South New Brighton Beach

New Zealand -43.529201, 172.739898 180° 3m

South New Brighton Beach, New Zealand

19 Feb 2010

I took this panorama on a nice and sunny February day on Christchurch's New Brighton Beach. After a short detour to New Brighton Community Library and the pier that looms high over the waves crushing down on the shallow beach I took the narrow, sandy track on top of the sand dunes south towards the Spit Reserve at the very southern tip of New Brighton. About half way down I took this nearly 180° panorama. On the left, Pegasus Bay opens up in the South Pacific Ocean. To the right of the dunes the city of Christchurch stretches out into the Canterbury Plaines. Looking straight ahead one can see the Port Hills and the Banks Peninsula. Across the Avon and Heathcote River estuary, that splits the south shore of New Brighton and Moncks Bay, Sumner and its much more popular and also frequented beach with the famous caves of Cave Rock can be spotted.

The panorama "Lyttelton Harbour & Banks Peninsula" lets you discover the view over the Port Hills over Christchurch's freight and tourist harbor, the Banks Peninsula and even what's beyond.

Mt Oxford

New Zealand -43.222566, 172.084351 125° 1,364m

Mt Oxford, New Zealand

20 Mar 2010

Strong southern winds made it really hard to climb the track to the 1,364m summit of Mount Oxford. On the top, rain clouds were blown fast towards the north-eastern peaks of the Southern Alps. During the lunch break before heading further south to complete the Mt Oxford loop I captured this weather scene south west from me. The patchwork-like meadows and farming fields of the Canterbury Plaines extend to the east. The Waimakariri River, which has its source in the high peaks of Arthurs Pass, breaks through a gorge out of the Southern Alps and flows down the Plaines in multiple arms spread across the river bed.

The panoramas of "Waimakariri River" and "Bealey Spur" picture the river further upstream in Arthurs Pass National Park. The river almost completely takes up the valley it formed over time.

Waimakariri River

New Zealand -43.044097, 171.614156 170° 1,200m

Waimakariri River, New Zealand

26 Mar 2010

This panorama of Waimakariri River in Arthurs Pass National Park was taken from approximately half way up Mt Bruce which peaks at roughly 1,400m. The view spans from north-west to north-east and if the clouds wouldn't have been so low one would have been able to spot peaks like Mt Aicken and Mt Rolleston in the distance. Towards the left edge of the picture, Bealey River flows alongside highway 73, the West Coast Road, before it finally leads into the "Waimak" - this is how the locals call the river that almost completes takes over the Arthurs Pass valley.

The ridge that gets illuminated by the sun breaking through the clouds is Bealey Spur - named after the Bealey River. On a different tramping (the Kiwi-way of saying "hiking") trip, I explored Bealey Spur and took a nice panorama shot from down there. Because of the sunny weather on that day you can see many of the surrounding high peaks.

Lyttelton Harbour & Banks Peninsula

New Zealand -43.589358, 172.717587 193° 400m

Lyttelton Harbour & Banks Peninsula, New Zealand

03 Apr 2010

The panorama view spans almost 200° across the Lyttelton Harbour inlet of the Banks Peninsula. To the right edge of the picture you can see the summit station of the Christchurch Gondola. I guess it is nice to take it up the Port Hills but, seriously, when you don't mind going up a steep road for about 30 to 40 minutes save the money for some ice cream on the top. I took the bus from downtown Christchurch to Lyttelton that day and hiked up the southern face of the Port Hills on a narrow beaten track. On that particular day, the top opened up a magnificent 360° view of Pegasus Bay, Christchurch, the Plaines and the Southern Alps, the Port Hills, Lyttelton, the harbour and Banks Peninsula. The above panorama shows the view spanning from east to west with. Straight ahead you can see the town of Lyttelton and the commercial harbour where mostly petrochemical goods and wood are handled. From time to time, cruise ships stop here as well. Lyttelton is Christchurch's only harbour because the eastern shore - like New Brighton - is too shallow for a harbour. Across the inlet you can see Diamond Harbour on the foot of Mt Herbert. To the right there is Quail Island which normally is uninhabited. During daytime in summer many people take a boat of the ferry out there to enjoy a day on the beach. Zooming in on the horizon beyond Quail Island you might be able to see Lake Ellesmere. A look on the topographical map to the right will help to guide you in the right direction.

If you want to know how it looks like on the Christchurch side on the port Hills you can check out the South New Brighton Beach Panorama.

Lake Pukaki & Mt Cook

New Zealand -44.174397, 170.169271 planar 600m

Lake Pukaki & Mt Cook, New Zealand

22 Apr 2010

On the way back from a weekend trip to Milford Sound some friends and I stopped at the shore of Lake Pukaki to enjoy the stunning view. The lake was gleaming in its bright light blue-green colour caused by the minerals that are dissolved in the glacial melting water of the Hooker River that flows into the lake at its northern end. Besides that, we were really lucky to have that perfect view of Mt Cook - New Zealand's highest peak - perfectly cloud-free in the far distance. Enjoy the view yourself and zoom in to discover the details.

Two other panoramas give you the chance to see Hooker Valley and Mt Cook more closely at the northern end of Lake Pukaki more closely.

Mt Lyford & Kaikoura Seaward Range

New Zealand -42.446949, 173.113239 154° 1,540m

Mt Lyford & Kaikoura Seaward Range, New Zealand

02 May 2010

This shot was taken from about two thirds up Mt Tinline which is opposite of Mt Lyford, a popular ski resort in the Kaikoura area. To the far right you might be able to spot the ocean off New Zealand’s east coast. It’s a rather easy walk up to Mt Lyford ski resort when there’s no snow on the ground. Up Mt Tinline, however, there is no marked route at all from this side. It involved a lot of bush-bashing. Above the bush line it did not get any easier because the slopes of the mountain are all scree. Having reached the top (or almost) you get then rewarded sliding down all this which is a lot of fun! All in all, this is a really worthwhile day trip with some nice views on the peaks of the Kaikoura Seaward Range.

Bealey Spur

New Zealand -43.034812, 171.550212 186° 1,500m

Bealey Spur, New Zealand

15 May 2010

It was a gorgeous day when I went on this tramp in the Arthur’s Pass National Park. The “parking lot” at the beginning is a little hard to find, since it is just at the end of a street in the little village of Bealey Spur. The way up the spur leads through pine and beech forest. The path itself is not very steep but be aware of the steep drops to the left side (when going up) of the trail! There are signs that tell you to watch your step and your children. I guess that they are there for a reason. But when you’re a little careful you will have an easy hike with loads of good views once the forest cleared. The spur is relatively open and exposed. You can overlook the Waimakariri River and Bealey River Valley and the high peaks of the National Park and beyond. This tramp is not a round trip, so it’s up to you for how long you follow the spur.

To your left (facing uphill) you can see Mt Bruce and the beginning of the Cass Lagoon track. This is a really nice two-day tramp along the Harper River (swing bridges included!). From up there, you have this view on the Waimakariri River.

Mt Cook & Hooker Valley

New Zealand -43.032805, 171.571155 155° 1,600m

Mt Cook & Hooker Valley, New Zealand

22 May 2010

With the majesty of Mt Cook in so close range, the tramp up to Mueller Hut is an awesome experience. The entire, steep(!) way up the stairs to the Sealy Tarns is exhausting but you get rewarded every time you stop to take a break and turn around. This panorama fully pictures the amazing view of this part of Mt Cook National Park. Starting from the left, you can see Mt Cook with topped with its typical cloud, the calving end of the Hooker Glacier, Hooker Lake, Hooker River, the outskirts of Mt Cook village, and the beginning of Lake Pukaki. The higher up you climb, the better the view of the Hooker Valley gets.

Scroll down for more, great panorama views of the Hooker Valley and the surroundings of Mueller Hut.

Hooker Valley

New Zealand -43.710035, 170.068524 163° 1,550m

Hooker Valley, New Zealand

23 May 2010

This is the following-day and higher-up view from the “edge” of the Mueller Hut plain. As it is easy to see, it snowed quite a bit over night. Welcome to the New Zealand weather! On the far left of the picture you can see Mt Cook very clearly. The end of the Hooker Glacier and Hooker Lake are cut off but you can see Hooker River flowing from the lake towards Lake Pukaki.

If you would turn around from this point, you would have the view Mueller Hut outhouse including a great glacial mountain-face panorama.

Mueller Hut Outhouse

New Zealand -43.721038, 170.063987 61° 1,800m

Mueller Hut Outhouse, New Zealand

23 May 2010

This is the most amazing outhouse I have ever seen in my life. On 1,800 meters above sea level, this outhouse must withstand rough weather like huge amounts of snow and icy, strong winds. It is a little unfortunate that you can’t enjoy the great view from there because it does not have windows (yeah, I guess that’s on purpose). But while you’re waiting in line or afterwards you can see a full panorama view of surrounding glacial mountain slopes. When you’re lucky enough, you can even see and hear(!) pieces of ice breaking off and thundering down the steep slopes.

A little further away from the hut and the outhouse towards the trail that leads towards the starting point of the Mueller Hut tramp, you will have a great view of the Hooker Valley and Mt Cook.

Lake Angelus & Angelus Hut

New Zealand -41.885400, 172.749445 85° 1,750m

Lake Angelus & Angelus Hut, New Zealand

08 Jun 2010

This panorama was taken during a three-day tramp in the Nelson Lakes National Park area. Together with two friends, I did part of the Robert Ridge track (starting from St Arnaud) via Angelus Hut, Mt Cedric (Cascade Track), Sabine Hut, and Speargrass Hut. The view shows Lake Angelus with the hut right on its shore. On top the ridge and around the hut we had some winter snow. The smaller of the lakes was actually frozen and the big one partly frozen. When we reached the hut, the sun started setting and turned the surrounding mountains in a beautiful atmosphere. Angelus Hut is a brand-new hut (in 2010) and we had it for almost ourselves for the night. I highly recommend this tramp in the Nelson Lakes area. For even more enthusiastic people (me included), the Traverse Sabine track would be a challenging alternative.

Robert Ridge

New Zealand -41.853881, 172.782741 237° 1,770m

Robert Ridge, New Zealand

08 Jun 2010

Like the previous panorama of Lake Angelus, this was taken on a three-day overnight tramp in the Nelson Lakes National Park area. The roundtrip from St Arnaud via Angelus Hut, the Cascade Track, and Speargrass Hut was one of my favorite tramps during my time in New Zealand. Standing at 1,770m above sea level, the panorama shows the ridge and the view from there towards the east. Angelus Hut, the stop for the first night, is located behind the first steeper ascend of Robert Ridge in the middle of the picture. The Traverse Sabine track follows along the shore of Lake Rotoiti which fills the valley east to the ridge. This makes Robert Ridge the far more scenic option to hike in the beginning/end of the Traverse Sabine roundtrip.

Gillespies Beach

New Zealand -43.406524, 169.82848 249° 1m

Gillespies Beach, New Zealand

05 Jul 2010

Gillespies Beach is located on the shore of the Tasman Sea on the West Coast on the South Island. To get there, you have to take a turn in Fox Glacier towards Lake Matheson. Past the Lake, a gigantic sign warns you of all dangers you could ever think of when driving on a gravel road. Although it is officially recommended to have a 4x4 to go there, a normal car would be completely fine. But please don’t drive there with your mobile home-like campervan – you will get stuck. Apart from that, you’re good. The fascinating thing with the beach for me was that you can see so many vegetation zones just with one glance. It starts with the ocean, goes on with the gravel beach, green dune vegetation, bushes, trees, thicker West Coast rainforest, and ends with eternal ice of the Franz Josef and Fox glaciers. The picture is rounded up with the ocean-blue sky over the South Island on that day. Go there, check it out.