Crash

The sea was angry that day, my friends. Like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli.

Kangaroos in the Rain

I bought a new tent. And a new sleeping mat. I made plans. I was going to camp and photograph my way down the NSW Mid-North Coast. The weather had other ideas. So, in the end, I drove to Newcastle and visited my parents.

Today, I began the drive home, choosing to take some coastal back roads instead of the highway. One of the originally planned stops was Diamond Head, in the Crowdy Bay National Park. I first stumbled across Diamond Head while working in the Lake Cathie & Bonny Hills area around 15 years ago. With a long break between meetings, I chose a road and drove down it, ending up at a tiny campground with kangaroos hopping around on the beach.

Even the kangaroos were smart enough to keep away from the beach today, instead grazing on the grass at the back of the dunes.

Blue Serenity

Paragliding strikes me as one of those sports that could either be very exciting and nerve-wracking, or really serene and relaxing. These gliders were over the Carlo Sandblow at Rainbow Beach.

Noosa National Park

The internal alarm clock went off and woke me just before the 4am alarm on my iPad, and I was up and away. Walking a couple of kilometres through the Noosa National Park in the dark towards Granite Bay. This place really shines at high tide, with the smaller boulders creating a colourful polished look when wet. Timing meant that I was there at low tide, so concentrated on the moving water amongst the larger boulders on the shoreline, before backtracking through the National Park and photographing some of the vegetation in the morning light.

Granite Bay Granite Bay Pandanus Pandanus Melaleuca Melaleuca

New Zealand – On The Road

In New Zealand, naturally, we had some specific destinations in mind, and you’ve already seen photos from those places in earlier posts. But between those destinations was a lot of driving, and a lot of stops along the way.

Here’s a gallery of shots from along the road.

Stress

Since learning I would be losing my day job, stress has been an infrequent visitor in my life. Sure, there’s the ever-present uncertainty about the future, but nothing of the “things could go really wrong really soon” type stress that occasionally comes with corporate life.

Kylie and I drove from Queenstown to Glenorchy one morning, and out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a ruined pier jutting out into Lake Wakatipu. I made a mental note to stop and photograph it on the way back, but by then the rain had come so I just continued on back to Queenstown.

So, later in the afternoon, when the weather had cleared, I decided to head back out and try again. While it may look like a pretty serene photo, it was responsible for one of the most stressful afternoons in my recent life.

When I jumped in the car, noticed that the fuel gauge was a little low, but figured it would be enough to get me there and back.

Turns out the location was a little further along the road than I remembered. And just as I finished up and got back in the car, the fuel light came on. So here I was, on a winding, narrow road with no real shoulder, with no phone, and at least 30km between me and the nearest service station.

I had no idea of the fuel range in the unfamiliar 2006 Toyota Corolla rental car, so I’ve never driven so conservatively in my life – smooth around the corners, coasting down the hills, gentle acceleration up the hills. At the 10km out of town mark, my thoughts turned to “well, it’s not too far to walk now, but Kylie will start wondering where I am.”

I made it to Queenstown, but of course, the nearest fuel is a few kilometres on the other site of the town centre. So, I gingerly drove through town keeping an eye on potential places to pull over. I made it in the end, pulling into the service station just as Queen’s “You’re My Best Friend” came on the radio. I think I was down to the final 2 litres.

Totally worth it.

Milford Sound

In 24 hours at Milford Sound, we experienced just about every mood that this magical place offers.

After the long drive from Queenstown, we arrived to a blue-sky, t-shirt weather afternoon, but within a few hours, the clouds had come down the valley and winds picked up, giving us a taste of the moody, primordial Milford Sound.

The rain settled in for the evening, but then we awoke to more blue sky, and Milford shone like a jewel for our cruise around the fiord.

Glacier Valleys

It was cold, it was raining, it was misty.

But you kind of feel like you should see as many glaciers as you can while you still can, you know?

These Boots

I bought my Merrell Moab hiking boots in San Francisco in 2009. Since then, they’ve been to New York twice, The UK, Canada, Japan twice, from Tasmania to the Top End to Perth and Outback Australia, and now, to New Zealand.

They’ve been through snow, mud, dust and rain, on melting glaciers, and walked tens (hundreds?) of thousands of steps on busy city streets.

As we walked through the rain to Franz Josef Glacier last week, Kylie asked “are your boots waterproof?”

“They used to be.”

So, it’s time to retire what have been my favourite all-round travel shoes. Wonder if I can pick up another pair when I get home.

Queenstown

Wow.

I’ve been in New Zealand for the last two weeks, touring from Auckland in the north, down to Milford Sound, staying in a different place just about every night. We spent two nights in Queenstown, and are now back for one more night before flying home.

What an amazing, spectacular, awe-inspiring landscape.

Walter Peak reaching into the clouds Walter Peak reaching into the clouds Afternoon light falling across Cecil Peak Afternoon light falling across Cecil Peak More afternoon light making Cecil Peak glow More afternoon light making Cecil Peak glow Dawn twilight over the Bayonet Peaks Dawn twilight over the Bayonet Peaks Dawn over the Bayonet Peaks, with the Jacks Point Clubhouse in the foreground Dawn over the Bayonet Peaks, with the Jacks Point Clubhouse in the foreground Mount Creighton, along the Glenorchy-Queenstown Road Mount Creighton, along the Glenorchy-Queenstown Road An old pier on Lake Wakatipu An old pier on Lake Wakatipu