As the trusty Hilux Bounced along a pot hole ridden Kapoors road, I finally felt a sense of relief. After delaying this trip twice due record rainfalls, my friend Patrick and I were about to mountain bike the 42 Traverse.
Located in the heart of the Tongariro Forest Park the 42 Traverse was originally used as a logging route until the late 1970s. During the 1980s proposals to convert the Tongariro Forest to farmland were thwarted by local community groups wanting the area preserved for conservation and recreation. Thankfully in1987 the Forest was transferred to the Department Of Conservation.
Nowadays the forest is utilised by trampers, mountain bikers, hunters and 4wd enthusiasts. Although a 4wd drive route, this grade 3-4 ride is not suitable for beginners. In fact your suburban soccer mum SUV wouldn’t stand a chance of making it through here! It is advisable to carry at minimum spare tubes, repair kit, chain breaker, first aid kit, all weather clothing, plenty of water and food.
Only minutes after setting off from Pumice Pit car park we ground to a halt. Magnificent views over the Central Platea and iconic Mt Ngarahoue called for a mandatory photo stop. Our eyes returned to the track as we entered the first descent. The recent rainfalls had washed out sections of the track revealing drops of several hundred feet! After an adrenaline fuelled downhill came an epic 3km climb. The forest canopy helped keep us cool and the chorus of native birds disguised our heavy breathing. As the rainforest encroached on the trail it narrowed to resemble more of a single track. This combined with rougher conditions made for an entertaining second descent to Waipungapunga stream (more like a river) crossing. Originally from South Africa, Patrick got a shock when he felt the temperature of the stream. I decided to ride through but instantly regretted the decision as I felt the icy water seeping through my bike shoes!
We were now in the heart of the forest and this coincided with dense foliage and seriously muddy conditions. The mud filled pot holes were risky business as their depth was a mystery. Most were fine but the odd knee deep one did catch us out! Patrick was doing ok on his flat pedals but my cleats were struggling to cope with the excessive mud.
Shortly after Mako stream we stopped to dry out and grab a bite to eat. This gave us a chance to take in the surrounding forest that is home to a variety of threatened wildlife species including the North Island brown kiwi.
From here on the Trail was easy-going and relatively mud free! A fern fringed waterfall before Dominion Road car park was a welcome surprise and a worthy photo opportunity. The 4km descent to the Whakapapa River Bridge was on a wider car friendly road. This signalled the final 2 km of the 42 Traverse. With the sun now below the horizon and the temperature dropping the quaint township of Owhango was a welcome site.
I can honestly say this beautiful, historic and challenging 45km ride was worth the wait. The trail and Tongariro Forest stands as a testament to the individuals who had the foresight to protect this precious resource. I only wish places like this were the norm and not an anomaly.
I am giving away 5 free landscape wallpapers that will fit up to iPhone 6 size! The wallpapers are various landscape locations in New Zealand including the infamous Wanaka Tree and the surreal turquoise waters of Lake Pukaki. Simply click the link below to download a zip file. Enjoy and feel free to share!
Lisa and Scott’s wedding day began with gale winds, horizontal rain, lightning and thunder! Thankfully as the day progressed so did the weather and by the time the outdoor ceremony came around the sun was shining. The ceremony was at the picturesque Maple Lodge gardens with George Konia as celebrant and Jodie Rainsford as photography assistant. Following the ceremony the bridal party visited some locations around Wanaka for relaxed, fun group photos and a bottle of bubbles. The reception was back at Maple Lodge where the celebrations continued with a delicious banquet, speeches and dancing. Thanks for an epic day Lisa and Scott, I hope you had as much fun as I did.
A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to mountain bike the Heaphy Track with the entertaining company of Matt Proctor and Dave Everton. If there was ever a mountain bike (or hike for that matter) that should be on your bucket list, this is it. Whatever your mtb passion be it downhill, cross country, or simply cruising through ancient rainforest, you wont be disappointed. The scenery is breathtaking including, limestone caves, pristine waterfalls, Nikau palm trees, pounding surf and more. I wont go in to too much detail as I am currently working on an article to be published later this year. Until then enjoy some of these images…
It’s not often I capture family photos but I was happy to for friends Adam and Bec’s. I guess the fact they have two cute well behaved children was a bonus! I like to keep these shoots as casual as possible and utilise the amazing outdoor environment we have here in Wanaka. In around an hour we had captured some relaxed candid photos of the family in several locations. Thanks for making it such a breeze guys : )
The Autumn colours were in full bloom for Samantha and Laurence’s wedding day in Wanaka. The ceremony was held in the picturesque St Columbia’s church in the heart of Wanaka (directly opposite the home where I grew up!). Following the ceremony we flew up to Coromandel Peak for some formal photos. The beautiful Lake Wanaka backdrop was enhanced by the moody light piercing through the clouds. An April wedding in Wanaka wouldn’t be complete without those Autumn colours so we made our way to the Lakefront. Just as the sun was setting we discovered an ideal location where the ground was carpeted in a sea of golden leaves.
Thanks for letting us be part of your wonderful day Samantha and Laurence.
(Images by Pure Pixel for Aspiring Photography)
The Wanaka A&P Show attracted over 35000 visitors this year! No surprise that it is one of the largest in the country, running over two massive days. There really is something for the whole family from entertainers and theme park rides to dog trials and trade displays. A highlight for me was capturing the younger generation having a blast…kind of reminding me of myself about 15 years ago!!
Do you like local organic fruit, veg and meat? Do your children like animals? If yes then Edible Estate in Hawea Flat is well worth a look. Every weekend from 11am Edible Estate sells cheap locally grown organic produce. For the kids there is a petting zoo with a wide variety of friendly farm animals that can be hand fed : )
The other week I photographed a wedding for Aspiring Photography at Stoneridge Estate in Queenstown. Despite the ominous forecast the weather held out for Laura and Damien. The ceremony was held in the picturesque Stoneridge gardens followed by an epic heli trip up to ‘The Ledge’. Lake Wakatipu and the Southern Alps provided a stunning backdrop for photos. The reception was held back at Stoneridge where the celebrations continued. A fitting end to what one guest accurately described as a fairytale wedding. Thanks for an awesome day guys!
Having known Nic and Andrew for many years it was a privilege to be asked to photograph their Wanaka wedding. The weather gods turned on some epic weather which was ideal for the outdoor ceremony in the picturesque ‘Venue’ gardens. Following the ceremony the bridal party were escorted in style by classic cars for formal photos. We had plenty of laughs at some of their favourite locations including a mandatory brewski at the ‘huts’. Thanks again for an awesome day guys!