Trip Report
Oceania Rock Climbing and Adventures
Monday April 27, 2015 2:39am
You guys know that I like to keep you in the loop so I'll be doing another super long, ridiculously ongoing journey here for you guys to keep track of. There will be climbing, diving, hiking, lounging, and many other activities. Sometimes it'll probably be boring, other times it will hopefully be awesome and exciting. For those who decide to continue along this journey with me the whole way I'll just say this, you must have way to much time on your hands. Thanks!

I hadn't planned on the Tom Gilje Fundraiser but it was the perfect leadup to this next trip. I got on the first plane leading Alaska and by Los Angeles I had met up with John (coldclimb) and his wife Tracy to start the first leg of our trip in Fiji. We arrived in Fiji early in the morning and got a rental car. The prices here can definitely be expensive. We're not sure if we got a good deal or not but we ended up paying about $40 US per day for the rental. We made up for it on our first night and stayed in a relatively cheap bungalow. Somehow nobody else was staying at this particular resort.

The inside.

Visit on

And outside.

Visit on

Ya thats a cow drinking from our swimming pool.

Visit on

Visit on

After settling in we found our way to Suva and Colo-I-Suva Forest Park. We were trying hard to get into the jungle by trail.

Visit on

Visit on

The trail winds along the river.

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Tracy finding her way through.

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The vines do the same.

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Every now and then we came across frogs.

Visit on

More falls.

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And areas that looked like they came from WWII

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The jungle is full of things to walk as we are missing our elevation.

Visit on

Our drive back to the bungalow was relatively uneventful.

Visit on

We were excited to finally get to one of the outlying islands and booked a trip to Mana Islands.

Visit on

Local wildlife.

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Goodbye mainland!

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Hello Islands!

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We landed on Mana Island after a 40 minute boatride.

Visit on

Thats it for today. I feel sick, mainly because they burn there garbage here and its making me nauseous. Its been really winder except for today, bummer! More soon!

(this is for the thread picture)
This is for the thread picture
This is for the thread picture
Credit: Prezwoodz

  Trip Report Views: 4,444
About the Author
Prezwoodz is a climber of all types from Alaska

Gnome Ofthe Diabase

Out Of Bed
  Apr 27, 2015 - 03:38am PT
Your from Alaska so I gat the draw of the trip to the islands,
We all get to questioning our sanity and a recharge is often due,
Go on intrepid travelers and share with us time mavens.

Author's Reply  Apr 27, 2015 - 06:19pm PT
We went snorkeling and saw some awesome sea life, turtles and manta rays! I mainly have video of the Ray so no photos but I did take some pictures of the sea life with my gopro. I rarely use the thing and will obviously need some practice.

Our resort

A little underwater love with John and Tracy

Sea life.

Heading out on my first dive.

For those who like to dive the costs aren't to bad here but there not the best in the world either. It was $50 for one dive. Kind of expensive. But the sights were amazing. One again I don't really have any pictures just video but I saw sharks and turtles. Awesome stuff.

We went back to the hostel and talked with Tiki, one of the workers who told us that if you use a stick to get your coconut from the tree they call you a pussy. So it was necessary to climb the tree and get our own coconuts.


Of course that means you have to cut it open yourself too.

We hiked up to the highest point on the island to get sunset shots.

Other beautiful islands.

We wondered where this car was going...

Tracy in her photo pose.

Are you kidding me? This is paradise.

And for night life, sit back and watch the kids play.

Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Apr 28, 2015 - 06:18pm PT
Nice Kelsey you have a great eye!

Mountain climber
Colorado & Nepal
  Apr 28, 2015 - 10:17pm PT
You're really making me homesick for that part of the world! Ireally miss that beautiful green and the shades of blue sea ! Thanks!

Trad climber
  Apr 28, 2015 - 11:47pm PT
That looks flippin fantastic. Enjoy paradise, you are making us all jealous. Wow.

Author's Reply  May 3, 2015 - 12:31pm PT
Thanks all for joining along! It's been a bit but here's my update.

We loaded the boat and said goodbye to Mana Island, until next time.

We headed back from Mana Island to make our way to New Zealand and stayed at Bamboo Backpackers hostel, it was sleeping in a nice hospital.

There are a lot of very friendly cats here, its a nice change from the mean street animals you find in other places.

The views! I'm definitely going to miss Fiji.

Well the next post is all about NZ. The climbing hasn't started yet so thanks for carrying along through this random travelling! Hopefully we'll have some climbing to add after this next big bunch.

Author's Reply  May 3, 2015 - 01:35pm PT
We landed in NZ and spent the day around Aukland and its not the most beautiful city, although it does have some photo worthy items. I didn't really take any on the first run. The next morning we decided to drive north and stopped at Puketi Forest Reserve to see what the woods look like here. It was an interesting start as we had to walk across a cow pasture to get there.

Right through.

You looking at me?

The bridge to the reserve.

For those who don't like lots of pictures of vines and ferns, this next section will probably bore you a bit but hang with me!

People had told us that NZ was pretty much just a second Alaska. Well we were beginning to doubt them as we don't really have tropical trees. What is this mystical place?

Some things were like home.

Some were not.

Kauri Trees, these may be some of my new favorite trees. Amazing energy and just a beautiful tree.

Lets leave the forest for a bit and lets leave in style. Van #1.

I wanted to dive at least once in New Zealand and at once I learned that the Poor Knights Islands were apparently something amazing. Rated as one of the top dive sites in the world it sounded like a good place to start.

Besides the diving they had some amazing scenery. This is the second largest sea arch in the southern hemisphere.

We went right through a few of the arches. They were huge.

Then we went into the largest sea cave in the world by volume. The acoustics were amazing.

And the color of the water! Schools of fish were everywhere.

I have some gopro footage but I'm probably to lazy to edit it. But the diving was amazing, we went through caverns and saw manta rays, and one of the best parts was diving with Seals! They would come up to us and just watch as as they passed. Couldn't be closer without touching them! No pictures of that as my gopro died on the way up to them. That was terrible but so it goes. We drove on to another campground near the beach and camped. It was time to go exploring at night and see what is out there.

I came quickly up to what one would expect in the night, spiders.

After Africa i'd had enough of spiders though so I continued down to the beach and found some other photos to take.

Back at the campsite I'd figured I was done for the evening but heard a night right next to our campervan.

Awww. Cute.

And in the morning, my first good New Zealand sunrise.

Everything was waking up.


Plant Life.

There she is, keeping watch.

We went back to Aukland to exchange our van, long story short, its what we did.
While there we visited the Aukland museum. Can you sketch like this? Someone did and now its worth a lot of money. (A Picasso)


There going to do a race around the city with these vehicles. That's probably going to be amazing.

Some city art.

Geez this thread feels long. Anyone still with me on this? Oh well. Lets keep going.

We headed off toward an area called Whatipu where they had some pretty cool caves.

And some amazing black sand.

I dont really know what caused this blue but it was pretty awesome.

Tracy enjoying the scenery.


Ok thats it for now! Wow. What a bundle. Were headed to some hot springs and botanical gardens and then finally climbing. See you then!
dee ee

Mountain climber
Of THIS World (Planet Earth)
  May 3, 2015 - 09:03pm PT
Great photos and what a great trip.

Pay attention to the bird life! Some of the coolest birds in the world are down there.

Have (more) fun !!
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  May 6, 2015 - 06:29pm PT
Really nice Kelsey, I always enjoy your art work!

Trad climber
  May 8, 2015 - 03:03pm PT
Wonderful pics! Looks like you are having a great trip. :-)

Author's Reply  May 11, 2015 - 04:36am PT
Thank you everyone for the comments so far!! I'm behind because the internet isn't as easy to find here as you would expect...well it is but its capped everywhere so it takes forever to get some photos uploaded.

We last left off on the East Coast of the north Island. We spent a bit of time around Aukland switching our van out, which I wont go into but we got a new one. Then we began our trek south. We'd heard of hot springs and decided to try and find a few. The first one was a great river with some fun swimming holes called Kerosene Creek.

This is the stuff I've had to deal with this trip. John and Tracy never missing a moment to get in a kiss.

We stayed that night at a wonderful free campground on the river. It was wonderful mainly because it was free and it was on a pretty awesome river.

We stopped by a place simply because it said Thermal Pools and we were wanting more hot springs and it turned out to be a pretty awesome place. So far its the only hot springs were willing to pay for.

Local flora

We'd started moving pretty quick to try and make our way down to the south island. We'd heard it was pretty good down there and we were starting to run out of time! So we drove right on through some cool areas. Those of you who are LOTR fans will remember this as Mt. Doom.

In our campsite that night i went for a little walk and came across something I'd never found in the wild before. A hedgehog!

I called him sonic because I'm original like that.

dee ee, you were right. There are some awesome birds down here. These are for you.

(Uhg…i hate writing an entire trip report and accidentally closing the window instead of saving or sending it…which I just did. Lame! Ok here goes again.)

We continued our way to Wellington which we found quite windy. I guess they call it Windy Welly for a reason. While in Wellington we accidentally ended up at the Weka Workshop, where they make all the LOTR and Hobbit stuff.

A cool place for sure.

They also made this guy.

We caught the ferry and ran for the South Island, it rained and blew us right out of Welly. The weather must get pretty bad as there are two lighthouses at some areas.

Hmm open and ready to go. Not a good sign.

About an hour out we felt the boat stop rocking and went outside. It was quite a difference at the South Island!

This was quite a view to be greeted with.

We first drove to a place called Takaka where we found our first climbers campground in NZ, Hang Dog Camp. We headed north to Pohara the next morning to find some dry cliffs and get our first climbing in. We were definitely rusty but found some great routes.

The views weren’t half bad either.

After climbing the sun started to go down and its hard to miss a good sunset.

When I say the views were not half bad I mean they were amazing.

We went for a drive and soon found that the stars were better then anything we see at home so we stopped again and took some more pictures. This day and night were going great!

We heard some noises and decided to investigate. Soon we found penguins! What! What a day.

We went back to camp and figured we’d packed just about everything we could into the day when we heard a guy talking about glow worms. Well our new friends decided to show us where some were and we headed back out with our cameras to a dark cave nearby.

I’d never been in a glow worm cave and was really excited to be in the darkness lit only by the glow worms. And our headlamps and camera lights which we played with constantly for pictures.

I didn’t like the pictures from afar so I moved in closer.


The next morning we were still on climbing mode so we didn’t take many pictures of climbing but I managed a few of Vincent on his first lead ever.

And Manuel looking quite relaxed.

After climbing we hopped in the car and headed for Farewell Cape and Golden Bay. Thanks for sticking around for this super long post. I had definitely gotten a bit behind but I think I’m catching up! I’ve got some more to post of the last few days so hopefully those will come soon.

Thanks for all the replies too! I enjoy reading them and its nice to know others are enjoying the pictures as I go along!

Author's Reply  May 11, 2015 - 11:46pm PT
Alright folk, if anyone is still looking at this thing I'm surprised. If anyone is on dialup then I really apologize, this threads getting huge.

We woke up and rushed off to Archway Islands in the morning, trying to catch some of the sunrise.

It was a really nice well worn trail along the hillside.

Right when we got to the beach it rained and we rushed off for cover in a cave. The weather changes fast around here.

Theres one thing about rain though, when it goes away theres usually some really great contrast in the sky.

And wow.

Also in the small pools you can often find baby seals playing. We were happy to find them playing with kelp.

You looking at me?

Young love.

Within an hour the sun had opened up and the islands came into view.

The animals are pretty adorable.

We headed off back to the car, happy that we'd seen what we came for.

At the parking lot Tracy made a friend...sort of...

Driving across the country theres one thing that we've seen everywhere.

And lots of...

Well thats it for now, I tried to make this one a little smaller. Maybe I'll make it to another page. Thanks for commenting!
Big Mike

Trad climber
  May 12, 2015 - 12:25am PT
(Uhg…i hate writing an entire trip report and accidentally closing the window instead of saving or sending it…which I just did. Lame! Ok here goes again.)

Yup! I do mine in Notepad or word then i don't risk losing it.

First of all, your pics rule bro! Keep it up. Always inspirational. Is the handprint in your watermark actually yours? If so extra sweet.

It's funny to see another photographer do a live tr like this. It's definitely not set up to accommodate so many photos, but you get a whole different audience when you write a trip report. That's why i chose this function too.

Keep it up, i'm cool with loading it.

Mike Cowper

Author's Reply  May 12, 2015 - 12:54am PT
I quite often do mine in textedit (mac) but for some reason this time I was being lazy. I really shouldn't have been.

The handprint is not actually my hand but thats a good idea too. Should work on that in the future.

Glad to see someones following along!


Trad climber
  May 12, 2015 - 01:11am PT
Dude, this looks like an amazing trip. And you have done an exceptionally great job of capturing pictures of it. I'm so ready for a vacation! Thanks for sharing pics of places I've never been but will like to see some day.

Trad climber
  May 12, 2015 - 05:55am PT
Beautiful pics. Looks like an amazing trip.

Thanks for sharing.
Big Mike

Trad climber
  May 13, 2015 - 11:09am PT
Bump for Kelsey's amazing art. How's it going down south bro?

Author's Reply  May 17, 2015 - 02:19am PT
Been going great down here! Hopefully I'll have some more pictures uploaded and ready to go soon!

Big Mike

Trad climber
  May 17, 2015 - 10:44am PT
Woohoo! The great thing abour this bump is i got to look at your pics again!

So many great ones it's hard to appreciate them all in one sitting.

Author's Reply  May 17, 2015 - 05:13pm PT
As we continue on with our days and our lives its important to treasure them and be happy for what we get to do and what we have. Our time could be over in an instance... I say a farewell to our fallen, those who showed us what was possible to do and what was possible to come from it but life and death.

I'm continuing on with my thread now...

We left off on our way to Kaikoura and stayed with some of Johns family members. They were great hosts and on our last day we had a massive crayfish / lobster dinner. But before that we decided it would be a good idea to give a go at surfing. I’d surfed poorly in Costa Rica and South Africa so it was a good place to surf poorly again!

(This is not me surfing in the picture.)

The wind whipped at the top of the mountains.

This guy was cruising the waves on a paddle board and making us generally look bad. Or were we doing that to ourselves?

Heres John, this is what we looked like in general.

Tracy getting ready for the trip in.

We decided that we’d had enough surfing, we also took a break in-between to do a little Paua fishing, which I won’t go into for fear of relapsing into nausea and shock. Continuing on to the seal colony (because apparently you can never have to many pictures of seals) we found them to be lazy and generally uncaring of our presence.

This is what a seal looks like when he doesn’t care at all…

Some of the larger males were a little less happy about our presence.

That next day we drove to Christchurch and decided to camp nearby. I’d wanted to buy a new lens and the only way to get it was to wait for it to be delivered from Wellington. We camped at a large lake that was essentially just a giant lagoon. The entire lake was around 2 meters deep. A nice older gentleman told me he was fishing for flounder with a net and I decided to follow him and find out what kind of flounders he caught.

This was the average flounder size, he was pretty happy as the day before he’d caught 1 and this day he’d caught about 25-30.

Well I’d had about as much as my legs could handle, he was in protective gear and I wore shorts with no sandals. We spent the rest of the day in Christchurch waiting for the lens and then drove to one of our larger objectives for the trip, Castle Hill. For those who have been to Castle Hill you know what the climbing is like. For those who haven’t I’ll say this - Most of the climbs are slopers, with mantle sloper topouts, and slopers for feet and hands, and slopers for looking at and slopers, and slopers…Ok I’m exaggerating a bit but theres a lot of sloping going on.

John on an average Castle Hill topout.

But it was hard to deny the beauty of the place. The problems were everywhere and the boulders were numerous.

Some more odd then others. John was determined to top this one out.


We played around for hours. I barely made it up the easy ones and flailed around on some of the harder (for me) problems. We’d missed the crash pads for rent place so we went old school on it. Grass padding.

Walking around the hills we ran into a nice German girl named Nadia who was working on a farm study in Oxford. She joined us and climbed for the rest of the evening. We managed to stand up to face the upper slab but none of us had the V6 slab ability necessary to go further.

Amazing place.

A cold Tracy.

That night we drove to a free campground at another lake. I really like how so many of the free campgrounds are on lakes and rivers and outside of the towns.

What a view!

That next morning we woke up and headed into Castle Hill for day 2. We weren’t feeling that confident since it had started to rain pretty good but every now and then there would be a small break where we’d attack a boulder.

The wet rocks of Castle Hill.

Looking for something dry.

We climbed a bit more and to be honest we weren’t really sure if the water was worse to climb on or not but the increasing strength of the rain finally ran us off. We decided it was time to continue on. Its hard to climb only two days at an area but there was still a lot more we wanted to see. We made mental notes to return and drove on toward Lake Tekapo, a place that is called one of the worlds best sky sanctuary’s. Next is photos from there!

Author's Reply  May 17, 2015 - 06:33pm PT
Ok, time to continue on.

We left Castle Hill happy to have gotten to climb at least a few hours and headed south toward the sky reserve. We took some night shots on the way in anticipation and to get used to the new lens.

Getting there…

Obligatory campervan rental ad.

Testing Light ideas.

We headed off that next morning to a climbing area called Hanging Rock that we only discovered was there that night. It had some really fun routes and we spent another amazing fall day in the sun in NZ.

The scenery.

We finally made it to the Sky Reserve and drove up to Mt. John Observatory. There are night tours to the observatory which I’m sure are probably pretty amazing but also very expensive. It was $145…not really something we’re willing to pay for. So we played around as the sun set.

Expensive looking.

Beautiful scenery.

That night we drove toward a town called Twizel. We wanted to stay the night in the sky reserve and see if we could get a clear night shot, even though the report called for clouds. I setup my camera in the lake and waited… taking the shot…Yes! Thats what I wanted!

Totally worth it.

We woke up the next morning happy and content on our night shots. It was time to leave the sky reserve. We could drive toward Wanaka or head back and drive 55km out of the way to see Aoraki / Mt. Cook. Of course we were going to do that because I really wanted to see the mountain. We were not disappointed!

Now that is one tough looking mountain.

If you don’t like pictures of peaks…well keep looking because you should.

The scary looking Mt. Sefton.

Theres a hut in this photo.

From the other side.

Valleys and features.

And my parting shot from Mt. Cook, this is a type of picture called a “little world”. Its my first attempt and I need to do a few extra things next time to make sure the middle is fixed but I think it came out good!

And now I’m finally all caught up! We’re in Wanaka and taking a bit of a rest day to catch up. Next we’re off to look for more penguins and other awesome creatures along the coastline as we begin the last week in NZ!

Author's Reply  May 18, 2015 - 03:12pm PT
A short one for today. We’re in Wanaka, a beautiful little town on the edge of a large lake. We took a bit of a rest day to make all those posts and get a bunch of photos uploaded. Now we’re waiting for 11am where I’m going to take an acrobatic plane up and do some flips and turns! I don’t know how to fly so I’ll be in the co-pilot seat of course but its still pretty exciting. We went bouldering a bit on the Lakeside Boulder here in Wanaka and here’s some photos from that.

John on a V4

The right Variation

Time to give the V5 a go.

A great day for a few problems!

Thats it for now, just a small one. Hopefully we’ll go climbing near Queenstown today and have some more photos to share.

Trad climber
Erik O. Auburn, CA
  May 18, 2015 - 03:30pm PT
Wow! How did I miss this ongoing saga? Takes me right back to being there. Thank you for sharing!

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  May 18, 2015 - 04:46pm PT
Outstanding as always! You must be so stoked on that new lens!

Author's Reply  May 20, 2015 - 05:25pm PT
Yea I've really been enjoying the lens. My next photo upload will have a bunch with the new lens. Not so many night shots but its great for lots of other shots too!

Author's Reply  May 22, 2015 - 02:12am PT
Well, time to continue on!

On our last day in Wanaka I took a flight that was awesome! I got to take off and land the plane as well as take it through some aerial tricks. It was pretty enjoyable. I have a few pictures from that but just go pro screen grabs.

From Wanaka we headed toward Queenstown which bills itself as the adventure capital of NZ and possibly the world. Well it was pretty awesome as far as “pay for adventure” goes with crazy boats flying around in and above the water, bunny’s, rope jumps, and lots more but we were looking for something a lot cheaper. So we headed off to a place outside of town called Wye Creek which looked to have some good rock climbing. It certainly had a great view.

We were not the only ones at the crag. These two were from Invercargill, Sarah and Libby I believe.

That is an impressive crag view.

We went right to our main goal which was to climb Dream Thing. Its a 21 that is known as being one of the best climbs for photos at an easier grade. Well that sounded fun! As we get to the crag John says “Did I forget my shoes again?”

Yes, he had. But that didn’t stop him from onsighting the climb barefoot.

A few more of the gals from Invercargill.

It looked like cold fingers on the classic 16.

Tracy enjoys a bit of the belay.

One of the awesome aspects of this area is the approach. These boards and rails are placed on top of the pipe coming from the dam.

And its a long way down.

The trail passes several dams and some beautiful small waterfalls.

Thats the most I have uploaded at the moment! More soon!

Author's Reply  May 23, 2015 - 04:01pm PT
Not sure anyones out there still following this but I'll keep writing it. Now I'm going for most pictures ever posted in a TR...lets see if I reach it. For anyone who doesn't have google fibre, I apologize for this thread!

Heres a few more pictures of the dam on the way to Wye Creek climbing area.

That was a very pretty area for sure. I could definitely return to Queenstown for some rock climbing as there were lots of quality routes left. The guidebook has over 800 just for the area. But we were continuing on the photographic mission and headed off to Dunedin where we stopped by an Anglican church to take a few photos. Apparently this is one the largest organs in the southern hemisphere. Over 3500 pipes!

It was fun being transformed back to Europe with some gothic architecture.

We continued on to the Royal Albatross center where I paid a bit of money to see some baby albatross. This is the only mainland breeding colony of albatross in the world, apparently.

The baby weigh 9-12kg while the adults are 8-10kg. They have some very unique habits. Such as the fact that they can fly over 1000km per day.

There were also Royal Sheep at the Royal Albatross Center.

Then it got really interesting.We drove back down the road toward town and then took a detour to a designated penguin colony for the Yellow-Eyed Penguin, considered the rarest in the world. Driving into the parking lot with the ominous yellow light of the gas tank on, it signified we were nearly out and that the night was going to be unpredictable.

We walked along the beach to a Hide, the beach itself was generally considered closed unless you were inside the hide or on your way. You see the penguins are very touchy and generally won’t come on to land when people are nearby. They’ll stay out in the water. We walked the 20 or so minutes along the beach to the hide and waited…and waited. Nothing happened. We’d passed a few seals, or sea lions I’m not sure which, along the walk. They didn’t seem concerned at the time. We waited long beyond when the prime penguin time was, for some reason they were’t coming in. Maybe they knew something we didn’t?

We started the walk back. I was randomly looking around at the sand and John asked if I’d taken a picture of the clouds. I looked to the dark sky and started taking photos. He was right, they looked pretty intimidating.

The waves increased and off in the sky some lightning struck the water. The clouds were growing and the sea lions were looking off to the sea. We walked a bit further along the beach and John and I saw a massive wave hit the shore far off in the distance. John mentioned that we should keep an eye on that one but very soon we came to a sea lion that was rushing up the beach from the water. He nearly ran right into me. We let him pass and walked about fifteen feet when a rouge wave rushed at us. We ran toward the sand dunes and tried to jump up the shore but could only make it a few feet. The wave managed to swamp me nearly up to the knees. I could feel the pull of the water at my legs. John had grabbed Tracy and her camera and jumped up the sand. Tracy didn’t notice that a log she’d tried to stand on was threatening to take her out to sea with it. She’d been soaked to the waist.

We waited a few seconds as the wave rolled back out and jumped further inland as a few others followed. Lighting began to crash off the coast, some were close and some were far. They struck in all directions as the sky ripped open. Rain started to fall, gentle at first and then pelting the skin as it turned into hail that reminded me of dippin’ dots. We were running now, against the wind that pushed us around and threw hail into our faces. The wind was never at your back. Along the beach there were suddenly several running bodies, all trying to get back to their vehicles. Some hid fruitlessly behind small tussocks only to get up and start running again when they realized it didn’t really help, and it wasn’t about to let up.

I looked to my right and a sea lion was rushing down the shore toward us. We’d missed it and suddenly were right in the path. The sea lion ran between us as though were were as unimportant as the logs. That meant we should do the same. We took off down the sand, at times running full speed into the wind and hail. My face stung, ears, eyes, even through my shirt as I tried to protect my camera with my coat. Everything was wet. The extra weight of the blowing sand and water slowed us to a dull walk as we went up the hill. The occasional scream of excitement of the storm dwindled and in set the cold from the biting wind.

We made it back to the car in time to quickly tear off our wet jackets and fall dripping into the vehicle which, of course, hadn’t filled itself with gas while we were gone. Driving up the steep hill and now icy roads with a van that could barely drive across the grass and was threatening to run out of gas was nerve-racking. Mainly because none of us wanted to hitchhike to the gas station in the storm.

I’m not usually that excited to pull into a gas station but this time it felt good to fill up.

The oncoming storm. Thank you New Zealand, for giving us a taste of the sea.

Well, with the night behind us the morning was sunny and warming. We’d had pretty good weather for the trip and certainly wouldn’t complain to much about a single day of storm. The next place on the list was the Moeraki Boulders, some geographical oddities sitting on a beach.

Some had interesting worn features.

Others were nearly round.

While others were nearly perfectly circular.

Well thats all I have uploaded at the moment. I know this one had a bunch more writing in it. Not sure if anyones reading it but if you guys want more of a write up I can do that too. I usually just focus on the pictures !
Big Mike

Trad climber
  May 23, 2015 - 06:31pm PT
Lol Kath.

I'm enjoying a little context with the pics. Wow dude. So many great images. The night shots are sick. Some awesome landscapes too. I keep finding myself lost at the start of the tr looking at something different.. Lol

Keep it up man. What is your new lens? I know I asked you what you were shooting with before. You're a Nikon guy right?

31 replies, but 1300 views... Somebody's looking... ;)

Boulder climber
Salt Lake, UT
  May 23, 2015 - 07:41pm PT
I was there nearly 30 years ago, but only saw a bit of Christchurch. This is a great TR with fantastic photography and you've bumped NZ high on my list of places to go.

Social climber
  May 23, 2015 - 07:49pm PT
hey there say, prezwoodz... oh my!! i LOVED your other trip, and wow, i don't think i even KNEW you were still on, or had started another trip... wow...

say, this is so wonderful to see... fantastic photos, and, and a deep thoughtful fun, share...

i love the shots of you and your wife, as an extra treat, as well!!

so lovely, all of these, great angles, views, everthing!
someday, i will paint you something from these...
they are so lovely, i really would enjoy it so much!!!

keep posting and sharing and happy good trip, with prayers for many more nice things and safe trip home... wow!!!!!

sorry for not posting, but wow, i had not SEEN this, oh my...


Author's Reply  May 23, 2015 - 08:26pm PT
We’d decided it was time to try and find peguins again. Maybe it was our fun from the time before but we decided to head north to another designated penguin colon. We stayed the evening and watched a few penguins far away come out of the water but the ones that were supposed to be close eluded us. The next morning we gave it another try.

They were leaving for breakfast which they fish for 40km off the coast.

A few of the closer penguins woke up and decided to join us.

We waited until 9 and I decided to go down on the beach. Your not supposed to go down earlier then that because it disturbs the penguins. And these guys…

But I finally got a good view of the penguins! Its as much fun to hunt for the shot sometimes as it is just to travel.

This guy was acting pretty lazy.

Will Finish NZ next time I get internet, I’m minutes from hopping on an airplane and heading to Bangkok!
Big Mike

Trad climber
  May 23, 2015 - 10:49pm PT
Sometimes setting up for the shot is half the fun!

Very nice captures. I really like how you framed the last shot of the sea lion.

The question is; How many pictures does it take to break the tr function?? ;) i've attempted to answer the question myself, but have failed so far.

Author's Reply  May 24, 2015 - 12:49am PT
Thanks for the comments everyone!

eKat - Thanks!

Big Mike - I'm a canon guy actually. I ended up buying a Samyang 14mm f/2.8. Its a relatively cheap lens but excellent for night shots. Its manual focus and manual aperture but you do that anyway to shoot the stars so its perfect. Also this thread is going to break it if its possible. I'm only one month into a 3 month trip! I'm in the Sydney Airport at the moment heading to Bangkok!

stevep - I've been here nearly a month and feel like I could do a few more months easily. Its a great place and I recommend it!

neebee - The lady in the photo is Johns wife not mine ;) I'm not married but my wonderful girlfriend will be joining me in Thailand here in about 18 hours! Thanks for looking and it would be totally amazing if you were to do a painting from one of my photographs. I would love to see that!

Tami - Thanks!


Author's Reply  May 24, 2015 - 12:59am PT
Ok, I think its time to close up NZ and fly off to a new place.

But first we have to make our way out of Oamaru, this town is actually pretty cool and has the coolest park I think I've ever been to. This is the human hamster wheel.

We spent about 15 minutes seeing if we could keep from flying out of it at full speed.

We went into a church so I could attempt to make a little world of the inside of a building. Well my computer cant handle the 43 image stitch apparently so here's just a regular picture.

And then John and Tracy went along with me to a place they probably never would have gone on their own. The office Steampunk HQ of NZ. The town has many beautiful Victorian buildings so it became NZ's victorian capital. How that morphed over to Steampunk...well I have no idea but I liked it.

Tracy playing the organ.

They had a pretty nifty room called The Portal.


Best thing about steampunk is is you can edit the photos anyway you want!

Well guys I guess its time I get out of here. I'm in Sydney, Australia's airport and I'm heading toward Bangkok. This threads about to take a more tropical turn! See you on the flip side!
Big Mike

Trad climber
  May 24, 2015 - 10:29am PT
I'm a canon guy actually. I ended up buying a Samyang 14mm f/2.8.

Kelsey- That's pretty funny. I have the same lens for my 6d! Lol. I just couldn't justify spending the extra 1400$ (At least!) for the canon 2.8l.

I really like it. The only tricky thing is the manual focus if you're shooting action and your subject is moving. I find the lens correction in Lightroom usually helps.

You shot those Hamster wheel shots with the Samyang right? The steampunk hdr shots are cool too, I really like it when people don't go overboard and make it look all cartoony.

Author's Reply  May 30, 2015 - 09:19am PT
I shot quite a bit of those later shots with that lens. It is definitely a great addition to the bag and I couldn't justify the $1400 either!

Okay for anyone who is still with me on this thread this is the end of the Oceania section. I've started a new trip report for Asia and it can be found here: