We woke up for our last sunrise shoot for the trip at 6:45am, got ourselves organised as quietly as possible so as not to disturb our neighbours then drove out of camp and east to New Brighton beach. We parked up and wandered down to the beach to a stunningly clear morning, with a few wisps of high cloud, and a low tide. There were a few photographers on the beach with us and a few more joined us as it got towards sunrise. We spent a couple of hours on the beach shooting from different locations then wandered up to have breakfast at Salt on the Pier. I have included a few shots from our time on the beach to show some of the different images we captured.
After breakfast we had a brief wander around New Birghton shops then back in the van and back to camp to park the van. We caught a bus into town to the new bus station then walked around the central city streets looking at the new buildings going up, and the empty areas still awaiting redevelopment. We wandered around the Restart Mall in it's new location, then jumped on a tram to go around the full loop. It is great to see the trams back running again, and to see so many new buildings in the CBD. But it is strange to see so many buildings still to be demolished, and still lots of empty spaces between the new buildings. And is a real shame to see that the Cathedral is still awaiting it's rebuild due to ongoing interference from self appointed 'heritage' lobbyists.
We walked back to the bus station then caught a bus out to Merivale Mall where we caught up with Facebook friend Jonathan Manning for a coffee, cake, and chin wag.
We walked back towards town to Ken's Cameras to talk to them about collecting a free print that I won in a Facebook competition, and we agreed that I would send them an image and they would organise the print, even though the couldn't remember me winning competition (thanks guys, and the print looked stunning!).
We jumped back on a bus to Northlands Mall to buy a suitcase for the waders as they wouldn't fit into our current bags, and they were worth hanging on to, then we walked the 10 minutes back to camp.
Rested for a bit then headed out at 4pm in the van and drove to the Botanical Gardens for sunset. As it was winter the gardens were not at their most colourful so Liz and I both decided to shoot some of the buildings in the gardens. I wasn't blown away by my efforts, but was pretty happy with my rare foray into Architectural Photography.
We wandered back to the van and drove to Cranmer Sq, parked and walked to the Christchurch Casino for tea, and an investment in the Casino coffers. Headed back to camp at about 8pm to relax.
We decided that Day 16 of our trip was a non-photography day, so it consisted of packing up / cleaning out the van, driving to Apollo to return it, shuttle to the airport then back on the plane to Napier.
We drove a total of 2,800kms on the trip, stayed 15 nights, 6 at powered campsites and 9 at free / DOC camps with no power.
The total cost of the trip was around $4,000 including flights to Christchurch and the van rental (which we got an amazing deal on due to the time of year) , so that worked out to about $260/night for everything
We took around 3,600 photos (2,200 for Andrew and 1,200 for Liz)
The best part of the trip (and the reason for the trip really) was to be able to spend time exploring the West Coast of the South Island, and we found some amazing places that we had never heard of before we started planning the trip. And being able to camp right of the shores of some of the most amazing lakes in New Zealand (Clearwater, Camp, Tekapo, Wanaka, Paringa, Mapourika, and Kaniere) was just the icing on the cake.
Time to start planning the next one...