Castlepoint

It’s a place I heard about on Instagram only, with a pic from a kiwi photographer. It’s a bit off the beaten (tourist) track, on the Eastern coast of the North Island of New Zealand, 3 hours from Wellington. It’s the first place I visted after leaving the South Island, and it completely blew my mind. Welcome to the end of the road. Welcome to Castlepoint.

The place was named by James Cook in 1770, when the captain discovered that huge chunk of a rock that reminded him of a castle’s battlements. The 162-meters high hill stands at the southern end of a limestone reef, creating a unique geological scenery that attracts holiday goers.

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2019 in review

It might be a bit late to have a look back at year 2019, but life has been very busy since I came back to Finland in the beginning of the month and I haven’t had much time for the blog.

I started the year in Jaipur (India) with my family, taking a plane on that day to spend a few days by the sea in Goa. After that, I flew back to New Zealand for 9 more months of working holiday. I stayed on the South Island until mid-April, visiting wonderful Fiordland twice and living 2 months in Dunedin to volunteer for penguins on the peninsula. I then migrated north, visiting wonderful Castlepoint before reaching Rotorua, where I stayed for a month and gave a talk at the Rotorua Camera Club about my travelling through New Zealand.

I then had a three-week tour of the North Island with Vivien, visiting Taranaki in the process, and closed my year in kiwiland by a 1.5 month stay in the largest city, Auckland, exactly where it all started in August 2018. I spiced up that last stage with a week of volunteering on wonder island Tiritiri Matangi.

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Taranaki

Mount Taranaki is one of the most stunning mountains of New Zealand, with its elegant narrow cone pointing straight to the sky. In fact, it looks so much like Japan’s Mount Fuji that scenes of The Last Samourai were shot with Mount Taranaki in the background…

Located at the Eastern corner of the North Island, it’s only the last in line in a series of older volcanoes that extend to the North-West. The reason is that the Indo-Australian plate is slowly moving compared to the magma source. The oldest volcanic activity in the area dates back to 1.75 million years ago. The second to last, the Pouakai complex, was active between 500 000 and 240 000 years ago, before Mount Taranaki started 135 000 years ago. Nowadays, the latter reaches 2 518 meters above sea level, almost a perfect cone but for the low bump of Pouakai on its North-Western side.

Mount Taranaki, with the Pouakai complex on the left

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The South Island exclusive files: mountainside

In the past few months, I extensively wrote about my peregrinations around the South Island of New Zealand, from beaches to mountaintops. Between November and April, I volunteered, I climbed, I hid, I drove… I had a good time!

I published a great many articles, but they didn’t cover everything: sometimes I didn’t feel like I had enough material to write anything, or I just didn’t feel like it. That said, I still have pictures I’d like to show you. The previous article was dedicated to coastal areas, so here we go with the mountains!

Ready?

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The South Island exclusive files: seaside

In the past few months, I extensively wrote about my peregrinations around the South Island of New Zealand, from beaches to mountaintops. Between November and April, I volunteered, I climbed, I hid, I drove… I had a good time!

I published a great many articles, but they didn’t cover everything: sometimes I didn’t feel like I had enough material to write anything, or I just didn’t feel like it. That said, I still have pictures I’d like to show you, hence this article, dedicated to coastal areas of the island, and its follow up, dedicated to the highlands.

Ready?

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The north of the south

After an exhausting but exhilarating climb to the top of Saint Arnaud Range, I continued north to explore the shore of Tasman Bay and Golden Bay. In the former, I had little interest: too much agriculture, too many people, too little nature, it wasn’t for me! I slept a night in Motueka because I badly needed a shower, then continued on. My first stop was at the Riwaka Resurgence, a lovely dale sacred to the local Maori where a newborn river carved its way through forest and boulders.

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Painted with gold

As the crow flies, it would have been straight north from Christchurch. However, Maui’s canoe wasn’t flat, and the Southern Alps run from one end of the South Island to the other. After I left the cultivated plains, I was taken left and right, east and west, up the passes and down the valleys, sometimes accross the forest, sometimes accross meadows, in the shadows of high peaks dusted by snow. It was the end of summer.

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Published!

=)

 

[fr] Je suis très heureux de voir mes photos publiées dans le magazine nature Terre Sauvage ! Le numéro 368 (Septembre 2019), en kiosque ce mois-ci, contient en effet un article sur mon voyage dans les îles subantarctiques de Nouvelle-Zélande et d’Australie, intitulé “Trésors australs”. Je suis trop content !

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I’m delighted to announce that French nature magazine Terre Sauvage has published my pictures from the Subantarctic Islands of New Zealand and Australia in their latest issue (#368 – September 2019)!

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