Getting out of the office for some personal project photography is the complete foil for being productive in my commercial life.

1 1/2 hours from the office door is the Kaimanawa Forest Park – a forest clad range of mountains stretching north/south like a backbone down the North Island of New Zealand.

It is the middle of winter and with time not on my side I wanted to get above the tree line to see what the new snowfalls looked like in Tongariro National Park, the unique UNESCO World Heritage park situated to the west of where I was going. Above the tree line the views across to Mt Ruapehu, Mt Tongariro and Mt Ngauruhoe, that make up the three active central North Island volcanos, are spectacular. However, if the weather is against you, all can be for nothing – and you won’t even know it until you’ve tramped for a couple of hours to get above the trees.

My timing is only just ok as I have about 10 minutes at the trig station at Mt. Urchin before the weather turns from bright and sunny to bitterly cold and cloudy – see video.  However as a photographer my personal mantra is to see it out to the bitter end – to give nature a chance to show her beauty, and boy did she!

Take a look.

It did mean a walk back to the truck in darkness, using my phone to avoid tree roots and fall offs – not good news risking twisted ankles or worse.


140707_ Lake Rotoaira from Mt Urchin, Kaimanawa Forest Park_7727

140707_ Lake Taupo from Mt Urchin, Kaimanawa Forest Park_7731

140707_ Mt Ngauruhoe from Mt Urchin, Kaimanawa Forest Park_Tongariro National Park_7799

140707_Kaimanawa Forest Park from Mt Urchin_7718

140707_Tongariro National Park from Mt Urchin, Kaimanawa Forest Park_7708