Local Heart, Global Soul

November 15, 2018

A Backwards View As We Retrace Our Steps…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The one hundred and four kilometre journey (64.6 miles) from Franz Josef to Ross comes quite a bit darker than the morning’s journey had been, and not just because the afternoon is rolling on.

The bad weather on the other side of the Alps sneaks over for very short intervals so whilst it’s fighting to be sunny, we also get five minute showers or rain blown on wind gusts for maybe only a minute at a time.

It’s still seriously warm though so there are no complaints.

I took photographs of the return journey: there may only be one road to Franz Josef and back but the return journey gives you the opportunity to get photographs from a new perspective.

These are the photos that would have only been possible if you’d been looking in the rear view mirror on the way up, or photos that I didn’t get because I was on the wrong side of the car before.

Now the passenger seat is where the driver was on the way up so the journey up has photographs taken predominantly taken from left side of the car and the way back from the right.

It makes a subtle difference and can change the view substantially. As usual, eyes peeled and camera ready…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 25, 2018

Wierd Wet Weather, Both Normal And Abnormal Here…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We are heading south for a day trip down the west Coast, with Greymouth as our resting point each way between here and Hanmer Springs.

On it’s own the car trip doesn’t seem particularly long in kilometres, but this is not a European or North American motorway, this is a Sate Highway New Zealand style.

The roads are in good condition but it’s the huge landscape that they go through that defines them, the roads are also a single lane in each direction so you can throw thoughts of European / North American driving times out of the window, these are roads that force slower speeds and attention on the road at all times.

Stock get out on the road occasionally, or if they are being moved from one paddock to another, it’s good to remember that no matter what, they have right of way at all times.

The day is war there is a light breeze, and the skies are brooding and heavy. There is something you need to know about South Island weather: A near constant stream of hot air drives across the Australian continent from west to east. It continues over the Tasman sea and during it’s 3.500 km journey it picks up moisture from the sea below it. Then this belt of warm, heavily laden air hits the South Island of New Zealand.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The high backbone of the Southern Alps that runs the length of the island acts as a sudden barrier in the path of this air, like a hot air balloon running towards a large wall it needs to get rid of some ballast and fast.

The ballast in this case is moisture: the clouds off-loads rain in order to rise above the mountain tops, the Alps are high and there is a lot of rain to get rid of so it is dumped in torrents.

Torrents is no exaggeration either, they don’t measure their rainfall here in inches or centimetres, the measure it in feet and meters.

With an annual rainfall of more than ten metres this narrow coast is one of the wettest places in the world.

After the clouds have dumped their load of rain on the West Coast of the South Island, the airstream is free to rise above the Alps and continue it’s journey (more or less) east.

Due to the angle of the South Island, the actual direction it come across the Canerbuy Plains at is roughly from the North West, thus the term: “Nor ‘Wester” meaning a hot dry wind coming from the North West. The North Island is covered in large rolling hills and four “proper” mountains, all of then volcanoes. The lack of Alps here means that North Island weather is (with of course the exception of the West Coast) far wetter than the South, but since New Zealand stand at an angle to Australia, and the North Island is closer to the equator, they manage a decent drizzles throughout the year rather than pouring bucket loads.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I know someone who lived in Auckland and she told me once: ” It can rain here almost every single day of the year, sometimes only for five minutes, but it rains and the air always feels damp“.

The upside of the Auckland weather is that it’s sub-tropical, one friend just north of Auckland grows bananas in her garden another fractionall south of Aucland grows oranges, grapefruit, kiwifruit and avocados.

Canterbury, Otago and Marlbourgh in the dry, sunny side of the South Island Alps counter with apples, pears, apricots, peaches, cherries and of course grapes for New Zealand’s famous wines.

NIWA (National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research) puts it excellently: “The total amount of water that falls on New Zealand each year is about 560,000 million cubic metres, including rain and snow.

That’s enough to cover the whole country 2.1 metres deep. Fortunately for city dwellers, most of it falls in the mountains. The Cleddau Valley to the west of Milford Sound, with an estimated average annual rainfall of 13.4 metres, is one of the wettest places in the world! Another example of the wet mountains is the Cropp River in the Hokitika River catchment, which in one year got 18.4 metres. By comparison Wellington and Auckland average 1.2 metres; Dunedin averages 0.8 metres and Christchurch averages a mere 0.6 metres.”

The other main weather pattern for the South Island is a “Southerly”, that comes up from Antarctica and makes temperatures dip along the east coast. This is what we are seeing during our journey here, it means it’s dry on the West Coast and the east coast has nasty weather. This accounts for the amazing sunset we saw in Hanmer Springs, and the odd use of the windscreen wipers now as bits of this nasty business stray back over the mountains.  It’s not raining properly though.

We hear on the radio that the weather is so bad on the east coast that the newly opened State Highway One road north around Kaikoura has had to be closed again. We travelled back from Wellington on it just in time. We also hear that despite the “usual” weather patterns for the West Coast, so little rain has fallen that the province is officially in drought! How is that possible in one of the wettest places in the world? Surly global warming deniers should be alarmed by this news?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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Christmas time in Hokitika…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

It’s more mist than rain…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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NIWA (National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research) /  “New Zealand’s rain falls mainly in the mountains”

October 14, 2018

Heading North West Towards The Pass…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Kiwidutch kids have come up with a joint request, (something they both agree on? I think we may have to take a few temperatures!) and this is go make a side trip so that they can tick a destination off their travel wish-list.

Then came some quick calculations to figure out when we could make this happen.

We had several friends and relatives coming to Hanmer expressly to visit us so when the calendar came out we realised that the next few days would be the only time a detour trip could be squeezed in.

In spite of her tired arms, back and blistered hands from stacking firewood, Kiwi Daughter swiftly got to work packing her suitcase.

Little Mr. did the same, without the tired arms etc. I packed what Himself and I would need into one small suitcase, put my laptop into my backpack with my pain medication and in no time at all we were ready for an early morning start the next day.

There were other suitcases and our stuff in the little house but since there would be people coming from an outside company to fix the malfunctioning Wi-Fi, we decided to leave the key to the house and stack our other clothes and valuables in the little shed at the back of the property out of the way and under separate lock and key.

We couldn’t bring the car up the drive because of the firewood pile in front of the garage, so it was parked on the street for the night.

Early the next morning we were busy getting cases and foodstuffs into the car and rousing sleepy teenagers into enough action to pack them into the vehicle too. Tasks completed we set out bright and early and soon came across a hitch-hiker. His name was Issac and he was going to walk park of the famous Saint James Walkway. We were going his way and had a bigger vehicle so he and his backpack were soon on board. We would our way towards the Lewis Pass, one of only three road passes to traverse the Southern Alps.  The river valleys are beautiful scenery and Himself loves the quiet, winding roads in the South Island, it’s a “proper drive” compares to the motorways of Europe he always says. We set out, a mountain pass is calling…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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July 22, 2018

Kaikoura Heading South…

A Photographic post today. It was the end of December 2017, Kaikoura heading south…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Photographs of the sea whilst in the queue waiting our turn on one of the single lane stretches…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

July 9, 2018

Ugly Or Beautiful?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Following yesterday’s post: the first part of our trip south from Blenheim, New Zealand at the end of December 2017 was generally smooth.

Large scale on-going road works after the massive quake here back in November 2016 of course in many places necessitating waiting our turn in single lane sections and driving slowly past repairs of all varieties.

The Marlbourgh vineyards are all around us in this area so bare hills for grazing mix with patches of vines.

We pass by the historic bridge, and yet again tell each other that one day we will stop and find out what makes it special.

Needless to say we haven’t actually done it so far. Traffic is light and we like to take our time.

I have fond memories of bare golden tussock-covered hills just like these from Otago, so for me these hills are amazingly beautiful, and not “ew ugly” as my children so kindly expressed their opinions.

Our appreciation of the landscape may differ but for me at least, hills like these with glimpses of the towering Southern Alps behind them, are a true sign that I am “home”.

Ugly Or Beautiful? You decide.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

July 5, 2018

Picton And Blenheim For New Overnight Stays…

Filed under: NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY,Seen from: Planes Trains and Automobiles — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Family Kiwidutch disembarked the Wellington to Picton ferry at the very end of 2017.

The earlier sailing had been fully booked and now we have no time to start the journey south.

It’s not just daylight and tiredness we are up against though, it is literally the clock.

All accommodation along the inland route is fully booked, even tiny places like Ward.

The main reason for this is because there have been work crews renting accommodation all through Marlborough after the massive November 2016 earthquake which had it’s epicenter close to Seddon.

Over 21 large landslips blocked State Highway 1 alone, the main highway that runs along the northern east coast of the South Island.

Further inland there was a lot of damage too, not just smaller slips but also large cracks in roads, damage to the rail line, edges sheered away on hillside section of the highways and damage to bridges, all of which need repair. Therefore this section of State Highway 1 has been closed for just over a year, and opened just days before we headed up to Wellington for Christmas. The work is however far from finished and since a lot of the heavy work is being done at night (freeing the road to the new car traffic during the day) the highway is closed to the public from seven in the evening until eight the following morning. This means it is impossible for vehicles coming off the later ferries to get past the damaged section of the road before its curfew. This is also why we could not find accommodation in Picton and why we only got lucky in Blenheim after one of the many places we tried had a last minute cancellation. Luckily Blenheim is only about a half hour drive south…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 17, 2018

Bus Pass ? … Check!

Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY,Seen from: Planes Trains and Automobiles,SINGAPORE — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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I am not sure if this might be a reminder to bring your Bus Pass… but this sight in Singapore made me smile. I have never seen such an ornate display to advertise a bus company: most make do with just a painted logo on the sides, this one literally goes over the top and tries to tick all of the boxes!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 16, 2018

Sightseeing Singapore Style…

Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY,Seen from: Planes Trains and Automobiles,SINGAPORE — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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Getting out and about in Singapore is easy, just order a taxi or get one from a taxi rank. Public transport is cheaper, but since my mobility is limited, not so helpful in our situation. We also save time using taxi’s too. Our Singaporean friend “Velvetine” uses public transport most of the time but also picks up a local variety of Uber, called “Grab”. Apparently these can be shared for people going in the same neighbourhood or along the same route. Even though it is our sixth or seventh time in Singapore, the landscape always surprises, with new buildings abounding, alongside traditional ones. Architecture is often cutting edge, no one can say this this is a city without style. These are just a few of the views from our taxi windows…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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December 22, 2017

Meerle: Beautiful Bricks In Stunning Architecture Continue…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

These photos were loaded already resized via Windows Resizer and loaded via USB memory stick from the old computer, (which I don’t have with me at the moment) I will work on getting to know the Apple Resizer as soon as possible.

After making a morning walking tour of Baarle-Nassau / Baarle Hertog , (well at least Himself walked, I was pushed in the wheelchair) we decided to check out the surrounding area.

The border is not a straight line between Belgium and The Netherlands, so within a twelve kilometer radius we found ourselves in both countries several times.

This is how we suddenly found ourselves in the small but exceedingly interesting village of Meerle.

The church and the buildings around it are architectural jewels in my opinion so of course we stopped for a pause and a closer look.

Even the school has some lighter brick accents and nice patterns. We have a good idea that the large free-standing red building with the stepped gables was probably the former Stadhuis (City Council / City hall), there are so many beautiful features to enjoy.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 11, 2017

Architectural Detail All Over Town…

Himself and I continue our car tour of the area around Baarle-Nassau / Baarle-Hertog. I take lots of photographs for my “architectural detail” archive files.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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