the many highlights of the weekend (at least for me) was finally being able to watch the New Zealand national rugby team, The All Blacks, play. The All Blacks are to New Zealand what da Packers are to Wisconsin, so you get the point. I hardly understand rugby – all of it’s nuances, etc. – but my favorite part is the haka. This next link is to the haka from the September 15th, 2012 match against South Africa, which the All Blacks won (I smile every time I watch that video!). (As a side note, I do believe that the Green Bay Packers could benefit from their own haka; it’s pretty easy to imagine Clay Matthews taking the lead!) The Wanaka area and Mt. Aspiring National Park will be a wonderful area to visit (many times?) this coming summer.

 

 

Finally, on Sunday, we ventured to the Cardrona Ski Area that’s about an hour away from Wanaka. I enjoyed Cardrona much more than The Remarkables – I even skied this time! The weather was warm, the sun was shining and clouds were blowing through from time to time. I was feeling pretty good until Julija started skiing circles around me! The drive from Cardrona to Queenstown was absolutely gorgeous, via the Crown Range Road. We’re looking forward to taking this drive again during the summer months.

OK, that’s all for now. It’s time to get back to reality – picking up the kids from school and planning our next trip around beautiful New Zealand.

 

 

46 S EnZed signing off…

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