Fotoeins Fotografie

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Lake Matheson at sunset

New Zealand: sounds of a sunset on the South Island

What does a sunset sound like?

Does the question make any sense at all?

How can a sunset “sound” like anything?

I used to think that way, until I visited the South Island in New Zealand.

In July 2012, I spent a few days in the Franz Josef Glacier Township and Fox Glacier Township to visit their respective glaciers. Before leaving the glaciers area for good, I took the short 10-minute shuttle to Lake Matheson. I don’t know why I was reluctant to go in the first place; the reward was worth the effort, but isn’t that always the case.

Below is a short video I made at Lake Matheson (Te Ara Kairaumati). Clearly visible in the distance are Mount Tasman (Horokoau) and Mount Cook (Aoraki), illuminated by the late-afternoon sun.

I’ll say what’s abundantly obvious to many: that a sunset sounds peaceful. Fair warning though: my commentary comes up at about the 23-second mark.

Related posts, from the Westland Te Tai Poutini:

•   The slow approach to Franz Josef Glacier
•   The slow forest walk to Fox Glacier
•   The Grand Traverse over the Southern Alps
•   Lake Matheson and the southern Alps at sunset

On 22 July 2012, I made the photo above with a Canon EOS450D/XSi camera and the video above with a 4th-generation iPod Touch. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at as

11 Responses to “New Zealand: sounds of a sunset on the South Island”

  1. elatlboy

    Great shot and backdrop! Peaceful sounds and setting indeed. I’m shooting myself for not getting to this lake when around Fox and Franz glaciers last year. I hear the lake gives off amazing reflections.

    Liked by 1 person

    • fotoeins

      Hi and thanks, Aaron! I feel very fortunate to have traveled to the South Island at all, and everything I experienced, including the visit to Lake Matheson and the effect of the sunset on the neighbouring peaks, were all very fortunate happenstances, too.

      Truthfully, I had almost dismissed visiting Lake Matheson, because I didn’t think a trip out to the lake wouldn’t fit my “schedule”. But I found myself with a few hours remaining one afternoon in the Fox Glacier Township, where I saw a placard and the phone number for the shuttle to the lake. I said to myself: why not? I’d also heard about the great reflections, and I’m very happy the stories were true.

      Thanks again for reading and commenting, Aaron!


  2. Erik Smith

    Great video! Love the commentary, too. I had planned on doing the hike around Matheson, but the weather during my days on the west coast didn’t allow it. A reason to go back I guess!

    Liked by 1 person

    • fotoeins

      Hey, Erik. Sorry about the weather when you visited; I’m reading about that on your blog.

      There are three vantage points at Lake Matheson to view Mounts Tasman and Cook. Believe it or not, I only had time to visit *two*, because I kept photographing, and by the time I made this video at the western edge of the lake, the light had gone, and I had to get back in time for my ride back into town. But if I had missed my ride, it would’ve been a relatively easy flat 3-km walk, but I would’ve done it in the dark.


  3. andBerlin

    Beautiful photography as always Henry. Hiking Franz Josef is one of my RTW highlights. NZ is generally a great place to spend time and explore though!

    Liked by 1 person

    • fotoeins

      Thanks! I agree, and despite the fact that I spent a month there, that body of water between New Zealand and Australia doesn’t seem so far. I could just hop on back to New Zealand now that spring is upon us here, but the call of Europe is getting ever louder. 🙂

      What other favourite parts or highlights from NZ did you have on your RTW? Thanks again for your comment!


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