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Photo Friday – Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand

25 Jan

The Abel Tasman trek is one of the easiest ‘Great Walks’ in New Zealand.  Most people take 3-5 days to hike the whole thing and camp, or sleep in Dept. of Conservation huts along the way.  We didn’t have the time, or the gear for an overnight trek, but we really wanted to spend some time walking in the park.  It’s possible to take a water taxi to many points along the track, and walk in either direction.  We opted to head to Bark Bay, which is halfway out.  We walked the whole way back to town, normally a two day walk if you are camping, but without the gear it’s totally possible in one day.  We saw some spectacular coast, and it was well worth the absurd cost of the water taxi, even though we did get rained on for the last 12 kilometers.

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Photo Friday – Wildflowers in New Zealand

18 Jan

We are fortunate enough to be tramping around New Zealand in early summer when there are flowers blooming everywhere.  These are super tiny, each flower is about 1/3 the size of my pinky fingernail, but there were so many of them where we were walking this morning that the meadow looked almost like it had a light dusting of snow.

Photo Friday – Camping in Fiordland, New Zealand

11 Jan

We spent a few nights before the New Year camping at different sites along the road to Milford Sound on the South Island of New Zealand.  It was stunning.  I think we got supremely lucky with the weather because this area is one of the wettest places in the world and our first three days were full of nothing but summer sun, gorgeous blue skies and sunsets like this.

Photo Friday – Tessellated Pavement, Friendly Beaches, Tasmania, Australia

4 Jan

We found huge sections of the beach with these rock patterns

We went for a lot of beach walks on the east coast of Tasmania, and we came across this phenomenon more than once.  It’s rock, but it looks like paving stones on a street.

These are not separate stones! It is one big rock!

The ocean and the wind does creates a nearly perfect grid system that makes the rock look man-made…but it’s all Mother Nature. It’s called tessellated pavement.

The grid lines are almost perfectly straight

Photo Friday – The Great Ocean Road, Australia

28 Dec

The Great Ocean Road winds its way along a massive stretch of lower Australia and while we would have loved to make a road trip of the entire thing, we had just a day to get as far out on it as we could before heading back to Melbourne.  It’s a stunning drive and a place that’s on our ‘must return’ list.

Photo Friday – Cradle Mountain, Tasmania, Australia

21 Dec

If you’re reading this post, then the world hasn’t ended.  This is obviously great for many reasons, one of which is that you still have time to head down to Tasmania and check out Cradle Mountain!  Cradle Mountain is one of the most visited spots in Tasmania, and for good reason.  The landscape is dramatic, stunning, and feels very wild.  The hiking is some of the most beautiful we’ve done, and felt a lot like parts of Patagonia.

Photo Friday – Angkor Wat, Cambodia

14 Dec

In case you haven’t been paying attention, we really loved hanging out in the temples in Cambodia, especially in Angkor Wat.  It’s incredibly atmospheric, especially just after dawn when the crowds haven’t completely descended on it yet.  This time of day is also good since the sun isn’t hot enough to make you feel like you might actually be cooked alive while walking around.  Lots of people don’t really take the time to walk around the backs of the temples and poke in all the nooks and crannies.  It’s a shame they are missing out on some really interesting spots, but it makes it much easier for us to get pictures that don’t include hundreds of strangers.

Photo Friday – Little Australian Crabs

7 Dec

I don’t know when I developed such  huge fascination with tiny critters like ants and crabs, but here we are so I’m just going to go with it.  We’ve spent a lot of time on beaches lately and we keep coming across these little piles of sand on the part of the beach that’s flat and wet after the tide goes out.  We didn’t think much of it at first, but after a while we realized that the pile was actually a bunch of little sand balls that were set up by these crabs.

The crab is super hard to see as he’s basically the same color and texture as the sand…

As they create tunnels (or whatever it is they are creating down there) they roll out the sand in little balls and scatter it around the entrance to their domain.

It’s all very organized, and you can tell the size of the crab by how big the sand balls it produces are.

We were at Cape Tribulation, in the northeastern part of Australia, and the beaches were totally packed with these critters.  They must have to do this every single time the tide goes out as I imagine all their work collapses at high tide.

All the non-smooth sand is really made up of their handiwork. You can even see the little paths they kept clear as they rolled everything out. Industrious little buggers.

Photo Friday – Australian Ants

23 Nov

Ants are crazy.  Maybe it sounds strange, but we’ve noticed that ants here in Australia are much more fascinating than the ones we see at home generally.  I won’t wax poetic about these tiny creatures, but I will say that the amazing thing about what’s happening here is that the two leaves the ants are bridging are from separate trees.  Justin spotted them when they had a huge swarming bridge formed, but just as I got there to check it out a gust of wind came and ripped them apart.  We stood watching these guys climb on top of each other by the dozen until they just barely connected again.  I grabbed this shot just as a small breeze came along and stretched this little guy to his limit.

Photo Friday – Uluru Sunrise, Australia

16 Nov

We spent last week trying not to dehydrate in the Outback of Australia.  Much of our time was taken up with hanging around Kata Tjuta and Uluru (commonly known as Ayers Rock).  The most famous photos of Uluru are taken at sunrise or sunset when the light makes the sandstone into a beautiful glowing spectacle.  After 6 months with no real rain to speak of, we arrived in the area just in time for some serious thunderstorms.  Fortunately the rain poured overnight and left a lovely scattered cloud palate for one of our sunrise views.

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