Back to the North Island and up to Wanganui. We took a riverboat up the river Wanganui and I did this picture whilst everyone was finishing their lunch. The old tinned roof riverside house with the hills behind made a good subject.
The riverboat ride on the restored steamer made a nice diversion although there wasn’t much to see.
Moving northwards up the South Island we came upon Hokitika. It is slightly down at heel since its gold mining days, although there is still a goldmine there. Most of the old harbour is gone but this old customs house remains so I had a go at painting it though the perspective seems to have strayed a bit. Around the building there were lots of blue alliums in flower.
In the town many lovely old buildings stand unused which look a bit sad. Hope they don’t knock them down.
On the beach local artists have gathered up the old washed up trees and have made sculptures of it which is quite nice. In the evening we watched the sun go down over the Tasman Sea. A nice end to the day.
I was really looking forward to visiting Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound. The pictures of the places were fabulous. Sunny blue vistas. I thought that at least one day would be good. What they don’t say is that they receive 7 metres of rainfall per year and two in every three days are wet or very wet.
So despite the wet weather they were magnificent. Sublime as the Romantics would say. Their sheer size overwhelms and the sun did flicker through on the final day briefly before more rain fell.
So I didn’t do any painting as I planned. This is a quick sketch of what I remembered, done when I got back to the hotel. At least I have some photos.
Another blue lake like lake Tekapo which has on its shores the town of Queenstown, with Kingston at another point on the lake. There seems to be a certain deference to the English – or should I say – Germanic and Greek monarchy in this country.
The mountainous area with many goldmining towns is very striking with its high mountains and steep valleys.
The town of Queenstown seems to be more geared towards the skiing set, but it was a good base to visit the fiordlands
LIke many of the English, many New Zealanders love their garden and June and Murray were no exception. We stayed in their farmhouse and had drinks out on the lawn before nipping off to dinner and then watching the yellow-eyed penguins waddle back up the beach to feed their chicks.
In the garden were masses of blue hydrangeas as well as banks of flowering dahlias. They seem to be able to have many species overwintering without the adverse effects we have in the UK with geraniums growing into big bushes having lived through the winter.
Right in the south of New Zealand with only water between us and the Antarctic. There was a community hall just up the road from where I painted this in Porpoise Bay which was about to hold an Art Exhibition. The called it the end of the world art show. Having said this the scenery is far from the end of the world and just around the bay we watched a community of yellow eyed penguins. Unfortunately the porpoises weren’t in, but the signs advised the does and donts of swimming with them and the locals were surprised that none were around. Far from the end of the world.
Not a very good one, but the wind was blowing and I was holding on for dear life. Still it should have come out better. The hills and mountains were just scree and dry grassland. I thought that they might have appeared a bit more interesting. However, the lake, high up on the south island plateau has a bright blue colour when the sun is out due to the sediment washed out of the mountains.
Anyway, tomorrow might be better and photos I got in the early morning offer better alternatives.
I was sitting under an autumnal beech tree in the botanic gardens in Christchurch and was taken with the patterns of light and shade created by the many trees and the sunshine. Compared to yesterday when I was sitting in bright light I had the shade of the beech, though at the end I was beginning to feel cold and was glad to get into the sun.
Later we got on a tram and saw the devastation of the city. Now there are the beginnings of rebirth with many interesting developments going on.
The beach just south of Kaikoura on the eastern shore of South Island, New Zealand was a couple of miles long and was deserted. Just the bones of water smoothed pines littering the beach along with seaweed and stones. The hills in the distance changed as I worked. They darkened then lightened leaving the tops of the ridges to catch the light. At times the hills were deep, dark maroon, then blue, then green. I was working in direct sunshine which didn’t help, but the sound of the lazy pacific breakers hitting the beach made the task a little easier.
After a couple of days rain at Rotarua at last the sun has come out. It has enabled me to try this sat amongst scrubland on the mountain slopes. Apparently they filmed the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings around here. Maybe there aren’t many hobbits around now but there are quite a few rabbits – almost the same.