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Rural New Zealand – a drive on the longest day

January 8, 2010

On the longest day of 2009 – or the shortest depending on where you are from — I took a drive while waiting for the sun to drop its harsh rays and for the light to turn golden. It didn’t happen during my drive. The sun turned in for the night around 9pm that evening. Yes it was the longest day but I had forgotten it.

by Cate

On the back roads of the Rangitikei region, you can follow either the meandering river as it makes it way south, or head towards the mountain ranges winding their way east. That evening when I drove through, the air was filled with pollen from native trees and grasses, the sky outfitted with rain clouds and the fields were green — enhanced by the glare of the sky, saturated from the light of the sun, and lush from the early December rains that continued on through the month.

by Cate

There was only me and the occasional sheep but as I got further around working my way down to the river, cattle appeared, along with the usual slow driving farmer and his mad barking dogs. Rural New Zealand at it’s finest.

by Cate

Slowly the heat was leaving the sun and shadows began creeping around the white clay cliffs, I made my way across an old rickety bridge that had seen better days, but could still keep up with newer models.

by Cate

Driving over it brought me back to my childhood where I grew up in rural South Island, except those bridges carried trains as well.

by Cate

Sheep farming used to be the biggest type of farming in New Zealand until the market fell out of wool, now cattle and dairy dominant the farming scene, giving way to large-scale dairy farms, drained wetlands and swamps and effluent problems. To say that there are more sheep in New Zealand is still true although gradually the numbers of cows are also increasing.

But from afar, the scenery still looks magic.

Caffeinated Traveller

  1. travelforaircraft permalink
    January 8, 2010 12:01 pm

    A quality from your pictures that I see is how clear and bright the light is — no haze from humidity or smog from air pollution.

  2. January 8, 2010 4:44 pm

    amazing landscape!

  3. January 9, 2010 7:14 pm

    Gorgeous scenery! I hope you’re enjoying New Zealand in summer.

  4. Erica Johansson permalink
    January 10, 2010 9:28 am

    I totally get why so many movies have been shot in New Zealand. Such a beautiful landscape! The second and the third photo made me think of “The Lord of the Rings”. I can imagine that a memory of driving through rural New Zealand will remain in your mind for a long time.

  5. travelforaircraft permalink
    January 11, 2010 12:26 pm

    I just recalled something the last photo reminded me about. NZ has many single lane road bridges. One end or the other has the right-of-way, I think, in the event when two vehicles arrive at the opposite ends at the same time.

    Not having dealt with that arrangment before I was a bit alert. I got used to it pretty quickly, though, and I think it is charming as well as wonderfully frugal. Especially frugal since many bridges are subject to flood damage.

  6. January 13, 2010 9:14 pm

    Beautiful pictures! I guess I’m not the only one fascinated by old bridges. 🙂

  7. January 15, 2010 11:41 am

    Lovely photos, Cate. Your timing is good -to be there in the warm season. Looking forward to more…

  8. January 18, 2010 4:00 am

    Thanks everyone for your feedback and comments. I only wish you could join me in person on my travels. If you haven’t been here than put this country on your list and seriously think about diverting parts of the trip to the lesser known places. They are worth visiting.


  9. January 18, 2010 2:09 pm

    I’ll definitely put New Zealand on my list of countries to visit. Apart from discovering Auckland, Christchurch and less known cities/places, I would love to try out some extreme sports and activities – which I’ve heard New Zealand is rather famous for.

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