Changing landscapes

We’ve driven, about 600 miles to come from Queenstown to Hoktikia in a roundabout way.

Our first day on the road ended at Tekapo where great telescopes peer through clear skies over its high plateau. We joined a stargazing tour to hear Maori stories of greedy gods and giant birds, and to see the heavens close up. I’ve often wondered if some stars appear in the night skies of both northern and southern hemispheres, and tonight at midnight, whilst bathing in steaming glacial waters, finally learnt that they do. Observing the “Jewel Box” star cluster, Saturn’s rings and the moon’s ragged, mountainous edge was magical and humbling.
boys under moon 800

After a long day’s drive, through landscapes so like “middle earth”, the folk waving at us through the rain from the camper van across the way might well have been holidaying Orcs, we slept in the mountains guarding Arthur’s pass where the wind blew a gale throughout the night. I wondered how exceptional and tough were the settlers who opened the trails, built communities, farmed the land and mined this earth.

orc valley

Today, as we emerged from the Southern Alps onto the West coast, both the weather and landscape changed: from intense rain, to sunshine, to overcast, from steep gorge and dramatic waterfalls to expansive river valleys –

river valley

and finally a vast coastline.

max drawing 800.jpg

Here is a wild place, where bold little feathered dinosaurs emerge from spiky undergrowth to steal your olives,

cheeky dinosaur 2

and the call of the wild can be heard clearly over thundering surf.

theo handstanding 800.jpg

Max drawing of coast

Happy Easter – hope and new beginnings.


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