Category Archives: New Zealand

A most excellent hike in the Whirinaki Forest

New Zealand is well endowed with natural features. However, the Whirinaki Natural Preserve is definitely one of the more spectacular. It lies between Whakatane and Rotorua  Beryl Nu’u, Matt and Teresa’s personal trainer, graciously took time out of her busy schedule to take Meg and me here on Saturday. The trail climbs and descends, climbs and descends, narrow and wide, dry and muddy through dense, muted fern and old growth rain forests that only New Zealand has to offer. The light was enchanting and the small waterfalls and rivulets that flowed to the side of us were a constant delight. Magnificent thick tree trunks of various bark textures  support trees that tower above  the hiker. It was a delightful eight mile hike that exercised body and soul as well as a great time with Beryl !
Whirinaki
Whirinaki
Whirinaki
Whirinaki
Crossing the Whirinaki river
Whirinaki
Whirinaki
Whirinaki
Whirinaki, Meg and Beryl
Whirinaki, Meg accepts a challenging trail crossing
Whirinaki, Success
Whirinaki falls
Whirinaki
Whirinaki
Whirinaki
Whirinaki
Whirinaki
Whirinaki, Meg checks to see if this Ent has a heartbeat

The Catlins: sand, sea, sunrises

Continuing the theme of the “Camelot” magic of the Catlins.

We spent three nights at Nugget Beach at a wonderful place, the Nugget Lodge.  I had reserved a room at this two unit motel four months earlier, and 8,000 miles away.  I was thrilled to arrive and see this incredible beach. I really had no idea that a choice from an internet site would turn out so spectacular.

The first picture shows Pauline, our gracious hostess, pointing out the beach. We stayed in the “Sea Lion” unit. We would watch sea lions on the beach in the late afternoon and early morning. Nugget Lighthouse framed the view in the other direction. An isolated beach lay below the road to the lighthouse.  From a blind above the beach, we could watch yellow eyed penguins come ashore in the early evening.
I walked the beach early each morning. Sunrises were superb. A storm blew in the last morning—wind and light rain.  I had planned to stay indoors.  Fortunately Meg wanted to take a walk nonetheless.  Unbelievably, a full rainbow appeared, giving us an unforgettable memory and confirming that you must be “there,” despite the weather, if you want memorable images.
The beach has become my mental retreat location where I can truly renew myself with its serenity and memories of deep and stimulating time shared there with Meg. We will come again.
Catlins, Nugget Lodge
Nugget Lodge, Nugget Beach, Catlins
Nugget Lodge, Nugget Beach sea lion, Catlin sea lion
Catlins, Nugget Beach sea lion
Catlins, Nugget Beach sea lion
Catlins, Nugget Beach, Nugget Point sunrise
Catlins, Nugget Beach
Catlins, Nugget Beach, Nugget Point waves
Catlins, Nugget Beach, Nugget lighthouse
Catlins, Nugget Beach yellow eyed penguin
Catlins, Nugget Beach yellow eyed penguin
Rainbow Nugget Point Catlins

The Catlins, forests and falls

There is  a  “Camelot”  feel to the Catlins in the far southern coast of South Island, New Zealand. Meg and I had never visited this location.  It is remote and sparsely populated by some of the kindest, most self reliant New Zealanders we have met in our ten years of traveling this wonderful country.

Rugged coasts with long deserted beaches, rocky coastlines with high breaking waves, endless green hills, many filled with sheep, dense fern and tree forests with paths leading to waterfalls. and marine life such as sea lions, penguins, dolphins make the allure of the Catalans irresistible.

Based at Nugget Point Lodge on the beach of the same name, we explored the beautiful and lush fern forest that led to McLean Falls. This walk/hike was one of the most delightful and emotionally invigorating we have taken in New Zealand. The trail was cool and damp, with wonderful surprises of mosses, ferns, trees and small streams before we reached the falls themselves. Hopefully, we can visit again.
Catlins,McLean Falls trail
Catlins,McLean Falls trail
McLean Falls, Catlins
McLean Falls, Catlins

 

McLean Falls, Catlins
McLean Falls, Catlins
McLean Falls, Catlins

 

McLean Falls, Catlins
Catlins,McLean Falls Catlins, McLean Falls
Catlins, McLean Falls
New Zealand sheep ranching, Catlins sheep ranching

Children of God

“You are created because of love and you are given unconditional love.  That is who you are: a beloved one and one who has love to share.

“The voice that Jesus heard at his baptism was an incredible affirmation from God: ‘You are my beloved Son. My favor rests on you.’
“That voice made it possible for Jesus to go into the world, to live in the truth and also to suffer.  He knew the truth, he claimed it, and he walked in the word.  People ruined his life by rejecting him and hurting him, by spitting on him and finally killing him on the cross, but he never lost the truth.  He lived his joy and his pain under the blessing of the Father. He never lost his truth. God loved him unconditionally and no could take that from him.”  Henri Nouwen
We are NOT defined by society’s demands, by the movie/television ads, even by our friends.  God’s never ending love is where we find a strength and our comfort, and beloved-ness.
1 John 3, Nugget Point, Catlins

The Nugget Point Lighthouse

Nothing but open seas and Antartica lie beyond Nugget Point and the Nugget Point lighthouse, located in the Catlins of South Island, New Zealand. The intriguing vertical stripes of the rock stacks and cliffs are layers of sedimentary rock that formed horizontally under the sea, then uplifted and tilted over time. The “nuggets” are some of these sedimentary rocks the jut along side Nugget Point Lighthouse and out in front of it.  Rugged, rugged, lonely, lonely.  A long ways from home, and strikingly beautiful !!

 

Nugget Point Lighthouse, Catlins, sea stack
Nugget Point Lighthouse, Catlins
Nugget Point Lighthouse, Catlins
Nugget Point Lighthouse, Catlins
Nugget Point Lighthouse, Catlins

Nugget Point Lighthouse, Catlins

 

Nugget Point Lighthouse, Catlins,Nugget Point

nuggets

Nugget Point Lighthouse, Catlins

Nugget Point Lighthouse, Catlins, New Zealand spoonbills

 

Nugget Point Lighthouse, Catlins, Nugget Point yellow eyed penguins

Motu Falls and the Whinray Reserve

Meg and I took a delightful loop up the Waioeka Gorge to Motu Falls and then back to the coast at Opotiki. The road over the mountains back to Opotiki is “metal”, i.e. gravel, and very steep and winding.  Fortunately, few people other than mountain bikers do it, so we had the drive to ourselves. The Whinray Reserve is essentially private property that has been donated as a preserve of excellent old growth trees and ferns, and supports kiwis and other endangered New Zealand wildlife.

Whinray Reserve, Motu Falls

 

Whinray Reserve, Motu Falls
Wairata, Living Water Bush Cafe, Waioeka Gorge
Motu road
Motu Road

Motu Falls, Motu road

Wairata, Living Water Bush Cafe, Waioeka Gorge
Whinray Reserve, Motu Falls
Whinray Reserve, Motu Falls
Whinray Reserve, Motu Falls
Whinray Reserve, Motu Falls
Whinray Reserve, Motu Falls

Ohope and the Bay of Plenty

Ohope calls itself the “sunshine capital of New Zealand.” Frankly, I would call it the “sunrise/sunset”  capital. The Bay of Plenty was named by Captain Cook in the 1770’s after he found abundant provisions to replenish his ships along this coastline.

Since it faces northwards, Ohope Beach benefits from both sunrises and sunsets. As you can see, the colors glow magnificently. At sunrise, the mountains of the East Cape of the Bay of Plenty are often blanketed with clouds. This cloud cover creates a mystique to the land behind these mountains. Beautiful coves and beaches lie beyond the East Cape.  It was the filming site for the excellent New Zealand movies, “Whale Rider” and “Boy.”

 

Ohiwa oyster farm, Ohiwa Harbour
Ohope beach, Bay of Plenty, Ohope
Ohiwa sunrise, Ohiwa Harbour
Ohiwa Harbor, Bay of Plenty
Ohope, Bay of Plenty
Ohope Beach, East Cape Bay of Plenty, East Cape North Island
Ohope Beach, New Zealand sunset
Bay of Plenty, East Cape New Zealand
Ohope sunrise, Norfolk pine
Ohope beach, Bay of Plenty, East Cape New Zealand

Great Hiking Trails of the World

One of my pictures was selected for the cover of this recently published coffee table book. It shows Mt. Ngauruhoe which is the major mountain along the Tongariro Crossing on North Island, New Zealand. Mt Ngauruhoe was digitally altered to appear as Mt Doom in Lord of the Rings. I am humbled and honored to have this picture on the cover of a truly fascinating book. It was commissioned by the American Hiking Society, and published by a most excellent company, Rizzoli International Publications. If you enjoy beautiful pictures with excellent descriptions of trails around the world, you can order it from Amazon, or your local bookstore. 

Great Hiking Trails of the World, Mt Ngauruhoe, Tongariro National Park, North Island New Zealand
Great Hiking Trails of the World, Mt Ngauruhoe, Tongariro National Park, North Island New Zealand