Flying over Water, Iceand Land in NZ

I am having trouble getting my images to display so am reposting this. The images are just picked randomly this time rather than the carefully edited ones yesterday. If it works it will also mean I lose my comments. Sorry comentators!

I suffer seriously from motion sickness. I have been seasick in the Galapogas Is, airsick in a balloon over the Masai Mara and revoltingly sick for two hours in a light plane over Lake Argylle in Western Australia. These were all expensive, excruciating occasions! So it was with trepidation (and medication) I took of from Lake Tepako for a 45 min Air Safari Grand Traverse flight over the glaciers around Mt Cook, highest peak in NZ. Edit


 The flight was smooth, the pills worked and the weather was amazing. I would like to share some photos. 

Edit The pictures show Glenmore sheep station, adjoining the lake, the braided Godley River and glaciers and peaks surrounding Mt Cook. Edit Shown first is the Murchison Glacier, then the Tasman, the Franz Josef and the Fox. The peak is that of Aoraki/Mt Cook (3754m) 


Christchurch – Four Years Dealing With Crisis

We only spent 12 hours in Christchurch – long enough to teach me something! It is approaching the fourth anniversary of the major earthquake here where I remember a solid week of media attention on the devastated city, the 185 people killed, the dissection of what causes earthquake, appeals for charitable responses and post earth quake stories about emergency services travelling from all over the world to help out.

This was not our hotel in Christchurch, which was mostly surrounded by flattened building sites, but an entire wrecked street about a block away.

We were certainly not aware of what was still happening four years later though. Frank, our driver from the airport, summed it up “It took 120 years to build this city and 30 seconds to flatten it. We’d like it fixed right now but realistically it won’t be right for 10 years” it’s not just economic costs either. Entire suburbs are still without sewerage and running water – those underground services take so long long to plan and rebuild and the 10,000 aftershocks the city suffered made it so dangerous to safely get started. Rebuilding costs? Forty billion dollars and rising. The populations dropped,  entire industries have moved, and difficult decisions made on abandoning iconic landmarks – even the question “is this place, on a fault line, too dangerous for a city altogether? had to be considered

The lessons for the people of Christchurch continue daily but I hope what I learned today will remain with me. Our daily news cycle now includes a staple catastrophe story. Sometimes it’s a natural disaster like tsunami, bushfire or earthquake but often it’s human in origin like atrocities, terrorism and war. We recognise that emotionally we respond more to things that affect us, or people like us, or are close to us geographically, and this is reflected in the space the media allocates. This explains why a terrorist incident in Sydney consumes the news for a month and a mass slaughter in Africa hardly rates a mention. 

However we are being trained by the media to have such short attention spans! Why don’t we demand to hear the end of the story as well as the beginning. It might not be as exciting to consider rebuilding as demolition but it’s just as important for us to know what happened next.

Caravanning in Western NSW

In October 2014 we travelled in our caravan from Sydney to Adelaide via the southern route through the Riverina and then back through Broken Hill. For my overseas readers thats a distance of over 3000 kilometres in three weeks. That central part of Australia is very hot, dry and desolate. During our 8 day trip through from Broken Hil through to Young the temperature each day ranged from a “cool” 36 degrees C to a “warmish” 41!

Here are a few images._DSC2082

Nine km from the city of Broken Hill amongst the Barrier Ranges is The Living Desert Reserve. A sculpture symposium was held on this hilltop in 1993 by artists from around the world, who produced 12 sandstone sculptures highlight the skyline, all with a story to tell. This was one.

War Memorial small

We stayed outside Broken Hill in the abandoned mining town of Silverton. Nearly a century after mining finished it is now a tourist attraction and a very popular movie set , best known for “Mad Max” and a multitude of commercials.

The photograph here is from the unique memorial outside a graveyard mainly featuring ancient headstones. The three turrets are formed from the broken heads of miners pickaxes. One side of the memorial members the miners who left the district to join the Army in WW1 100 years ago. The reverse side, facing the graves remembers the miners who died in the terrible working conditions where accidents were common and lung damage normal.


The Header for my blog is a shot from the Menindee lakes, an artificial water storage build to supply the needs of Broken Hill. The Darling River would normally run dry in summer without the dams to contain the lakes and channels.

The Emu was a visitor while we were setting up our caravan. I imagine he(?) was hand reared because he followed me around while I photographed and even lay down at my feet like a dog while I read my book in a chair under the annex. I called him Willy.

The Long Road to New Zealand

The Long Road in NZ-X3

I better start by writing “That’s not my photo!” and correctly attributing it to one of my favourite travel photographers, Trey Ratcliffe from, a photographer, writer, artist and adventurer from New Zealand. It fits in  with my next trip, starting in six days time to the Land of the Long White Cloud, across the ditch called the Tasman Sea from Australia. I am hoping that some of my followers from my Australian and European blog posts will get an email alerting them to the fact that “here he goes again” and, as my friend Steve says “I better get the dictionary out for another lesson!”

Typing this reminds me of the bits of my last overseas trip and recent Australian travels that I never got around to sharing. I guess that’s life – when you get home the real whole just crowds back in.