A walk in the Waitaks

Well, I’ve been back in New Zealand for almost two weeks, and it’s way past time that I send a report. Most of my time has been taken up with family matters, especially handyman stuff for our daughters, but we have managed to program one wonderful morning hike into the bush in the Cascade Kauri Park in the Waitakere (pronounced y-tackery) ranges, a drive of only a bit less than an hour’s drive to the west of Auckland.

frosty hills 8934It had been quite cold the night before, thanks to a front of polar air pushing up from the Antarctic, and there was an impressive blanket of frost on most of the grass and other low

Waitakere path 8956plants that were still in the shade. We didn’t have a lot of time, as we had a lunch appoint- ment for which we needed to be punctual, and we wanted to complete one of the small paths rather than exploring part of it and then returning back the way we’d come.

Parataniwha & silver tree fern 8940[In the photo above, the wonderful green & purple leaves belong to a plant commonly called parataniwha or New Zealand begonia (Elatostema rugosum) and the elegant tan frond had fallen from what we think is a brown fern (Dicksonia squarrosa).]

Leaning 8958So I had to curtail several of my photo impulses, but I  tried to make the best use of the hour or so that we had without holding us back.  This will be, unfortunately,  a short trip, less than 2½ weeks, and is the first time in about 20 years that I’ve been here in winter.

Riffles in the shade 8949

About krikitarts

Welcome to Krikit Arts! I'm a veterinarian; photographer; finger-style guitarist, composer, instructor, and singer/songwriter; fisherman; and fly-tyer. Please enjoy--and please respect my full rights to all photos on this Website!
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16 Responses to A walk in the Waitaks

  1. I see from the map that this place isn’t far from Muriwai.

    Too bad you can’t stay longer than 2 1/2 weeks.

  2. All nice views, Gary. But the one I most enjoy is the center image of the Parataniwha and tree fern frond. Such a nice contrast of texture and color.

    So this is winter in NZ? Chilly, but still looking quite comfortable. It’s nice that you have the opportunity to visit there so often.

    • krikitarts says:

      This is winter in northern New Zealand. The temperature here in Auckand has dipped below freezing twice so far this year, but that’s rare. High humidity and fierce winds are common, though, which combine to make it more unpleasant than one might think. The farther south one goes, of course, the colder it gets, and the winters can be quite serious in the southern South Island. A few years ago there were 9-foot snow drifts in Canterbury (around Christchurch), and the farmed deer were able to walk over their fences on them.

      • Vicki says:

        Wow, Gary!
        I didn’t know the south island received so much snow. I always imagine it to be only a bit lower than Melbourne. I should have paid more attention to Geography (as it was called back in those days) at school.

      • krikitarts says:

        The South Island has the Southern Alps, which contain two permanent glaciers (the Fox and the Franz Josef) and more snow than you can shake a ski pole at. Haven’t you seen the Lord of the Rings films? Mt. Cook, the tallest peak in the country, was chosen by Peter Jackson to serve in this role.

  3. lauramacky says:

    Pretty images Gary! I love the new wordpress reader gallery view. It made looking at your images so easy.

  4. It looks like such a magical place. You are so lucky Gary, and your photos are beautiful :).

  5. seekraz says:

    That’s an amazing tree-thing (?) in that fourth photo, Gary…..and yes, such a magical place….thank you for sending them home for us. :)

  6. I grew up in Lynfield. So it was only about 20 minute drive to the Waitaks as we called it. I remember going on a trek through the forest with a church group and it started raining and we got lost. After 4-5 hours we finally made it out, just as a search party was about to set out for us. Nice photos – love your final image.

    • krikitarts says:

      I would NOT want to be lost in the Waitaks–what an adventure that must have been! Did you get off the beaten track or follow an unintended one? I can well imagine that some prayers were answered that day!

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