December Down Under

I can thank my daughters for introducing me to Australia and New Zealand  with their study abroad adventures, and exciting news — I’m going back very soon! Erin (known affectionately as Darin’ Erin) and professionally as a structural engineer who loves earthquake work, is in Christchurch NZ with a crew from Thornton Tomasetti until Christmas. We will soon reunite in Christchurch and spend the first two weeks of December together, hiking, kayaking and photographing the South Island.

As I am cleaning my cameras and lenses and planning and packing, I thought I would give you a sneak preview of the photography to watch for on this blog:

Sunday November 30: Land in Sydney. Love that city and all the memories we shared with Courtney, Erin, the koalas and kangaroos in 2009 and 2011.

Sydney Opera House from the Manley Ferry
Sydney Opera House from the Manley Ferry

I will be staying in a Hilton in the Rocks (old and charming neighborhood near the bridge) and will wander around there and try not to spend too much money. When I catch up on my rest, I hope to visit Bondi Beach for the cliff walk and maybe even Watson’s Bay (Reg Henry’s suggestion).

On Wednesday December 3, I fly to Christchurch and give my Erin a big hug. I will rest my head in her apartment, and I will venture out to Cathedral Square, which was closed for several years due to heavy earthquake damage. (In 2009, we stayed in the Millennium Hotel on the square, and I am curious to see it today.) I’ll probably walk the Botanical Gardens too.

Friday afternoon, December 5, Erin and I fly to Queenstown for the weekend on the beautiful Lake Wakatipu. Looking forward to our stay in the Hilton and walking around the town. We will take a scenic hike there and photograph the rise of the full moon on Sunday evening December 7.

On Monday, Erin flies back to Christchurch for work, and I will drive my putt-putt on windy mountain roads to Milford Sound. Reknowned photographer Trey Ratcliff, and American who now lives in Queenstown, says the drive is almost as amazing as Milford Sound itself. Knowing what Milford Sound looked like in 2009, that’s saying something…

Mirror Lake near Milford Sound
Mirror Lake near Milford Sound

Trey mentioned hiking near Monkey Creek. I don’t know anything about that, but will keep my eyes open for it. I will be staying the week at the Lodge at Milford Sound, which Trey recommended in his blog. I should be able to rise before sunrise (ugh — I hate getting up early!) and capture early morning shots along the water, when the wind is usually at its low point. As New Zealand will be approaching its summer equinox, the days will be long, but I’ll be there for sunset too. There are more rainy than sunny days in that area, but when the sun comes out, I will go for a scenic flight to see views like this.

Flight from Milford Sound to Queenstown, 2009 by Cathy Kelly
Flight from Milford Sound to Queenstown, 2009 by Cathy Kelly

I will drive back to Queenstown on either Thursday or early Friday, depending on the weather. Friday afternoon I will catch a flight to Nelson, where I will meet Erin for our final weekend rendezvous. Nelson lies at the north point of the South Island and boasts many vineyards, many artist studios, a national park and lots of warmth and sunshine. Reminder: in the southern hemisphere, you travel NORTH to get warm!

By Sunday the 15th, I will probably be a bit tired of traveling, but we will hop a plane to Christchurch. One last night in Erin’s flat, and off I got to Sydney early Monday morning. Monday, I just may have to do some Christmas shopping. Tuesday the 16th will be — well, a very long day, as I fly 12 hours back to Los Angeles, endure a 5 hour layover and fly who know how many more hours home to Pittsburgh to Charles and my cozy bed on Church Lane.

Lots of new photos to come from the beautiful land Down Under. I hope you will log in to this blog and follow along. Cheers, Mate!

Author: cathykellyphotography

Independent photographer based in Pittsburgh PA and Naples FL. Nature, landscape and portrait photography. Portfolio includes international work in USA, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Email to review work in your area of interest. Nature portfolio includes flowers and wildlife. Prints and digital files for sale. See website: