From One Extreme To Another: Four Ends Of New Zealand

In New Zealand, “From Cape Reinga to The Bluff” is a frequently used phrase to describe a trip from the country’s northernmost point to the country’s southernmost point. It’s a bit incorrect though.

While Cape Reinga is the northernmost point you can reach on State Highway 1 (SH1), and Bluff is the southernmost point you can reach on SH1, both locations are, from a geographical point of view, no extreme points of New Zealand (points that lie farther north or south than any other location in the country).

Therefore, I’d like to show you how the northern and southern extreme points of New Zealand’s two biggest islands look like. Please expect a few surprising differences given that the length of New Zealand — measured as a gentle curve from the northern tip of the North Island to the southern tip of the South Island — is around 1,500 km. (I’m sorry that I have to turn a blind eye on Stewart Island here; I sadly never made it there. Wrong! Never say never!).

Join me on my photo series from the North Island’s northern tip — the North Cape — to the North Island’s Southern tip — Cape Palliser, before we continue on the South Island’s Northern tip — Cape Farewell — heading all the way down to the South Island’s Southern tip — Slope Point.

Make sure to click on the photos for detailed captions and insights.

1. N/N: North Cape

2. N/S: Cape Palliser

3. S/N: Cape Farewell

 4. S/S: Slope Point

Have you been to one or several extreme points of New Zealand yet (N-S-E-W)? Which one is your favorite?

Since the South Island’s extreme points in the West and East are hard to reach, I would be very interested to see your photos and hear your story of the West Cape in Fiordland (westernmost point) or the West Head in the Marlborough Sounds (which is, despite its name, the easternmost point).

Now let me end today’s post with one of my photos from another beautiful extreme: The North Island’s easternmost point — the East Cape. This is where I have witnessed the last sunrise of the year 2012 (December 31) as one of the first persons in the world (a stone’s throw from the international date line).

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Maori Values

Waitangi Treaty Grounds Marae

Maori Marae (meeting house) on the Waitangi Treaty Grounds in New Zealand

“He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata! He tangata! He tangata!”
“What is the most important thing in the world? It is people! It is people! It is people!”

“He tangata takahi manuhiri, he marae puehu.”
“A person who mistreats his guest has a dusty Marae (meeting house)” — meaning, someone who disregards his visitors will soon find he has no visitors at all.

Hospitality, respect for and interest in other people has top priority in Maori society. However, there are rules! As outsider you cannot simply enter a Marae (meeting house) and mingle; you have to wait for the invitation of a tribal member.

On the Waitangi Treaty Grounds — the historic place where Maori chiefs first signed their accord with the British Crown — visitors are usually invited by the guides to enter the Marae on the photo above, which represents not only one tribe but the unity of Maori throughout New Zealand. It’s easily the most beautiful building I’ve entered in Aotearoa!

Photo details (please click on the image for best quality):
Canon EOS 60D, 17mm, ISO 4000, F9, 1/15 sec., no filter, no flash.
Panorama stitched out of 5 single exposures.

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Weekend Wanderings: Rare Birds, Dinos, And Hungry Eels

New Zealand’s National Wildlife Centre, Pukaha Mount Bruce, is a place where I could easily spend a few hours.

Double rainbow over Mt Bruce Nature Reserve New Zealand

Perfect welcome ceremony at Pukaha Mount Bruce (not sure they do that every day though ;) )

White New Zealand Kiwi Bird Manukura

While the Centre is famous among tourists for having a rare white kiwi – Manukura – it was the first place in New Zealand where I had the chance to see a kokako (after 3.5 years in the country).

Rare Bird Kokako Mt Bruce New Zealand

Kokakos are native birds who have different songs (“dialects”) depending on where they live. They are extremely endangered; only 40 of them are living wild in the Pukaha forest!

New Zealand Tuatara Dinosaur

Tuataras – “living fossils” that were already around during the age of the disonsaurs – are always nice to observe. Though I wasn’t 100% sure who was actually observing whom…

Mt Bruce New Zealand Eel feeding

The main attraction at Pukaha Mount Bruce are the daily eel feeding sessions. Volunteers are very welcome!

Mt Bruce New Zealand Eel feeding

Beside enjoying some gentle strokes, the Pukaha longfin eels want to be fed with a silver spoon.

Mt Bruce New Zealand Eel feeding

Their diet: Veggies with bacon and a couple of mice for dessert. Yummi!

Beside nature reserves like Pukaha Mount Bruce, community driven projects for bird recovery and pest control are a popular method to protect New Zealand’s native tuataras and endangered bird species like kiwis and kokakos.

Listen to the sound of the video below to get an impression of how a New Zealand forest can sound like thanks to successful pest control management and animal protection. I’m loving it!

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Weekend Wanderings: Coromandel In Landscape Mode

Coromandel is a small peninsula on New Zealand’s Northern Island. It’s a popular weekend destination for Aucklanders, especially during the summer months.

We went there in winter!

Coromandel in winter = empty beaches, peaceful walks, silent sunsets, pure tranquility. Have a look!

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Spirit Of Place

Ben Lomond Queenstwon New Zealand

It is a pity indeed to travel and not get this essential sense of landscape values. You do not need a sixth sense for it. It is there if you just close your eyes and breathe softly through your nose; you will hear the whispered message, for all landscapes ask the same question in the same whisper. ‘I am watching you — are you watching yourself in me?’ Most travelers hurry too much…
~Lawrence Durrell

Photo details (Location: Ben Lomond Walk in Queenstown, New Zealand):
Canon EOS 60D, 17mm, ISO 500, F20, 1/100 sec., no camera filter, no flash.

I found it tough, if not impossible, to capture the value of this Queenstown scenery in a single photo; so I took my time for two more panoramas (please click on all images for a bigger version). Do you take your time when travelling to soak up the spirit and beauty of a place, or do you rush on to see as many things as possible?

Ben Lomond Walk Queenstown New Zealand

Photo details (180° panorama of Ben Lomond Walk in Queenstown):
Canon EOS 60D, 17mm, ISO 200, F8, 1/250 sec., no camera filter, no flash.
Stitched out of 5 single frames.

Ben Lomond Walk Queenstown New Zealand

Photo details (360° panorama of Ben Lomond Walk in Queenstown):
Canon EOS 60D, 17mm, ISO 200, F9, 1/250 sec., no camera filter, no flash.
Stitched out of 17 single frames.

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