Kaikoura Coast Track, Canterbury NZ

The Kaikoura Coast Track is a two day private walk taking in spectacular coastal scenery & patches of native bush. Accommodation is provided.

The Kaikoura Coast Track was my first time doing a private walk, (one that you pay to do), and also my first overnighter. It’s really a combination of two day walks, with the organisers taking your stuff between ‘bach’ style accommodation – so it’s a pretty cruisy way to walk. The scenery on the first day included dark volcanic sands, sea cliffs and patches of native bush. The second day starts inland, and you walk over Skull Peak (489m) with 360 degree views over the area and more native bush as you walk back to the coast. (These views were unfortunately clouded in on the day we did it, so no pics). There’s also quite a bit of wildlife around: lots of seals, but you can sometimes see dolphins and whales. The less attractive sections include sometimes smelly paddocks and a couple of stretches of road, but all in all a nice and unique walking experience. Continue reading “Kaikoura Coast Track, Canterbury NZ”

Travis Wetland Circuit, Christchurch NZ

A very pleasant short walk in the north-east of Christchurch around the reconstructed Travis Wetland, with native plants & lots of birdlife.

My wife Sophia has worked opposite Travis Wetland in the Christchurch suburb of Burwood for a few months, but this was our first time to visit it. I didn’t expect all that much, but it is in fact a very pleasant stroll. The majority of the area is grassy wetland, but various iconic native plants are planted along the track, many of them labelled. And there are pleasant lakes, lots of birdlife, and a viewing tower so you can get a proper look at the area. Continue reading “Travis Wetland Circuit, Christchurch NZ”

Cape Foulwind Walkway, Westport NZ

A pleasant and easy walk through a re-vegetated strip of coast near Westport.

On our first visit to the New Zealand’s West Coast we planned first to drive over from Christchurch via the Lewis Pass and spend a night in Westport, then drive down the coast and spend some time there doing walks in glacier country. Nevertheless, we had a couple of hours spare in Westport and went out to see the coast and discovered the pleasant Cape Foulwind Walkway. A local school and the DOC have been re-vegetating this coastal strip with native plants since the 90’s, so  it is quite attractive in places. Continue reading “Cape Foulwind Walkway, Westport NZ”

Taking Better Photos On Your Hikes

Ten easy tips for taking better photos on your hikes.

I’m definitely more of a hiker than a photographer. Nevertheless, I very much enjoy recording and sharing the scenery I encounter on my walks, and so photography has become an integral part of my hiking experience. This escalated rather when I started my blog.

Me taking pictures. My wife Sophia doesn't take many photos, but she did a good job with this one I think: nicely framed. Looking at this now I think I lightened the shadows too much, but we can talk about that later. 
[Asgard Swamp & Thor Head Track, Blue Mountains]
Me taking pictures. My wife Sophia doesn’t take many photos, but she did a good job with this one I think: nicely framed. Looking at this now I think I lightened the shadows too much, but we can talk about that later.

I definitely wouldn’t classify what I do as landscape photography. Those guys spend a lot of time setting up a shot, choosing the right lighting, and editing the photo afterwards. And they use a lot of gear I don’t have, like lens filters and tripods. The end result is often a work of art, but that’s not even what I want out of a photo. I just want to accurately portray what my eyes saw, and sometimes add a little artistry to a shot.

As I get more obsessed with my photography I am inevitably learning things through trial and error. I’ve compiled some of this learning into ten tips for taking decent shots of your hikes.

  1. Not Too Much Sky
  2. Landscape or Portrait Orientation
  3. 16:9 versus 4:3
  4. Wonky Horizons
  5. Light and Shadow
  6. Scale
  7. Shooting Wildlife… with a camera!
  8. Photography Gear
  9. Editing Your Photos
  10. Have Some Fun

(If you want to look at some galleries of my photos, you can find them here.)

Continue reading “Taking Better Photos On Your Hikes”

Narrawallee Creek Nature Reserve Circuit, near Ulladulla NSW

A very pleasant walk through open forest, along long beaches and over colourful rocky headlands. And you’ll likely come across various birdlife along the way.

This circuit walk in Narrawallee Creek Nature Reserve exceeded expectations. It starts in fairly open forest and heads towards the coast, then passes through an area containing many cycads, ancient and attractive plants that predate conifers on the evolutionary timeline. It then runs south along Conjola Beach to the many colourful rocks on Buckley’s Point, further on to Narrawallee Creek itself, and then back to the start through a variety of open forest. There’s various bird life along the way, including sea birds nesting along Narrawallee Creek, and black cockatoos in the forest bordering the creek. Continue reading “Narrawallee Creek Nature Reserve Circuit, near Ulladulla NSW”