Fotoeins Fotografie

faces of home & place-story

Posts tagged ‘West Coast’

Air Safaris, Southern Alps, Westland National Park, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, South Island, New Zealand,, myRTW

Fotoeins Friday: Aoraki-Horokoau flyby, New Zealand

21 July 2012.

Approximate location: -43.546433, 170.144492 (43°32’47.2″S 170°08’40.2″E)
Approximate altitude: 3000 metres (9850 feet)
View azimuth: 170 to 175 degrees (south-southeast)

We’re up among New Zealand’s Southern Alps as the flight takes us over Westland Tai Poutini National Park and Aoraki Mount Cook National Park. I’ve supplied featured labels to help with orientation in this southeast view. Despite scale, height, and distance, I get the distinct feeling that I can just about leap out of the plane to a soft snow landing or if I could reach out with my hand, I could touch the nation’s two tallest mountains, Aoraki (Mount Cook) and Horokoau (Mount Tasman), sacred to the Māori people.

A visual account of the circular flight over southwest New Zealand can be seen here. The west coast on the nation’s South Island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1990.

During my year-long RTW, I made this photo on 21 July 2012 with the Canon 450D, 18-55 kit-lens, and the following settings: 1/3200-sec, f/5, ISO200, and 33mm focal length (53mm full-frame equivalent). This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at as

New Zealand: Fiordland’s Milford Sound

A trip to New Zealand’s South Island is incomplete without a visit to the Fiordland National Park. A stop at one or both of Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound is also highly recommended, as they are some of the most popular destinations in New Zealand and on the South Island. From Queenstown, I sided with Real Journeys for a daytrip out to Milford Sound: morning coach on the only road access, Milford Sound Highway (State Highway 94), from Queenstown to Milford Sound; a boat into the fiord; and the return to Queenstown by plane. The Maori Ngai Tahu name for the body of water is Piopiotahi (“one piopio bird”). The piopio resembles a thrush but is considered extinct with the last sighting in 1905.

Much of the scenery reminds me of my home province: coastal British Columbia. Carved by glacial activity, Fjords (also spelled “fiords”) are long narrow inlets with steep sides or cliffs. My time in southwest New Zealand reminds me of home along the southwest coast of British Columbia.

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New Zealand: Grand Traverse over the Southern Alps

The majestic mountain spine along New Zealand’s South Island is known as “The Southern Alps”; the Maori Ngai Tahu name for these mountains is “kā tiritiri o te moana”. For many locations around the South Island, you cannot avoid or ignore the sight of looming towers of rock and snow.

Between visits to the Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier, I’d been thinking about whether or not I should have a look at the mountains from above. It would be beautiful, but it also seemed very expensive. What to do, what to do … it sounds stupid writing it out now, but a unique opportunity had presented itself, and I knew I’d have deep regrets if I didn’t take it.

I bit the proverbial bullet and hopped onto a plane with Air Safaris for a 50-minute “The Grand Traverse” tour including aerial views of various glaciers, Horokoau (Mount Tasman), and Aoraki (Mount Cook).

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Lake Matheson, Westland National Park, West Coast, South Island, New Zealand,

New Zealand: Lake Matheson & the southern Alps at sunset

Rewards go to the patient, especially those on daytime walks through the temperate rainforest to the Franz Josef Glacier and the Fox Glacier.

After all, this area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

After my visit to Fox Glacier earlier in the day, I arranged for a short 10-minute shuttle from Fox Glacier town to Lake Matheson (Te Ara Kairaumati) before sunset. Even in winter’s low-season, I was surprised by how few people were around to enjoy the view.

The sequence of photos below span a period of just over one hour in time. Appearing in most of the photos are the two grand snow-frosted peaks: Mount Tasman (Horokoau) on the left and Aoraki (Mount Cook) on the right.

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Fox Glacier, Westland National Park, West Coast, South Island, New Zealand

New Zealand: forest walk to Fox Glacier

With coach services, I’ve been making my way down the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island. I spend a couple of days around Franz Josef town, and I describe the walk from town to the Franz Josef Glacier.

Will a visit to the Fox Glacier be as memorable? To find out, I head south on Highway 6 (Haast Highway) to Fox Glacier town (formerly Weheka), some 20 kilometres from Franz Josef town.

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