Yet another new year, and yet another new year’s resolution to post on my blog. Let’s see how long it lasts this time…

Grant and I are back from a few days holiday in Lawrence.  It’s the perfect getaway location from Dunedin, just over one hour drive south of the city – far enough to feel like you’ve got away, yet close enough that you don’t dread the travel time.  We stayed in the lovely little cottage right in the middle of the town.  It’s called Jailbreak Cottage and as the name suggests it was the former town jail.  The building has been restored and converted into a cute self-contained cottage.  They have even kept the original cell for the bedroom – complete with cell door and peephole!

There is heaps to do around Lawrence and we started with a run/bike along the Clutha Gold Trail.  This is one of the ‘Great Rides’ of the NZ Cycle Trail, and stretches from Lawrence to Roxburgh.  We decided that I would drop Grant at the starting point in Lawrence, I would take the car on to Beaumont and leave it there for him to run and pick up, while I biked back to Lawrence.  This plan worked well and despite a bit of rain at the beginning, we had a very pleasant run/bike through the countryside.  The track was in good condition and pretty easy going, so made for an enjoyable bit of holiday exercise.  The main attraction of this section was the Big Hill Tunnel, for which I was very pleased to have my cell phone with me so I could use the torch app!

Gabriel’s Gully sits on the edge of the Lawrence township and is the spot where, in 1861, Gabriel Read saw the “gold shining like the stars in Orion on a dark frosty night”.  There is an interesting track that takes you around the gully with a number of information panels to let you know what life was like in those early gold mining days.

We decided to take a trip along the back road from Beaumont to Millers Flat one day.  I remember driving this route some years ago, but it was not as I remembered.  I think with the addition of the Clutha Gold cycle trail some of the road has been taken over for the cycle trail.  The road was very narrow in some parts and the surface was very rough.  Probably if we had a 4WD it would have been OK, but it wasn’t the best in our vehicle.  Anyway, it was worth the trip to see the lonely graves, and also to visit the historic bridge at Horseshoe bend.  For anyone else considering the drive to visit these spots, I think coming from the Millers Flat end would have been a bit better.

Another must do in Lawrence is a visit to The Lawrence Mint.  We managed a visit on our last day and were hard pressed to make a choice with all the delicious handmade tarts and chocolate truffles on offer.  Luckily it’s not that far from Dunedin – I foresee some day trips for chocolate truffles in our future 😉

Of course Lawrence never disappoints in terms of photo opportunities, and the night before we left I took a stroll around with my camera as the sun was going down.

Update: As this has taken me so long to finish and post, we have since been back and completed another section of the Clutha Gold Trail – between Beaumont and Millers Flat.  This section was a bit longer (24km), and the weather was definitely hotter (maybe about 26 degrees) and so it felt a bit harder than the first section (not so bad on the bike, but definitely for the runner!).  It was much more scenic though, following the path of the Clutha river, and really nice to be riding away from the traffic for most of the time (there are small sections that travel on the seemingly quiet gravel road).

Now we just need to find another weekend to go back and do the last section from Millers Flat to Roxburgh, but I might let my runner catch his breath for a couple of weeks first!

Building at Waipahi

Building at Waipahi by mjm_nz
Building at Waipahi, a photo by mjm_nz on Flickr.

The light was enticing as I passed these old buildings on the way home from Gore the other day.

I had picked out another potential photo spot on my way down, but the light wasn’t right. Thought I’d stop on the way home, but of course I couldn’t remember where it was! Will have to take better note next time I’m down that way.

Building at Waipahi

Building at Waipahi

Building at Waipahi

Welcome to 2014!

What a great way to start the new year – I’m just back from a few days away camping and photographing with a few friends.  The weather has been a bit rough and unpredictable so we had to change our planned destination, but we made the right choice and had pretty good weather for both camping (a bit of rain one night and a bit too windy, but not cold) and photography (lots of changing dramatic skies).

We camped at the DOC camping ground at the Homestead campsite in the Oteake Conservation Park – near the Manuherikia river with great views of the Hawkdun Range.  A basic campsite, but with toilets and water on tap so not too bad.


We travelled around the area looking for things to photograph. There’s certainly no shortage of subjects – lots of old huts, huge mountain ranges, and vast dramatic skies.  I tried out the interval shooting feature of my camera to capture a couple of time-lapses of the clouds moving over the Hawkduns in front of our campsite.  It’s amazing how much they were moving when you see the time-lapse – when we were watching them it seemed like they were hardly moving at all.  I’ve combined the time-lapses with a couple of other photos from the trip. I’m sure there will be more to come once I’ve gone through them all.