I finished 2006 by going on a road trip around the South Island of New Zealand. The main destination in the far south was Fiordland, quite probably the most remote spot in the whole country!
I went on a boat trip to Manapouri Power Station & then out Doubtful Sound to the open sea on the West Coast…. totally awe-inspiring! I was so impressed with the company organising the trip, Real Journeys, as they took us into a beautiful spot, deep into one of the branches of a sound & then turned off the boat motors & requested total silence from everyone, so we could just listen & appreciate where we were.
I also drove in a 4WD track to Lake Monowai & then onwards to the bottom of Lake Te Anau, following an access ‘road’ for the power pylons…
Many times on my trip I would stop, set up my sound recording kit & DV camera & record an ambience/shoot 20 minutes of video of a beautiful location to later speed up ie pseudo-timelape… the only annoying thing was if I did it anywhere near an obvious viewpoint, sooner or later a tourist bus would pull up & 20 people would scramble out of the bus, quickly take a photo & then depart again!? I think its like being there by proxy – advice to tourists: DO NO SEE NEW ZEALAND VIA A BUS TRIP!
This is the Mt John Observatory in Central Otago, a place I have always wanted to visit & on this trip timed it so I could. Its run by the physics department at Canterbury University & although it was too late in the day to get the proper tour/talk I did get to have a look around. The view is SENSATIONAL! I can only imagine what its like to be there on a clear night..
This was the main final destination – a week in Takaka, at the top of the South Island. Takaka has a fantastic climate & lots of great swimming beaches, especially Totaranui at the end of the Abel Tasman track.