Waitara Cove and Lyall Bay

Waitara Cove and Lyall Bay, Wellington

The location of this photograph was an accidental find. Spending the weekend in a tiny holiday home (known as a bach here in New Zealand). It was in the small View Road South Headland Reserve. Despite having missed this location on the map many times, the height above sea level of this reserve gives it a wonderful view of the bays and out to the Cook Straight. This landscape shows Queens Drive winding around Waitara Cove in the foreground. In the middle of the photograph is a rocky area called Arthurs Nose and the larger bay in the background is Lyall Bay. You can also see the runway of Wellington International Airport in front of the large Miramar Peninsula.

Wellington Airport at dusk

Wellington Airport at dusk

When I first went to the lookout point at the top of Mount Victoria, I knew there would be a great view of Wellington harbour and city centre. What I was surprised by is one of the best views in my opinion is what I photographed here. Looking in the opposite direction of the city centre across Evans Bay to Wellington International Airport. On the right side of the photograph is the suburb of Kilbirnie and on the left is the airport runway. This was taken at 6:30pm on a winter’s evening. The sun had just set behind where I was stood over the city centre. I had my iPhone set up to capture a time-lapse of the planes landing and taking off.

The airport itself is the third busiest in New Zealand after Auckland and Christchurch. The runway length limits the size of planes that can land here, only international planes from Australia, Fiji and the Chatham Islands can land here. Larger, long hall planes need a longer runway. You can see from this view point that there is a plane coming into land over the Cook Straight in the background, flying over Moa Point just behind the end of the runway there. On the foreground side of the runway is Evans Bay as I mentioned.

Archway at Cape Farewell

Archway at Cape Farewell

The most northerly part of New Zealand’s South Island has a peninsula called Farewell Spit. I wanted to see how far north I could get and what there was to photograph that the many tourists never get to explore. It turned out there are no roads along Farewell Spit. I think there’s a lighthouse at the end but without a four wheel drive it would be impossible to get too. Fortunately in the area is Cape Farewell so I went for a short walk along the Puponga Hilltop Walk. When I climbed up to the top this is the view out to the Tasmin Sea.

Piha Beach from Lion Rock

Piha Beach from Lion Rock

One of the most popular beaches within an hours drive of the centre of Auckland is at Piha, on the west coast of the Waitkere Ranges. This view is taken from half way up Lion Rock. The beach is very popular with surfers and hosts many national and international surfing competitions. You can see quite a few surfers out in the bay, though there just tiny dots from here.

Black sand on the beach is caused by the volcanic rock in this area. The rocky island to the right of the frame is called Taitomo Island and is separated from the mainland, much like Lion Rock where I am stood to capture this photograph. In the very hot summer the heat of the sun heats the black sand and I’ve been here a few times where it has been quite painful to walk on barefoot, people have been known to burn their feet on the sand.

Rocks at Makara Beach

Rocks at Makara Beach

This beach is 20 kilometres, or about a half hour drive from the capital, Wellington. We choose a nice sunny afternoon to take the very windy road north west to go for a walk and look at the rocks. Taking a short walk just around Ohariu Bay. Walking along the bay, this is looking north, there’s not really a sandy beach as it’s mainly rocks but there was a lot of fishermen. There’s also a lot of wind turbines as it’s a really isolated area. There are not any shops or houses but it’s a lovely spot to go for a short drive from Wellington.