The Heart of Haast

The beginnings of every lengthy journey are always filled with apprehension, with that feeling of emptiness as you leave the familiar behind and head into the unknown. It is a feeling I have grown to love; life springs into awareness as you empty your mind and open yourself up to possibilities. I left Queenstown on a blue sky day, the truck packed with gear ready for my longest trip about the South Island, which was long overdue as I hadn’t been out exploring with my camera in hand for quite a while. As I left the Southern Lakes District ultimately destined for Golden Bay at the very top of the South Island, little did I know that I was heading into two weeks of near solid rain on the West Coast.

Reflections on Lake Hawea, Central Otago.

Haast greeted me with the first sign of this dampness, so absolute it hugged everything with great weight. Driving through the mist I caught a glimpse of the scene you now see; so breathtaking I had to turn my truck around for another look.

Crying Canyon Walls, Haast, West Coast.

As I stood on the side of the road, watching the mist flow through the valley, photographing various compositions for over an hour, I felt the sense of being such a small thing amongst all encompassing wilderness. I thought about the two travellers who were recently tragically lost near this place in a landslide, and how precious our time is in this land.

Mist in the Haast Pass, Mount Aspiring National Park.

The mist gradually thickened as the sun fell toward the horizon and the temperature began to drop. It was time for me to continue, feeling that this land was alive, breathing and watching me. This is the Heart of Haast, an untameable place where nature rules and man can only wonder at its grandeur.

Mist at Dusk over the Haast River, West Coast.





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