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Posts tagged “native forest

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!


Whanganui Inlet on West Coast of New Zealand

Pastel colours of sunset over Whanganui Inlet on west coast with alpine vegetation, Nelson Region, West Coast, South Island, New Zealand

Pastel colours of sunset over Whanganui Inlet on west coast with alpine vegetation, Nelson Region, West Coast, South Island, New Zealand

There are many things that I like about this area; total lack of people is one of them.
Apart from a few farming vehicles, it will still surprise you when you meet with another freedom traveller heading towards you on this wonderfully narrow, dusty road.
Another nice thing is a beautiful silence. More often than not, in coastal areas you can hear boats’ engines reeving up but very seldom here…only birds echo through the air. But the main thing I’d like to point out here is my favourite one – it’s all about native bush here.
Not like in the Marlborough Sounds 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.

Pastel colours of sunset over Whanganui Inlet on west coast with alpine vegetation, Nelson Region, West Coast, South Island, New Zealand

Thank you and Enjoy!


New Stock Photos from Routeburn Track in New Zealand

Sample Images from Routeburn Track in New Zealand

Sample Images from Routeburn Track in New Zealand

Long days of summer have gone now but I’m really excited (as every year) about approaching winter’s short days and its brilliant photography light. Next to this marvellous light, white peaks around us, late mornings (for sleep in) and early evenings (to catch a dinner without a rush) these are some of few things photographers like about making photographs in winter.

I however do like getting around in summer too and this past summer hasn’t been different for me. After 11 years, I re-visited one of the best locations New Zealand has on offer – the Routeburn Track in Mount Aspiring and Fiordland National Park … and what a fantastic trip I had.

It was a photographic bonanza. The weather stayed on my side, giving me plenty of blue skies and suntan, as well as those magical low clouds around Lake Mackenzie . This was really great as it allowed me to photograph an amazing rainforest surrounding it. The only sad thing was that the bush was bone dry, thus lacking that extra juicy kick and the lake was at its lowest everyone I spoke to could have recalled.
Despite this, I’m very happy with few keepers and I got home with.

For those of you who haven’t made it to Routeburn yet, I hope that these sample photos will help you to make up your mind.

Thanks and Enjoy!


Nikau Palms of New Zealand

Nikau palms in Punakaiki, Paparoa National Park, West Coast, New Zealand

Nikau palms in Punakaiki, Paparoa National Park, West Coast, New Zealand

One of several distinctive trees in New Zealand are Nikau Palms. These palm are endemic to New Zealand and grow in abundance in warm, coastal forests on the North Island.
In several grows, they are also scattered on the South Island, as well. Some of those spots on the Mainland is Nelson area and places on Banks Peninsula near Christchurch. On the West Coast you can see these beautiful, juicy green Nikau grows near Karamea on top of the West Coast, in Punakaiki and some are even occurring as far south as Okarito.
They grow up to 15m tall, with fronds up to 3m long.

Thanks to their distinctive, sharp look and vibrant green colours, these beautiful palms are great subject to photograph. The best time to photograph them is on dull, overcast day and ideally after the rain, which adds the extra shine and deepens the colours.
It is often said to use polarizing filter to get rid of reflections but in this case I prefer no polarizer at all.

It’s that shiny wet and cold dark green colour which make this photograph for me.

This photo was taken in Punakaiki with Nikon D800E and Nikkor 24-70 f2.8 lens.

Photo: ©Petr Hlavacek – www.nzicescapes.com

More images of Nikau Palms in New Zealand are available from our gallery Nikau Palms Stock Photos from native forests of West Coast of New Zealand

Thank you and Enjoy!


Wilderness of Copland Valley in New Zealand

Copland River in Copland Valley, West Coast, New Zealand

Copland River in Copland Valley, West Coast, New Zealand


Despite this place being right on my doorstep, I’m quite ashamed to admit that it’s been a long 10 years since I visited this location last time. But this long gap won’t happen again, I can promise you that!
This said, you can well imagine my excitement planing my trip back into the wilderness of this spectacular western part of the Southern Alps, part of the Westland National Park in New Zealand.
Copland Valley is simply amazing. Jugged skyline of The Sierra Range on southern side of the valley keeps your mind in awe pretty much all along the way toward the first, well known hut – Welcome Flat Hut, which is reached after around 8hrs. A lot of the time you’re hiking along beautiful Copland River as it runs through this valley. River originates in Copland Glacier and gathers its waters from magnificent peaks of the Southern Alps, especially from The Sierra Range. And it is its glacial origins which gives this river stunning turquoise-blue colour of water.

It was late on a summer day when I took this photograph of the Copland River. As the sun went lower and lower, the Copland Valley lost its light completely and the blue chill of river gave the air its coldness. Combination of these qualities, warm sunlight on the peaks, coldness of the river and with addition of the juicy green rainforest made this frame for me.

This panoramic photograph is a merge of six frames, processed using Lightroom 4 and stitched in Photoshop CS6.


Last night on Heaphy…

Golden tussock lit up by afternoon sun and Gouland Downs Hut on Heaphy Track, Kahurangi National Park, Nelson Region, New Zealand

Golden tussock lit up by afternoon sun and Gouland Downs Hut on Heaphy Track, Kahurangi National Park, Nelson Region, New Zealand

Carrying on on Heaphy Track, we’re going to spend last night in Gouland Downs Hut – hut with an atmosphere. Aptly named after an area of Gouland Downs, this hut nestles right next to the densely in moss covered bush which after dark echoes with kiwi calls. It’s not uncommon to hear kiwi fossicking in night for food in bush behind the hut or even to spot them. I love this place!

The area of Gouland Downs is braided with rivers, streams and creeks, its karst terrain is covered with golden tussock which literally lits up when hit by afternoon sun and the native forest next to hut hides many caves and caverns to be investigated. There is so much to explore here that one would need to spend much more time here than only one night.
From photographical perspective this is paradise. With so much on offer, you’ll be hard pressed to put your camera down. I walked this hike twice and can’t wait to get back for more!


Another day on Heaphy Track…

Saxon River on Heaphy Track - Kahurangi National Park, Nelson Region, New Zealand

Saxon River on Heaphy Track - Kahurangi National Park, Nelson Region, New Zealand


After spending second night on Heaphy Track, this time at James Mackay Hut, we still have a way to go. The track winds through variety of terrain before emerging from the bush and along the Saxon River onto tussocky Gouland Downs. From here its not too long before the Saxon Hut is reached.

Saxon River originates in Gouland Downs and is not a big river at this point but from a photographical point of view – it’s a beauty. Amazing brown colours of tea like waters which even taste like tea, running through juicy green, densely moss cloaked trees and rocks make for a great photograph. I was lucky that it was very fine drizzle on an overcast day, which allowed me to render colours and detail of this bush scene nicely….amazing spot!


Heaphy Splendour!

Forest interior of Nikau Palm Grove at Kohaihai - Kahurangi National Park, West Coast, New Zealand

Forest interior of Nikau Palm Grove at Kohaihai - Kahurangi National Park, West Coast, New Zealand


Heaphy Track is one one of my favourite ones. It also belongs to an exclusive group of “9 Great Walks” in New Zealand and traverses Kahurangi National Park in top left corner of the South Island. With its 82km, it’s the longest track of these “Great Walks”.
Why I love this tramp? Simply because at one starting point you are on the West Coast by the Tasman Sea, then you climb through juicy green bush and along rivers ans streams, cross alpine plateau with its karst landscapes before finishing in Nelson Region near Takaka.
The variety of scenery is amazing. Starting on the coast, the track begins to wind its way through beautiful Nikau palm grove and follows the remote coastline before it turns uphill towards karst, alpine landscapes of the park.
These Nikau palms are usually common up in the North Island, whereas down south its a little too cold for them. Therefore it is only this corner of the South Island where they grow, with an exemption of a small grow, little further down in Punakaiki.

In the image above, I photographed these Nikau palms on the rainy day with heavy overcast. Yes, that’s the best time to go out into bush to make some great images full of detail because the low contrast and diffused light allows for that.
As it rained quite heavily with some brief breaks, all the bush was beautifully rich in colours. It is well known that polarizing filter reduces reflections which is often good to get rid of but in this instance I choose not to use it as I loved that shiny, steel like sheen on the palm leaves, together with its rich, dark green colour.
…and of course, I also have a polarized version of the shot…..
Next time we get higher up to explore some karst scenes…