I had another trip to Greymouth last week, accompanying my wife. The weather was fantastic, two more of a succession of ten or so clear days. By West Coast standards we were almost experiencing a drought. I got up well before dawn to do some exploring, around Lake Brunner and the little village of Moana. I got some great shots, but I want to concentrate in this post on a scene that I came upon after I had packed up. I was driving down a hill with a valley in the distance, driving directly into the sun at a place called Te Kinga. Then I saw them: a stand of kahikatea (white pine) trees which the sun had just reached, thick with frost.
Hokitika has a cluster of carvers working with jade, both the local pounamu (Greenstone) and imported jade. One of the larger galleries in the main street is run by Ngati Waewae, the Maori tribe with controlling rights to all pounamu from the Arahura River area (a sub-tribe of Ngai Tahu, who were granted rights to all pounamu as part of their 1997 settlement with the Crown). Another, the Jade Factory, is laid out to encourage customers to watch the carvers at work.
An isolated, beautiful spot on the West Coast, Karamea has its own special microclimate. It’s located on the western edge of the Kahurangi National Park, near the beginning (or end) of the Heaphy Track (one of the great walks of New Zealand). A short walk up the nearby Oparara river takes you to a large limestone arch. The river is brown due to a high concentration of natural organic compounds in the water (tannins etc). Here are some pictures.
First a bush robin that came to see what I was up to: