The Dunedin Botanic Garden

I often go to Dunedin for many varied reasons, and one of the delights of every trip is a visit or two to the oldest botanical garden in New Zealand, which was established in 1863.

There are two parts of the Dunedin Botanic Garden, linked indiscernibly, known as the upper gardens and the lower gardens which merge nicely with the University of Otago campus.  View Google Map

The initial garden was established on a site now occupied by the University but due to extensive flooding in 1868, the gardens were moved to their current site in 1869.

White rhododendron at the Dunedin Botanic Garden
A rhododendron typical of the more naturalistic upper garden, where there is an arboretum, rhododendron dell, native plant and geographic collections.
Dunedin Botanic Gardens
There are over 6,800 plant species
Dunedin Botanic Gardens
It covers 28 hectares of hillside and flat land to the north of the city
Dunedin Botanic Gardens
Dunedin Botanic Garden
The Garden is a preferred location for serious botanical studies as it is home to a significant number of plant collections
Dunedin Botanic Garden
Dunedin Botanic Garden
Dunedin Botanic Garden
Dunedin Botanic Garden
In July 2010, the Dunedin Botanic Garden was awarded a rank of “Garden of International Significance” by the New Zealand Gardens Trust thus becoming one of only five gardens nationwide to be bestowed with this honour.
Dunedin Botanic Garden
Dunedin Botanic Garden
Dunedin Botanic Garden
Garden worker at Dunedin Botanic Garden
The resources dedicated to the Gardens are significant, yet unlike many similar gardens in large cities overseas such as in Vancouver, entry to the Dunedin Botanic Gardens is free
Dunedin Botanic Garden
Dunedin Botanic Garden
Dunedin Botanic Garden, the roof of the Winter Garden Glasshouse
The roof of the Winter Garden Glasshouse – open 10am to 4pm, with nearby alpine house and toilets 9am to 4pm, and the cafe 9.30am to 4.30pm
Students studying in the Dunedin Botanic Gardens
Each University year Dunedin city hosts 40,000 plus students and with the Gardens in close proximity scenes like this are common place. In short they offer an immense and peaceful place for relaxation and study, while also providing pathways to North Dunedin where there are lots of student accomodation flats
Dunedin Botanic Garden - Peter Pan statue
Peter Pan and is that Wendy whispering in his ear?
Dunedin Botanic Garden decorative hedges
Dunedin Botanic Garden
Dunedin Botanic Garden
Dunedin Botanic Garden -Japanese shelter
A feature of the flat lower Garden
Fantails ofter frequent the Dunedin Botanic Gardens
Fantails often frequent the Dunedin Botanic Gardens
South African section of the upper  Dunedin Botanic Gardens
South African section of the upper Gardens
The formal rose garden and camellia collection in the lower Dunedin Botanic Gardens
The formal rose garden and camellia collection in the lower Gardens
Magnolia in the upper Dunedin Botanic Gardens
Magnolia in the upper Gardens

Some thoughts on how to enhance sustainability in photography

One of the goals of Photo Quest NZ is draw attention to our unique New Zealand landscape in such a way as to do something tangible towards not only protecting it, but ensuring people grasp the need for habitat restoration for our native species.

NZ tomtit
NZ tomtit

Along the way though we leave footprints – not so much in the way of the obvious nasty chemicals used to make images pre digital, but in more subtle and insidious ways such as the need for electronics (with planned obsolescence, not to mention packaging), batteries and data storage.



With these thoughts in mind, and already being off the grid (all Photo Quest studio work is done via solar power) with equipment chosen for it’s potential longevity (can you believe a ten year old iPhone) thoughts recently have gravitated towards travel – the simple act of getting to remote locations and back again.

Duffers Saddle in the snow - Central Otago
At least I have accomodation with me

It’s been a habit in the past to go to a new locations, take a few images and then retreat back to the office where they’re evaluated pending another trip to said location. The thought being to be there for sunsets and sunrises, or a snow storm or two.


However recently good friends invited me to have a day trip up Isthmus Peak – a viewpoint popular with young back packers, which gives great panorama views of both Lakes Wanaka and Hawea.

View from Isthmus Peak track
View from the lower section of the Isthmus Peak track
Mts Castor and Pollux from near the top of Isthmus Peak
Mts Castor and Pollux from near the top of Isthmus Peak
Lake Hawea on the left, Wanaka on the right,  from near the top of Isthmus Peak
Lake Hawea on the left, Wanaka on the right, from near the top of Isthmus Peak
Lake Hawea on the left, Wanaka on the right
Lake Hawea on the left, Wanaka on the right
Near the top
Mount Aeolus from from Isthmus Peak
Looking across Lake Wanaka we could see the Wilken Valley peaks such as Mount Aeolus, but unfortunately the noon light did not make for a photo equal to the majesty of this view

On seeing the panoramas offered by this walk, it can come to mind to return for the golden hour after the sun has set, or better yet in this case, be there for dawn. Which actually means burning more fuel.

Mount Aeolus from Isthmus Peak track
So one way to improve the light photographically is to use post production software, thus getting a competent image on one visit which goes someway towards sustainable photography. The dull image immediately above was the basis for this one

None of these blog page images are listed in our shop yet, but if you happen to be interested please note which image and email Donald so he can process the various options, and advise you with a link when completed

The story of an astute kereru (NZ wood pigeon) and a myopic photographer

Last week I came across the above fantail /piwakawaka and as my camera was in my hand, I started stalking him/her with my lens, knowing full-well, like we all do, that these sweeties move about almost too fast for us limited humans.

But I got a good enough shot, and then I had the oddest feeling I was not alone and was being watched, so I took half a breath and realised the kereru was less than a meter from my nose. 


The rest was history as they say, but look at the expression. It’s said these beautiful birds are dumb, but that was not what I saw

Portrait of a kereru (NZ wood pigeon)

Eventually my kereru friend decided to turn away prior to departure, but could not resist looking back for sometime with an air of indecision, or maybe even reluctance…

Back view of a NZ kereru / wood pigeon at Dunedin Botanical Gardens

One of favourite piwakawaka photos taken in red beech forest in Mt Aspiring National Park

Piwakawaka / fantail in red beech forest in Mt Aspiring National Park

None of these blog page images are listed in our shop yet, but if you happen to be interested please note which image and email Donald so he can process the various options, and advise you with a link when completed

That Wanaka Tree

I’ve been around this now famous tree in more ways than one, e.g. swimming, and simply took it for granted for a few decades.

In snow, flood, or times of drought this tree that used to be a fence post earlier than 1939, endures with a determination to not just live, but to be a rock star of the Internet

However before it became famous a few of us had been there with cameras in sunshine and storm, simply because it was nice subject matter for landscape photographers.

But even then we had no idea how social media would change all that – now days getting an image of it with no people is the ultimate challenge.

A Wanaka Tree photographer working in a  snow-storm under an umbrella

And so the photographers came! With tripods, umbrellas, children and iPhones!

That Wanaka Tree at sunset

And often the sun sets on a perfect day, which finds the lake levels either up or down or somewhere in between

That Wanaka Tree bathing in unusual light

But what intrigues me of late is the tree seems to sense the attention it gets and becomes alive in another universe

Wedding couple by the Wanaka Tree

Then again it is not always the centre of attention

None of these blog page images are listed in our shop yet, but if you happen to be interested please note which image and email Donald so he can process the various options, and advise you with a link when completed

In the Beginning

There were gold miners, and before that a few explorers and opportunistic land grabbers, and before that Maori travelled inland each autumn to harvest birds, and very probably floated down the mighty Clutha river back to the the east coast.

Omakau Central Otago - historic cottage

The road from Omakau to the Ida Valley in Central Otago passes by this cottage reminiscent of a by-gone era. It’s not hard to photograph it, but it is seldom seen in a hoar frost setting.