Windows XP style wallpaper

Looking out of the window one morning, I saw this view across the field and thought it reminded me of something. Although this landscape is a little more cluttered with a tin shed on the right, the way the sun is coming through the clouds and lighting up the grass reminds me of a photograph titled Bliss by Charles O’Rear taken in California. It was used by Microsoft for the default wallpaper background in Windows XP. Kawhatau Valley is a remote area north of Palmerston North in New Zealand. We recently stayed in a holiday home for a couple of nights.

Ketetahi Hot Springs stream

Ketetahi Hot Springs stream

This view shows what I believe is called the Ketetahi Hot Springs Stream. It’s taken about 400-500 metres down stream from the hot springs which are privately owned by the local iwi Tuwharetoa and have been out of bounds since the 1990s when a tourist was scaled to death in the springs. Obviously I wasn’t going to put my hand down into this stream, though I’m sure it would be a lot cooler being a few hundred metres down stream. Seeing this view and how the sunlight was hitting the landscape I had to stop and take out my camera.

The contrast in the light between the foreground and background is great, it is very typical of a New Zealand landscape. Getting low to the water (but not too close) I was able to frame the stream coming into shot from the right and running off down towards Lake Rotoaira and further in the distance the huge Lake Taupo, which almost looks like it could be the sea. I haven’t yet had a chance to explore the smaller Lake Rotoaira but from here the Tongariro crossing, this is the last part of the crossing and it is around another 5 or 6 kilometres walk down to the Ketetahi carpark which marks the end of the hike.

Upper Takaka valley

Upper Takaka valley

This beautiful valley is called Upper Takaka and is around 10 kilometres north west from Motueka in the Nelson district at the top of New Zealand’s South Island. We were driving north towards Golden Bay along the when I came over the top of Takaka Hill I saw this beautiful scene. There was a very sharp, hairpin bend where I was able to pull of the highway and park the car. Looking over the barrier this was the view. You can see if you look closely at the bottom of the valley the road on the left side of the photograph, heading off into the distance. On the range of hills on the other side of the valley there was very different weather as you can see a rainbow if you look closely.

Lake Rotoiti Jetty

Lake Rotoiti Jetty at night

New Zealand has two Lake Rotoitis, one in the North Island and one in the South Island. This Lake Rotoiti is in Tasman Region of the South Island and was previously known as lake Arthur. It is one of the two main lakes in the Nelson Lakes National Park. The lake is surrounded by beech forest, is about 82 metres at its deepest and around 8 kilometres long. Looking down a valley, on the right of the photograph we can see the Travers Range of Mountains which has a number of peaks, with the highest being Mount Hopeless at 2278 metres. On the opposite (left) side of the lake is the St Arnaud Range with a number of similarly high peaks. This photograph was taken at around 9:30pm on the first evening we camped by the lake side.

Lake Taupo

Lake Taupo, New Zealand

This is the largest lake in New Zealand, Lake Taupo. With a surface area of over 200 square miles it lies in the middle of the North Island, about half way between Wellington and Auckland. This is taken as we were driving up to Auckland as we regularly do. It’s taken from a viewpoint on highway 47 which isn’t our usual route we go but we were staying in Whanganui the night before. This is taken just west of Turing just after the Tongariro National Park. Were at the very base of Lake Taupo which isn’t the usual view. In the foreground here you can see a small hill which I have no idea of the name. Just off to the right is the small airfield of Turangi airport as well as the Tongariro river running around the mystery hill (if you know the name please let me know).