Nevis Valley, Central Otago, New Zealand April 2017 (12 photos)
This is part 9 of my New Zealand series of posts.
Early one cold autumnal morning I set out from Queenstown by 4WD through the backcountry of Central Otago to photograph the remote Nevis Valley.
From Cromwell the unsealed road to the Nevis Valley rises 1300 metres over Duffers Saddle before descending to run alongside the Nevis River.
The view looking back towards Bannockburn from Duffers Saddle.
High mountain ranges rise from either side of the Nevis valley – to the west the Remarkables and Hector Mountains, and to the east the Old Woman Range.
The valley is a barren landscape featuring numerous rocky outcrops and vast open tussock plains. The landscape very much reminded me of scenes in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit series, although I couldn’t find any direct references to this location in my online search.
When the valley is not snowbound, four-wheel drive vehicles and trail bikes can negotiate the only road through the Nevis Valley.
Fed by numerous creeks from the ranges, the Nevis River meanders along the broad valley floor.
The first use of the Nevis Valley was as a trail route for the Maori. When the gold rush arrived in the 1860s, two small settlements appeared in the lower Nevis. Due to the remoteness of the valley, miners’ workings have been left largely untouched These remains include everything from the cemetery and settlement buildings through to a woolshed and the first ski hut.
Now only the family at Ben Nevis Station occupies the valley. One can’t help but feel enveloped by the isolation of the region.
But I was there for a reason. I had heard there existed a solitary tree somewhere in the valley that stood lonely by a small pond, backdropped by the mountains that guard the valley. I deemed it a worthy photographic assignment. After a while and barely visible from the road I found my tree.
This location gave me a chance to play with some Neutral Density filters for long exposures.
This location did not disappoint.