NZICESCAPES IMAGES

Geology

What to see in Oparara Valley near Karamea

Moria Gate, limestone formation in Oparara Valley near Karamea, Kahurangi National Park, Buller Region, West Coast, New Zealand

Moria Gate, limestone formation in Oparara Valley near Karamea, Kahurangi National Park, Buller Region, West Coast, New Zealand

Many tourists make a mistake of not taking on the northern part of the West Coast. Often, they would travel as far north as Westport, but leaving out Karamea area.
And that’s a mistake as this region is one of marvels the West Coast has on offer.
Oparara Valley is famous for its lush green rainforest and beautiful orange-brown tannin stained Oparara River but particularly for its famous limestone arches and caves.
One of the easily accessed caves is Moria Gate with Oparara River flowing through it.
The arch itself offers endless photo opportunities but using slow shutter speed enables us to capture wonderful reflections of the cave shapes reflecting into the slowly flowing river.

This is a very easy, short walk from the carpark and everyone visiting this are should come and enjoy tranquility of this wonderful location.
Not like in the where sadly, as far as you can see, there is always a pine grove in a view, spoiling these beautiful Sounds. Luckily some great work is being done to eradicate this trees from these hills where they don’t belong.
In Whanganui however, no pines at all. You’re surrounded only by native coastal forest just like what it was hundreds of years ago. …and that’s something we must treasure dearly.

Moria Gate, limestone formation in Oparara Valley near Karamea, Kahurangi National Park, Buller Region, West Coast, New Zealand

Thank you and Enjoy!


Tasman Glacier in Mt Cook NP

Tasman Glacier and its terminal lake with icebergs and icy debris after massive terminal face calving in 2010 under sunset, Mt. Cook National Park, Mackenzie Country, World Heritage Area, New Zealand

Tasman Glacier and its terminal lake with icebergs and icy debris after massive terminal face calving in 2010 under sunset, Mt. Cook National Park, Mackenzie Country, World Heritage Area, New Zealand

Glaciers around the world are melting and disappearing from World Maps. We are not immune to it as this sad reality is hitting New Zealand as well, and it’s not a nice sight.
The Southern Alps are becoming more and more unstable for alpine activities with increased rock avalanches as the warmer temperatures are melting rock binding ice in lower altitudes then in past.
All this rock avalanche debris falls on the shrinking and narrowing glaciers in valleys below, covering their gasping for breath remnants under layers of rocks.

In case of Tasman Glacier, this is even more evident, as with it’s lengths of 27km now, it is New Zealand’s longest and mightiest glacier…but how long for when its retreat is today estimated to be close to 1 km each year.
In 2010 massive calving event occurred, littering Tasman Glacier terminal lake, non-existent 40 years ago, with tons of ice debris and icebergs.

It’s not every day when event like this happens so I went to check it out myself. When I arrived at the terminal lake near sunset time, the sky suddenly closed up, clouds rolled over my head and it started to snow. The light of the setting sun was penetrating this gentle snowfall, and all Tasman Valley got dressed up in this beautiful pinkish pastel colours…very eerie, moody scene with all the icebergs in the lake…how lucky I was to witness this alone…

Tasman Glacier with its terminal lake after calving at sunset, Mt. Cook National Park, Mackenzie Country, World Heritage Area, New Zealand

Taken with Nikon D300 and Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 lens


Natural Hot Pools in South Westland

Trampers enjoying hot pools at Welcome Flat Hut - Westland National Park, West Coast, New Zealand

Last time, we hiked toward the Welcome Flat Hut to be rewarded with a bath in natural hot springs. These natural hot springs are located in the Westland National Park, approx. 20km south of Fox Glacier and it takes quite a few hours of exercise to get to them. But it’s all worth it. The hike itself along the Copland River and through the beautiful rainforest I talked last time about is rewarding enough but when it is all capped up with sitting in a hot pool while watching beautiful, snow covered 2.000 m asl peaks of Sierra Ranges, the world seems to be perfect. The hiking track is not difficult in dry conditions but during the wet weather period, venturing out toward the hut needs to be considered carefully, as many of the side creeks can be dangerous to cross.

The hot pools are part of the volcanic activity of this region. Two tectonic plates – Pacific and Australian – collide together, generating an immense pressure which heats the rock and boils the water. Water from the ground seeps into the depth of the Earth from the surface, is boiled and forced to return back up to the ground. After cooling down along the way, water temperature of these pools settles at around 57 degrees of Celsius. Just perfect for rejuvenating tired body after the hike!