On the Road and In Your Backyard

On The Road and In Your Backyard is a weekday feature spotlighting reader submissions. From the exotic to the familiar, please share your part of the world, whether you’re traveling or just in your locality. Share some photos and a narrative, let us see through your pictures and words. We’re so lucky each and every day to see and appreciate the world around us!

Submissions from commenters are welcome at tools.balloon-juice.com


Have a wonderful day, and enjoy the pictures!


Today, pictures from valued commenter Albatrossity.

Although I do love to take pictures of birds and share them here, occasionally I also take pictures of landscapes. Our recent trip to New Zealand (and previous trips) offered lots of landscape opportunities. Certainly more people go to New Zealand for the scenery than for the birds! And, as a friend commented, you can drop your camera in New Zealand and it will take a stunning landscape picture as it hits the ground. There’s more than a grain of truth in that, so here are some landscapes from some off-the-beaten-track parts of that lovely country

Taken on 2019-01-02 00:00:00

New Zealand, South Island

Erewhon Station is a sheep and cattle operation nestled in the foothills of the Southern Alps along the Rangitata River. It is across the river from Mesopotamia Station, the place where the British author Samuel Butler wrote his satirical 1872 novel “Erewhon, or Over the Range”. This picture was taken in high summer; one can imagine that winters here would be a tad harsh.

Taken on 2019-01-07 00:00:00

New Zealand, North Island

Mt. Ruapehu is an active volcanic peak (last eruption in 2007) near Lake Taupo in the center of the North Island. It’s highest point is 2792 meters above sea level (a bit over 9000 ft in American), and it hosts the only glaciers found on the North Island, as well as a large lake in one of the active craters.

Taken on 2018-12-31 00:00:00

New Zealand, South Island

The Rakaia Gorge lies on the Rakaia River west of Christchurch. Like most of the rivers on the South Island, its water comes from glacial melt, and the suspended minerals (glacial flour) impart a turquoise color to the water. For most of its length the Rakaia is a typical South Island braided river, and the sandbars and gravel banks afford nesting habitat to many iconic (and endangered) New Zealand birds such as the Wrybill, Black-billed Gull, Black-fronted Tern, and Banded Dotterel.

Taken on 2019-01-02 00:00:00

New Zealand, South Island

The Southern Alps greet the sunrise, from Lake Heron Station. Lake Heron is a large lake that drains into the Rakaia River; the mountains behind the tussock grasses are actually across that river and are several miles away. We stayed in a guest house at Lake Heron Station, since that location offers scenic vistas, great hiking and birding, and excellent solitude.

Taken on 2019-01-02 00:00:00

New Zealand, South Island

Tussock grass is a high-altitude grass species that was mostly burned and cleared in order to plant European grasses that were considered to be more palatable for cattle and sheep. There are a few places where tussock grass plains still persist, and help one visualize a time before invasive European and American species were deliberately introduced into this South Pacific archipelago. This photo was taken near Mt. Potts in the upper Rangitata Valley.


Thank you so much Albatrossity, do send us more when you can.


Travel safely everybody, and do share some stories in the comments, even if you’re joining the conversation late. Many folks confide that they go back and read old threads, one reason these are available on the Quick Links menu.


One again, to submit pictures: Use the Form or Send an Email

11 replies
  1. 1
    JPL says:

    Albatrossity, Thank you so much and beautiful pictures. As I looked at each one though, I kept thinking there has to be one bird somewhere.

  2. 2
    Wag says:

    New Zealand is absolutely on the bucket list. Thanks for sharing the excellent photos.

  3. 3
    debbie says:

    So much beauty packed into one small space!

  4. 4
    Steve in the ATL says:

    I thought albatrossity was only allowed to submit bird pics. Is this no longer a union shop?!

  5. 5
    p.a. says:

    I worked with a guy whose son had possibly the best job in the world: Northern Hemi summer, Alaska fishing guide; Southern Hemi summer, guide in NZ. Only way it could be better was if he had been rich enough to fish for himself without the ‘sports’.

  6. 6
    karensky says:

    Love chirps

  7. 7
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @p.a.: When I was in NZ I met a retired woman from the Philly area who didn’t like the summer heat, so she went to Queenstown in May every year and then back to Philly in October. Stayed in NZ just short of the six month tourist-visa limit.

    I met her on a ski lift, naturally.

  8. 8
    stinger says:

    Beautiful photos, even without birds in them!

  9. 9
    arrieve says:

    Wonderful photos of a beautiful country — you’re forgiven for the lack of birds!

  10. 10
    rikyrah says:

    Wow…those are beautiful pictures

  11. 11
    Denali says:

    Now I want to go back and do the 6-month stay.

Comments are closed.