Archives For South Island

By Marysia Mcsperrin, DOC Communications Advisor

Marysia Mcsperrin at Punakaiki.

Marysia Mcsperrin

Having moved over from London in April last year, the Christmas break featured a lot of firsts for me. It was my first Christmas away from home, friends and family, the first warm(ish) one in the southern hemisphere and the first one where, instead of a roast dinner with all the trimmings for Christmas lunch, we ate sandwiches in the car!

Me and my partner decided to spend the break taking a road trip around the South Island, down the West Coast and back up the east. We didn’t do any real tramping or camping though, just a lot of stop-offs at stunning locations.

The gorgeous blue water of the Hokitika Gorge.

Hokitika Gorge

We saw some amazing sights and had a chance to really appreciate the diversity and beauty of New Zealand’s natural landscapes. It was hard to choose my highlights but a few places stuck out for me.

blue-pools-christmas

Christmas Day stop-off and people were building stone Christmas trees

Firstly, Hokitika Gorge, which is about 30 km inland from Hokitika. We would’ve missed this if our helpful hostel owner hadn’t insisted we go and I’m so glad we did. It featured the most unreal turquoise-coloured water I’ve ever seen.

The alpine blue waters of Lake Pukaki.

Lake Pukaki

Another place that took my breath away was Lake Pukaki, on the drive between Queenstown and Christchurch. Again, we weren’t intending to stop here but the amazing alpine blue water was quite mesmerizing, and we had to take a closer look.

Two Hector's dolphins near Kaikoura.

Hector’s dolphins

We finished our trip whale watching in Kaikoura, which was an incredible experience – spotting two sperm whales and pods of hector’s and dusky dolphins. It was an amazing way to spend my first Christmas break in the southern hemisphere.

The tale of a sperm whale near Kaikoura.

Sperm whale

Today’s photo of the week is this beautiful southern forest gecko from the Catlins which was sent in by Philip Melgren of Invercargill.

This gecko is a forest dweller. I have spent many hours searching for populations of this gecko – easily New Zealand’s most beautiful forest gecko especially when a blue eyed specimen is found.

southern-forest-gecko-close-up

The piercing stare of that big green eye and the brown, green and yellow colouring of this species is spectacular. Unfortunately habitat loss has had a profound impact on their population and the threat classification for this species is listed as declining.


Send us your photos

If you have a great, conservation related photo you want to share with the world (or at least the readers of this blog) send it through to us at socialmedia@doc.govt.nz.