Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

New Zealand: State Highway 6

with 15 comments

It’s not unusual to drive around New Zealand and find scenic things within sight of the road. Today marks a year and a day since we were heading south from the Franz Josef Glacier along State Highway 6 when I stopped to photograph the waterfall shown above. What all those dark patches on the rocks were, I don’t know, but I welcomed the extra texture into my photograph. From the other side of the road I looked down the steep embankment at a different sort of waterfall in the stream below:

The day before, I’d been taken by the “walls” of ferns growing right at the edge of the pavement along some stretches of the same highway further north. Here’s one of those fern-formed walls.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 21, 2018 at 4:34 AM

15 Responses

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  1. My main memory of travelling through Haast Pass is of waterfalls, bouncing over the roads. I was rather scared, and I don’t think my father was all that happy driving through this water logged, water-falled, water- walled Pass. Reading this ‘The road through Haast Pass (State Highway 6) was converted from a rough track to a formed road in 1966’ makes me realize we were early travellers on the formed (not sealed ) State Highway 6. Our trip was probably in about 1967.


    February 21, 2018 at 5:44 AM

    • How nice that you went this way too, and from a vantage point at the opposite end of a half-century. I can see why as a child bouncing on a formed but not paved (sealed) road and with water so close about you, you’d have come away with fear-tinged memories. When circumstances allow, perhaps you’ll retrace the route with adult sensibilities and the advantages provided by 50 years of improvement to the road.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 21, 2018 at 8:19 AM

      • My sister and I have often talked about doing the Haast trip again. We did the Buller Gorge section of that childhood trip in 2009. It was great fun.


        February 21, 2018 at 8:06 PM

        • Let’s hope the two of you make haste to Haast.

          Eve and I did the Buller Gorge section of Highway 6 the day we left Christchurch on our circuitous way to Blenheim.

          Steve Schwartzman

          February 21, 2018 at 8:27 PM

  2. This doesn’t look a thing like the State Highway 6 that I drive from time to time. I always enjoy the water’s color, but the confined chaos of that middle photo is especially appealing, and the ferns in the last remind me a bit of the cuts through limestone cliffs in the hill country.

    The mixture of dark patches and green growth in the lower right of your first photo makes me wonder if they might be related: two stages of the same thing.


    February 21, 2018 at 8:01 AM

    • I’ve been on parts of Texas 6, mostly east of Hempstead where it doubles a stretch of US 290, and I’ll confirm what you said about the difference between the highway here and the one in NZ. Too bad we can’t start driving on the Texas one and miraculously find ourselves transported to the one on the other side of the earth.

      At least some of the feeling of confined chaos in the middle picture comes from the close-to-square cropping I used in order to exclude parts of the scene at both sides and keep a viewer’s attention from wandering too far from the waterfall.

      In the first photo, I hadn’t considered that the green might be a precursor to the black.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 21, 2018 at 8:34 AM

    • By the way, NZ is small enough that automotive things are done nationally. There’s only one kind of license plate for the whole country, and State Highway 6 means National Highway 6.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 21, 2018 at 8:54 AM

  3. What a wonderful idea~magical highways that transport drivers to other places.


    February 21, 2018 at 8:43 AM

    • I started to write that there’d have to be an overpass or tunnel to switch drivers to the opposite side of the road, but if we’re going to have magic, the change to the other side could happen automatically, and the steering wheel and driver would also miraculously switch to the opposite side of the car.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 21, 2018 at 8:51 AM

  4. You sure brought beautiful photos!


    February 21, 2018 at 12:56 PM

    • That’s not hard to do when New Zealand’s the backdrop. I showed a slew of pictures after getting back last year. I’m showing even more this time around.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 21, 2018 at 1:02 PM

  5. Maidenhair ferns do that at my former home, in a canyon. They were not as lush though.


    February 23, 2018 at 1:59 AM

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