• The road up the Waitaki Valley – a journey of two halves. Lake Aviemore and the dam just visible in this late afternoon shot. Derek Smith

A Village in the Valley

November 30th, 2018|Tags: , , , , |

The Waitaki Valley that links Oamaru to Omarama and the junction of the super-busy inland route SH8, is one of the last great ‘unknown’ drives and destinations in New Zealand. It’s puffed and panted along by a growing number of cyclists on the A2O cycle trail, their eyes fixed firmly on the spot two metres [...]

  • The Hokianga boardwalk section is one of the longest in the country

A Great Ride – Northland’s Coast to Coast

November 30th, 2018|Tags: , , , , , , |

Some people are drawn to books in order to cultivate their imagination; others seek the arts for inspiration; in my case, it’s physical geography that moves me. The act of unfolding maps that unfold landscapes in my mind, building the spatial memories I seek. Like reading a new book filled with interesting characters, I look [...]

Tangiwai Railway Disaster

November 30th, 2018|Tags: , , , , , , |

Christmas 1953. A less-commercial time than it is today. Retailers, including general stores, closed their doors for four days. Simplicity in Christmas decoration styles, nativity scenes, church services, family togetherness and a traditional large lunch were the order of the day, and it was a time when most of the nation looked forward to an [...]

  • A place to rest at the water’s edge

Quail Island – A Hidden Treasure

November 30th, 2018|Tags: , , , , |

Nestled in Lyttelton Harbour and surrounded by the Port Hills, Quail Island is certainly a one of a kind location. Canterbury’s largest island, it occupies 81 hectares within the harbour and is a haven for a variety of flora and fauna. Treasured by conservationists and gentle trampers alike, its beauty is of a peaceful, solid, [...]

  • River riding at its best!

Southern Lake Linking

November 30th, 2018|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Fiordland, a paradise packed with dramatic landscapes, and blessed with plentiful huts and hiking tracks including three Great Walks; yet surprisingly barren of cycle trails. Wheels of change are in motion though. As a result of the incredible efforts of the Fiordland Trails Trust, the tread of my tyres can now easily explore the fringes [...]

Kaikōura Museum

November 30th, 2018|Tags: , , |

Earthquakes, whales and crayfish have a long history in this small east coast settlement. With two mountain ranges behind it and a canyon of epic proportions offshore, it is a marine wonderland. I have been to Kaikōura many times since the 1970s, though the majority of my trips have been in the last 20 years; [...]

Kaikoura Rebuild Earns Awards

November 30th, 2018|Tags: , , , , , |

Recently, New Zealanders marked the second anniversary of the Kaikōura earthquake that hit at two minutes past midnight on November 14, 2016. The 7.8 magnitude quake ripped through the earth from Culverden, 70km south of Kaikōura, to Seddon, 90km north of Kaikōura, and out to sea. GeoNet described the 160km rupture as the earth ‘unzipping’ [...]

  • Sunset from Titirangi-Kaiti Hill. Picture by Damon Meade

First to See the Light

November 28th, 2018|Tags: , , , , |

New arrivals to Gisborne are awestruck by the little beachfront city on the east coast of the North Island, encircled by a half moon of green hills. Travellers are also discovering the place. They are amazed and delighted to have discovered a place of such prosperity, peace and space, where there is a joie de [...]

Freedom to Coast

November 28th, 2018|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

The Dunes Trail has made quite an impression since it was officially opened in mid-2012. It’s now journeyed by around 20,000 cyclists per year, plus many walkers and runners. Intrepid travellers, fitness enthusiasts, families, a Thursday-evening ‘bike, beer and BBQ’ group, youth groups, motorhomers, e-bikers, hand-bikers – they’re all out there enjoying it. Trail counters [...]

  • Cannibal Bay – a name that is sure to catch your attention

Mysterious Catlins

November 28th, 2018|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

When I was a kid the Catlins always sounded an interesting place to visit – there was a slightly mysterious ring about the name. Our family had many camping holidays in remote areas around New Zealand, but for some reason my father wasn’t drawn to the Catlins, which is great because now I had the [...]