• Brilliant! Red Cottage at Staveley under a starry sky

Mountain High in Staveley

February 10th, 2019|Tags: , , , , |

Up until the mid-1930s, travelling around New Zealand was still an adventure. In fact, as late as 1950 when the Dicks and the Dickettes moved from Auckland to Dunedin, I can remember my father poring over his book of Shell Road Maps of New Zealand to try and plot a safe route for the huge [...]

  • 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 [...]

  • Although this is not specifically a story about the Lindis Pass, it is central to part of the story. So let’s take a look at this spectacular drive through spectacular country

A Land Unseen by the White Man

October 5th, 2018|Tags: , , , , , |

A glorious early spring morning and I’ve got the nose of the Blue Streak (my Nissan Pathfinder) heading up the Waitaki Valley and into the Lindis Pass. This is one of my favourite drives. The Waitaki Valley with its three interlocking lakes, burgeoning vineyards, dairy and sheep farms all hemmed in with snow-capped mountains, is [...]

  • If you have schist stone about in abundance use it — for everything! Buildings, walls and fence posts!

Shiner’s Country

July 28th, 2018|Tags: , , , , , |

Ned Slattery, ‘The Shiner’, was a swagman who marched the roads lesser travelled in Otago and Southland in the closing years of the 19th century. Allan Dick follows in his footsteps along one of those roads less travelled. If you look at a map of the South Island and contemplate it, you become aware that [...]

  • The Three Creeks in Burkes Pass is a fascinating stop

Fairlie 
And More

June 1st, 2018|Tags: , , , , , , |

Ever since my first visit to Fairlie 50 years ago, I’ve had a mental image of it being the last outpost of civilisation before the great expanse of the Mackenzie Country. It was where the spread of early European civilisation stopped quite abruptly and said, ‘Whoa, we’re not going there …’ Fairlie is set in a [...]

  • Cape Foulwind – named by Captain Cook – is where the Tasman Sea first hits New Zealand. Photo by Peter Coburn

Eels and Banana Plants

January 27th, 2018|Tags: , , , , , , |

Unless you’ve been there, you probably think of Westport as being wet and cold, and the victim of 10 rounds with that heavyweight champion of misery, Economic Downturn. Not a lot of good things have happened to Westport in the past quarter of a century: a forced stop to native logging hit the place hard [...]

  • The collection of fishing huts at Lake Onslow

Lunch at Jimmy’s

December 1st, 2017|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

R oxburgh is at the head of Teviot Valley on SH8 between Milton and Alexandra, at a point where the mighty Clutha River emerges from a gorge on its way from Lake Wanaka to the Pacific. The valley below is so broad that it’s difficult to imagine it really is a valley. There are three [...]

  • ‘Big Rock’ stands like a sentinel at the northern end of Brighton beach and provided inspiration for the poet James K Baxter who was a son of Brighton. At first Big Rock was ‘conquered’ by a road up and over, but an opening was blasted through to provide a proper road — it was called ‘Prospect Gap’

Brighton Daze

October 7th, 2017|Tags: , , , , , , |

It was sometime in mid-1954 when our parents announced to the assembled Dickettes – brother Colin, sister Janice and myself, ‘we’re shifting to Brighton, we’ve bought that shop out there’. At that time there were five shops at Brighton, but I knew exactly what shop they were talking about. Since moving to Dunedin from Auckland [...]

  • Moody, cloudy day in the Lindis Pass

A Week of It

August 3rd, 2017|Tags: , , , , |

My refusal to use satnav is well known. My friends think I’m crazy, but I think they are the ones missing out. A traveller flies into Christchurch, picks up a campervan or rental car, dials ‘Queenstown’ into the satnav and sets off, ignoring road signs, the view, the towns and villages along the way – [...]

  • There are always great exhibitions on at the Eastern Southland Art Gallery in Gore

Desperately Seeking Robert Redford

June 4th, 2017|Tags: , , , |

The main street of Tapanui must be the smartest in the country. Maybe the world. The remake of its 1977 hit, Pete’s Dragon, was mostly shot in and around Tapanui. For its starring role as the fictitious town of Millhaven, Tapanui was given a make-over so it looked more, well, ‘American’. After filming was finished, [...]