How could I ever squeeze the words “freezing”, “dry”, “red”, “traditional”, “heat”, “crocodile”, “billabong”, “blue” and “bushfire” into one photo essay description without writing a novel? You’re right, I can’t. So let me just briefly discuss some weather phenomenons of the Northern Territory, which create a huge natural variety and diversity on the 1,800 kilometres between Australia’s tropical North and the continent’s arid centre.
During our first week in the Red Centre — around Alice Springs — we didn’t see a single cloud. Unfortunately, that clear blue sky over the desert didn’t offer much protection when temperatures dropped from comfortable 20°C over the day to uncomfortable 0°C at night. Camping fun!
That said, taking the plane to Darwin to spend our second week in the Northern Territory’s tropical North sounded like the greatest thing since sliced bread. Due to the wet season, when tropical cyclones and monsoons reign the northern top end, the Darwin region gets 9 times more rain each year than the central desert. While it didn’t rain during our stay (July = dry season), we got to see some clouds up north; and we were finally back to comfortable camping temperatures at night.
Let’s have a look at how these weather differences influence(d) the land, nature and animals of the Northern Territory.
Typical morning routine: A hot beverage to forget the freezing night temperatures
Uluru — Ayers Rock — is the reason why thousands of tourists travel thousands of kilometres through the Australian desert each year
Some shapes, like this wave, are inexplicable (if you don’t believe in the Aboriginies’ mythology)
The moon over Uluru, which isn’t all that smooth on the surface and actually reminds me of New Zealand Kauri
Each evening, Uluru does its magic when it’s turning redder and redder
Every morning the same procedure…
Sunrise over The Olgas (Kata Tjuta)
These large domed rock formations are not far from Uluru but lesser known
The Kata Tjuta Rim Walk leads through beautiful landscapes, though it’s often unsheltered and tough in hot summer temperatures
Kings Canyon, another red National Park in the NT
To be honest, I preferred the walks and views over Kings Canyon to Ayers Rock and The Olgas
Enjoying the sunrise on the Kings Canyon Rim Walk
Ghost Gum, a rare evergreen eucalyptus tree growing in rocky and arid regions of the NT
Harsh desert conditions are tough on plants, which often appear spiky
That’s the soil such plants can grow on in the West McDonnell Ranges (Trephina Gorge) near Alice Springs
A species found in the East McDonnell Ranges
Ormiston Gorge reflections (sorry for the mind play :) )
Perfect reflections like this one are only visible in the early morning or late evening hours when the wind settles down
Ellerlie Creek Dolomite Walk — a kangaroo’s paradise
Nature is the best artist!
Waterhole at Ellerlie Creek (10°C)
Taking the plane from Alice Springs to Darwin; flying over the beautifully meandering Adelaide River
Must do from Darwin: Visiting the Kakadu National Park
Marveling at the sunset over these wide plains with heaps of billabongs
It isn’t recommended to go close to billabongs since crocodiles live in there
So we focused on the tiny animal world…
…and flowers growing on arid soil
The NT is and always has been home to many Aboroginies
Their culture and dreamtime stories are well documented and explained in the National Parks as well as museums nearby
Kakadu NP: yellow flowers
Kakadu NP: Yellow Water
When joining a Yellow Water Cruise, locals will guide you really close to these inhabitants of the billabongs
Crocodile blending in. That’s why they’re so dangerous and unpredictable
Lotus flowers on the Yello Water billabongs
Bushfire between Kakadu NP and Litchfield NP
Litchfield is known for its amazing termite mound landscapes. Besides the cathedral mounds that you can also see in Kakadu NP, Litchfield is home to magnetic termites, building their mounds in a Nort-South direction to avoid that their homes heat up too much
This cathedral termite mound is over 3 metres tall
Litchfield’s waterholes serve as natural pools, which are frequented by locals as well as tourists
After walking around this natural pool in the midday sun, nothing could stop us from jumping straight in
Last sunset over Darwin before heading East to Queensland (photo essay to come)
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Are you as excited about the latest The Hobbit trailer as I am? Five weeks from today I will sit in one of those wide and comfy cinema armchairs, glued to the screen, absorbing Peter Jackson’s latest visual tricks like a sponge, while marvelling at the Trilogy’s sceneries.
Mt. Ngauruhoe aka Mt. Doom, in Tongariro National Park, New Zealand
Best thing about it: I have been there! Most outdoor scenes have been filmed in New Zealand, just like most scenes for The Lord of the Rings. New Zealand is officially Middle-earth; and Mt. Ngauruhoe in Tongariro National Park is the most popular location among orcs fans, as they can attempt to climb “Mt. Doom” and conquer Mordor.
One does not simply walk into Mordor? Oh well, I must have gotten lucky the last 6 times I visited. Yes — visited. I looked and behaved like a tourist in Mordor, and of course I captured it on film (in the form of a 16 GB memory card).
On a foggy day, the region is indeed all about doom and gloom (like in the movies). But on all other days, Tongariro is one surprisingly colourful place to discover. I have been lucky enough to visit the region during all 4 seasons. Each season is unique and totally worth it. But let’s allow some photos to talk for themselves.
SPRING: Parts of the Tongariro Crossing are still covered in snow
View over the Red Crater
Turn around 180° and you will see the Blue Lake
Turn around another 90° and you will discover the Emerald Lakes
Getting close to the Emerald Lakes
Occasionally, Tongariros volcanos can smoke (a lot)
SUMMER: Not how you imagine summer? Weather forecasts are nearly impossible for Tongariro
But you can always marvel at the Park’s “low altitude beauty”, like the Tawhai Falls
Heaps of flowers
On a rainy day you can visit the thermal pools in Tokaanu
Beautiful underwater landscapes at Tokaanu
Or you can stroll around Lake Rotopounamu; a natural shelter from the rain
Rotopounamu is a bird’s paradise; this little fellow is a North Island Robin
AUTUMN: Returning to Tongariro in autumn looked like summery doom and gloom all over again
Though magic was in the air
The next morning looked very different
Perfect day for the Tama Lakes Walk
Or the walk to the Taranaki Falls
Passing the most colourful moss
Moss in all kind of shapes
WINTER: There is rarely snow on the lower altitudes
Only Tongariro’s volcanos are covered in snow
Perfect place for a snowboarding session
Skiing is fine too of course
Whakapapa ski field in Tongariro
What an enchanted place!
Who else is looking forward to rediscover New Zealand in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies?
Exactly one year ago, while updating my blog post “Sunrise Over Rangitoto”, I decided to keep on photographing the weather phenomenons over that volcanic island near Auckland – always from the same viewpoint. As of today, I created 37 panoramas over the past 12 months, all depicting some typical moments of a city by the sea. I uploaded them
as a collage with all photos in chronological order: photo 1 was taken in March 2013; the last photo in March 2014 (please click the collage to enlarge it)
as a gallery to browse all captures by theme: sunrise, cloudy, foggy, rainy, cloud free (please scroll past the collage for the gallery view)
Weather over Rangitoto, Auckland, New Zealand (March 2013 – March 2014)
Click any photo below to open the gallery mode. Then browse by using the arrows to the right or left.
It’s been a while since my last submission for the Weekly Photo Challenge on WordPress. But when I read through this week’s topic announcement – Reflections – Ben’s words caught my attention:
Reflection is an important part of growing as a person, and we each find the perfect moments in different places, people or things. […] For me, those moments most often present themselves in the beauty of a landscape […].
Yep, I thought. I couldn’t agree more! Perfect timing to post a photo of today’s sunrise over Auckland’s Westhaven Marina.
Sun Halo as seen on Phillip Island on the 25th of December 2013
During a walk at The Nobbies on Phillip Island in the South of Australia I was treated to a rare phenomenon that had people turning their heads to the sky: a Sun Halo.
The light refraction causing this optical phenomenon happens due to ice crystals in a thin veil of cirrostratus clouds high in the atmosphere (as opposed to low level raindrops which create rainbows when interacting with sunlight).
Sun Halo, birds and light flare as seen on Phillip Island on the 25th of December 2013