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.
Thank you and Enjoy!
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!
A week ago I spent several days in one of my favourite areas, in Copland Valley, on the West Coast of the South Island in New Zealand.
Gorgeous Copland River runs through this beautiful valley which is penetrated with side creeks of all sizes; and they all have one thing in common – they are rough and wild.
Since these rivers, creeks and streams are in an area where the rainfall can exceed 500mm in 24hrs, one can only imagine the inferno happening when the heavy rain comes down and those massive boulders of bus sizes tumble down these creeks…
But on calm days, these creeks are not only very beautiful alpine gems to photograph but also great to wash down the blood and sweat from reaching them…not mentioning best water to drink!
Taken with Nikon D800E and Nikkor 16-35mm f4 lens and is a stitch of 2 vertical frames.
Thank you and Enjoy!
For more similar images from this area, please visit our online gallery of Rivers and Creeks.
It is quite hard to imagine that this place once used to be a thriving forest.
Until about 180 million years ago when New Zealand was still part of a super continent Gondwana. Massive event of sheet flooding caused by, at that time nearby live volcanoes, flooded the area and almost instantly turned the forest into stone. Stone turning must have happened relatively quickly, in matter of months, as the trees didn’t have time to decay. Thanks to silica minerals not only trees but also ferns were preserved for us to wonder over.
This is a significant coastal location not only for New Zealand but also internationally, as these types of fossilized forests are very rare.
I had this location in my mind for quite some time, as I wanted to get some new photographs of this interesting place so it was for sure that Curio Bay gets included into my Southland trip. I spend a couple of nights her, exploring around and managed to make a few images.
I have quite few interesting frames from here actually, but it was the mood and gloominess of this night photograph which I like and decided to make a post of it.
I hope you’ll like it as well!
Taken with Nikon D800E and Nikkor 16-35 f4 lens.
Photo: ©Petr Hlavacek – www.nzicescapes.com
This image is not online yet, but you can find more of other coastal imagery in our gallery Coastal photos of New Zealand
Thank you and Enjoy!
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!
It’s well know that there is some decent rainfall on the West Coast. Must be, otherwise we wouldn’t have any rainforests, glaciers, wild rivers etc here.
With an annual rainfall of up to 16m at places, the West Coast of New Zealand belongs among the wettest places on Earth.
That sounds quite frightening but it’s actually is not too bad, as everyone thinks. Due to the predominant weather patterns, the South Island faces the weather coming in from the Tasman Sea and it’s the West Coast which receives all the water load. As the front passes through, the clear weather usually follows and we all here on the West Coast, bath in the sunshine…which very few people know …and we’re very happy to keep it that way!
This image has been taken on a track near Franz Josef Glacier in area where the precipitation can reach up to 7-8m annually. Hence lush, juicy green mosses, lichens and overall temperate rainforest vegetation.
More images from native forests of New Zealand are available in our photo stock galleryNATIVE FOREST of 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.
Leaving Mt. Aspiring National Park in Harris Saddle, the track begins to drop down and zig zags on the Hollyford Face. From here some amazing vistas are to be seen with Lake Mackenzie in far distance at the bottom of the valley and, it may take around 3hrs to get to Lake Mackenzie Hut from an area of fragile alpine vegetation of Harris Saddle. After several zig zags, track enters beautiful, densely in moss cloaked Fiordland bush before reaching the hut. Remember, this is Fiordland, one of the wettest regions in the World and this amazingly green ancient forest is proof of it.
Result of the last glaciation, Lake Mackenzie, beautifully surrounded by this juicy green bush and grey rocks, is one of the gems in Fiordland. Its breath taking emerald colours, enhanced on my overcast day, are quite extraordinary and I could spend many days here just exploring and photographing. Can’t wait to be back one day again!
One of my favourite tramps is Hollyford Track. It’s quite a while since I walked it (2002) but the memories are just as fresh as if I was there yesterday. This multiple days trip through the rainforest into total wilderness can be made into sort of a loop but it would be very hard and demanding adventure coming back through the Pyke River. It’s around 4 days to hike to Martins Bay from the road end therefore for most people this trip ends after reaching the Tasman Sea. However, there are several options how to get there. One can hitch the ride on a jet boat and follow rivers and lakes most of the way up to the Martins Bay and walk back or vise versa. The plane flight can also be arranged and doing the same, walking in or out. But for some, it can be just an adventure for 10-12 days (depending on how many days you want to spend at Martins Bay) of walking in and out using just your legs. And this was my case.
One of the many nights is spend at Lake Alabaster. This is absolutely beautiful, remote place with plenty of solitude on offer. Lake lies in the northern part of Fiordland National Park and is around 6km long. Camping just beside the hut with lake views similar to the one I’m posting here is something not to be forgotten, ever.
With an annual rainfall of up to 12,000mm on the West Coast of the Southern Alps, it’s not a surprise that the rain forests here are lush and green. These forests belong to a group of temperate rain forests with vegetation made up of coniferous podocarps and broadleaf evergreen trees, with rather cooler temperatures, usually around 10 degrees C. These are some of the factors distinguishing temperate rain forests from tropical ones.
Some of the best examples of the temperate rain forest on the West Coast of the South Island are easily to be seen in the Westland National Park, on a beautiful track toward the Welcome Flat Hut, not very far from the Fox Glacier Village. Hiking for several hours through the juicy green bush, as we call it here, offers not only soothing on one’s soul but also a reward at the end of the day – natural thermal hot pools by the hut. But I’ll post about this feature next time.