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New Zealand and Australia photo blog (graphics heavy)

by MillMan Thu Jan 8th, 2009 at 05:21:58 AM EST

Inspired by In Wales, I thought I should post some photos before I get too far into Asia.


I was in New Zealand for the month of November and Australia for December. This is the longest I have been away from home, but there has been little stress - travel feels quite natural.

Ok, that's a bit of a lie. There has been terrible stress at a few points. It hasn't been travel related so much as brought on by the emotional freedom of my day to day life on the road. Maybe, if you're unlucky, you'll get a diary on that at some point in the future.

My mind is at ease. During the flight to Singapore there were a number of unruly children and crying babies. I didn't care about any of it. It was completely irrelevant. The crying didn't harm my mood, I didn't want to lecture the parents of the poorly reared children, I didn't want to put duct tape over the mouths of the screaming kids. I just read my book with a smile on my face. In a sense I wasn't even on the flight. On the first flight of the trip from San Francisco to Auckland, my take was quite the opposite.

While my primary daily activity is leisure, I've made photography into my job. In a sense. So here we go.

[all of these photos can be found on my flickr page in full res, which is much nicer for the landscape photos]

My first big activity was the Tongariro Crossing hike on New Zealand's north island. The hike is around 20km with 1000m of elevation gain. The first photo is a picture of me.

summit descent:

trail to myself:

Vertical icicles, created the day prior:

A few days later I hopped in a rental car and headed off counter-clockwise from Christchurch, starting with a stunning drive through pastoral New Zealand:

there was a seal:

and some mountains:

and some sheep:

and a glacial fed river on the west coast:

I stopped off for a few days to do a hike of Franz Josef glacier. It was as amazing as the Tongariro crossing hike.

Then there was a very blue lake:

and a bird on my car:

and Milford Sound, which upon viewing I declared "there is nothing left to see."

Then more sheep:

and even some penguins.

I headed back to the north island for a week before heading to Australia. I got a tour of Wellington from a local who I had met on the south island a few weeks prior.

Then it was off to Rotorua for a walk around a steamy volcanic valley:

Then onward to Melbourne for a week:

and a drive along the great ocean road.

I drove inland, taking in an endless expanse of Australia's doomed agricultural lands:

I arrived in Mildura and took a tour of Mungo National Park given by a local aboriginal. The park contains ancient lake beds whose water disappeared during the last ice age. The oldest known human remains have been found in this park - over 40 thousand years old. The sand left from the lakes has been carved by the wind and rain through the years.

We got a move on shortly after I took this photo as the storm was rapidly approaching:

but we were rewarded later.

I took several days driving to Sydney. I stayed in the blue mountains, just west of Sydney, for four days, the highlight of which was a tour of the Jenolan Caves:

and I hiked this valley as well.

I spent two weeks in Sydney. Met some great people, whose photos I am not posting. heh. I tend to not have my camera out when socializing anyway.

The opera house gives a lot of opportunities for interesting compositions which escaped me before I saw it in person as I've seen the same shot of it one hundred thousand times in my life.

can't leave out the ubiquitous harbour bridge:

And I'll be back in a few months with more.

Display:
Now for a nap before yet more beer with the Brits, whose stories are all about beer.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Thu Jan 8th, 2009 at 05:23:42 AM EST
that dosn't sound like us ;-)

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Jan 8th, 2009 at 05:33:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
well ok, the stories aren't about beer per say, but they all start with its consumption.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Thu Jan 8th, 2009 at 05:37:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I do know just the conversations

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Jan 8th, 2009 at 05:38:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Love the last picture of the sunset ;-)

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Jan 8th, 2009 at 05:37:56 AM EST
Good pix, Millman!

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Jan 8th, 2009 at 06:14:00 AM EST
Great pictures and a great trip so far, by the look of it.
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Thu Jan 8th, 2009 at 07:58:46 AM EST
Wow, stunning!  Thanks for these. What amazing scenery, and you've captured them so well too. I want to be there. Remind me what kit you have?
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Jan 8th, 2009 at 09:59:38 AM EST
Thanks. I have:
Nikon D40x

lenses:
Nikon 18-200mm AF-S
Sigma 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM

I don't think any of the photos here were taken with the sigma, although the opera house photo I put in the christmas photo blog was.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Thu Jan 8th, 2009 at 10:44:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Middle Earth really is pretty damn amazing. I still don't understand how it is that farms are so expensive there with all that empty space. I'd move there like a shot if it wasn't so far from everywhere else.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jan 8th, 2009 at 01:25:38 PM EST
I still don't understand how it is that farms are so expensive there with all that empty space.

Because its not empty - it's already full of bloody sheep (and the price is driven by the potential to stick much more profitable and far dirtier cows on it)

by IdiotSavant on Thu Jan 8th, 2009 at 05:24:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's stupid, the future of world meat is goats and pigs. Plus ducks seem like a good idea for arable farms (slug hoovers)

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Jan 9th, 2009 at 06:06:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What's wrong with sheep?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jan 9th, 2009 at 06:19:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nothings wrong with sheep, but if we're talking about food self-sufficiency (which I am) I think sheep are higher maintenance. You'd have to source an old and very hardy sheep to get within touching distance of a goat.

My view is that goats do well on very steep slopes and light woodland, pigs do well in pasture and woods as well.

So you can exploit what are marginal environments for sheep or cattle. I suspect we may be dealing with marginal environments in the years to come and intensive cattle and sheep farming may not work so well. At marginal levels, goats and pigs are the way forward.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Jan 9th, 2009 at 10:03:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My father, in his employed life, visited in the region of 45 countries. He was firmly of the opinion that New Zeeland is the only country he'd like to move to.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Jan 9th, 2009 at 08:11:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I couldn't live there, but for people focused on farming or outdoor activities the appeal is completely obvious.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Fri Jan 9th, 2009 at 08:32:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
and a bird on my car

That would be a Kea, our other (unofficial) national bird.  And you're lucky the car was still there afterwards - Kea are famous vandals.

(Why our other national bird?  Well, while the quiet, nocturnal kiwi symbolises our harmless, peaceful, too-stupid-to-live side (which we cherish), Keas are all about curiousity and mischeiviousness - without needing beer to aid the latter.  They're a pest, but we're quite fond of them...)

by IdiotSavant on Thu Jan 8th, 2009 at 05:22:21 PM EST
Yeah, they are terrible. One of them tried to eat my car's antennae shortly after I took that pic. And the tourists love to feed them (thus all the signs begging you not to feed them).

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Thu Jan 8th, 2009 at 08:05:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And the tourists love to feed them.

That's because they don't want their cars eaten.

by IdiotSavant on Fri Jan 9th, 2009 at 05:55:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
(Why our other national bird?  Well, while the quiet, nocturnal kiwi symbolises our harmless, peaceful, too-stupid-to-live side (which we cherish), Keas are all about curiousity and mischeiviousness - without needing beer to aid the latter.

Hahaha...I lived in New Zealand for 4 years and I struggled to understand people and a way of life there. Now I know...you put it so well...no one can describe us (as people) as we can do it ourselves...


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Thu Jan 8th, 2009 at 10:23:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
MillMan, thanks for the phine photo diary.  Bit different than the Bay Area.  Lurk forward to more.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Thu Jan 8th, 2009 at 05:37:46 PM EST
Your photos are amazing! Simply amazing. Are you professional photographer? Cause if you are not you should be! Great! Give us more, please!

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Thu Jan 8th, 2009 at 08:09:29 PM EST
Not a pro, no. I think I have some skill but there are a lot of people who do, and looking at photo books done by the pros I'm still missing some things. I'd probably lose my ability to enjoy it if I struggled to make a living doing photography.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Thu Jan 8th, 2009 at 11:59:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd probably lose my ability to enjoy it if I struggled to make a living doing photography.  

Yes it is a struggle...but you may still try to sell some of your photos.They are really good!Do not be so modest, haha.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Fri Jan 9th, 2009 at 04:13:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, if I promoted myself in some fashion I could probably sell a few. I may try that. I wouldn't consider that going far beyond a hobby if I'm selling one here and there for a few $.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Fri Jan 9th, 2009 at 05:20:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Have you visited Queensland?

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Thu Jan 8th, 2009 at 08:10:36 PM EST
No. Had I done two months in AU instead of one I would have spent time up there, and probably gone to Alice Springs or Perth as well.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Thu Jan 8th, 2009 at 11:47:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Very nicely done - and thanks for sharing!

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire
by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Thu Jan 8th, 2009 at 08:48:41 PM EST
A very good pictorial essay. Stunning photos.
Thanks

The difference between theists and atheists is that the atheists don't set the theists on fire for refusing to agree with them.
by Knucklehead on Sat Jan 10th, 2009 at 06:47:05 PM EST


The Fates are kind.
by Gaianne on Mon Jan 12th, 2009 at 11:58:31 PM EST


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