Rock Giants and Caribbean Blue – The Mountains and Lakes of the Southern Alps

August 30th, 2013

Rock Giants and Caribbean Blue – The Mountains and Lakes of the Southern AlpsOne of New Zealand’s most impressive and stunning landscapes are the Southern Alps, a range of giant mountains and large lakes. Coming from Christchurch in the east, Lake Tekapo and its backyard mountain Mount John plus its astronomical observatory already give a first impression how wonderfully scenic the southern Kiwi land can look like. Further in the west Lake Pūkaki follows, having the mighty Mount Cook, NZ’s highest elevation, sitting enthroned on its northern lakeside. Literally around the corner is Lake Ohau with its picturesque sunsets. On its southern end you can indulge yourself meandering through the crags of the Clay Cliffs, a Bryce Canyon en miniature. The final stop is Lake Wakatipu and the worldwide known Queenstown, the southern hemisphere’s fun sport capital as well as the gate to the Routeburn track »»

Ice in the Rain Forest – Exploring the Fox Glacier

August 6th, 2013

Ice in the Rain Forest – Exploring the Fox GlacierNew Zealand’s West Coast region is unique. It is leader of the list of the rainiest regions on our planet and offers the possibility of getting in very close touch with the remarkable combination of a glacier gliding down amidst an environment of alpine mountains having rain forests on its slopes. To boot New Zealand has even two of those places, the Franz Josef Glacier as well as the Fox Glacier. Latter one originates from the western snow field surrounding Mount Tasman and I had an excursion leading from the glacier’s terminus up to the area where dramatic crevices and sharp edged ice shapes take over control; a place that already demanded the one or another human life »»

Mount Ruapehu – Above the Clouds of North New Zealand

July 11th, 2013

Mount Ruapehu – Above the Clouds of North New ZealandMount Ruapehu marks the southern end of the Taupo volcanic zone. Together with stunning Tongariro national park it stands for a region that shapes and defines the character of New Zealand’s north island. With an elevation of impressive 2797 metres it is also North New Zealand’s lighthouse, its highest spot; a place easily seen from the far away. Its crater is jagged, dramatic but also accommodates a wonderful crater lake. Volcanically seen Ruapehu is everything but dormant and its eruptions mostly occur without an advance warning. To boot it’s known for ist hot volcanic avalanches, so called lahars »»

Doubtful Sound – Where bold Cliffs meet bold Albatrosses

April 29th, 2013

Doubtful Sound – Where bold Cliffs meet bold AlbatrossesThe Doubtful Sound at the south island’s west coast is one of the large impressive fjords New Zealand has on offer. Unlike Milford Sound, that is usually more known to visitors, it is more winding, has even a couple of islands and its steep slopes are entirely uninhabited unlike Norway’s fjords. Normally clouds hang low between its escarpments and it rains a lot but also for Doubtful Sound the summer of 2013 was a pretty dry one. The wild albatrosses living at the fjord’s estuary don’t care much about that as they have their own water supply. Meeting them close enough to touch and seeing them flying above the wave crests is the most august wildlife experience of southern New Zealand »»

Tongariro – The Film Star among Volcanoes

April 8th, 2013

Tongariro – The Film Star among VolcanoesThe Tongariro Alpine Crossing is one of New Zealand’s most known hikes, a so called Great Walk and like the name already tells visitors can cross the massif of an active volcano. In particular movie fans will know about this place from the epic “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy as it is the place where finally gets rid of evil ring. Today and in the real world countless tourists are meandering along the foot of the picturesque Ngauruhoe cone and do the climb up to Red Crater, Emerald Lakes and Blue Lake »»

Ice Caves and Fumaroles – South Kamchatka’s volcanic Soul

December 13th, 2012

Ice Caves and Fumaroles – South Kamchatka’s volcanic SoulMutnovsky and Gorely are the names of the volcanic protagonists in Kamchatka’s South; two places known to many tourists visiting Kamchatka as almost every tour makes a stop over there to bring humans in touch with the admittedly weaker appearances of the biggest force on our planet. South Kamchatka is more inhabited than the north, which is no surprise as it is home of the regional capital Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and its suburb Yelizovo, the airfield welcoming the big and small airplanes from coming from Moscow and elsewhere. Landing there is something absolutely unique in the world since you automatically make contact with Kamchatka’s volcanic soul when hovering along an impressive guard of honour formed by majestic Koryakskaya Sopka and fiery red Avachinskaya Sopka volcanoes. Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky lives its own way and in particular at rain and wind bad weather mingles inseparably with the rough charm of the market-women »»

Kliuchevskoi and Tolbachik – The northern Volcano Giants

October 10th, 2012

Kliuchevskoi and Tolbachik – The northern Volcano GiantsKliuchevskoi – an impressive name reminding of a Russian poet and thinker. Actually the official name of Russia’s pyramid is Klyuchevskaya Sopka (Ключевская сопка) but even for the locals this title seems to be a little too long. The fire mountain stands for quite a bunch of superlatives, for example being with an altitude of about 4800 meters the highest volcano not only on Eurasian continental plate but also in northern hemisphere. It is majestic, tall, snow covered and farouche, having a perfectly shaped cone and it is part of one of the biggest volcanic systems on our planet; a volcano cluster being that large being easily visible to the unaided eye even from space. To the north of Kliuchevskoi the name giving village of Klyuchi (Ключи) is located, a small settlement at the banks of yet another name giver, the Kamchatka River. Klyuchi is the gate to the northern territories of the Kamchatka peninsula such as the unpredictable, old and wide spread Shiveluch (Шивелуч) volcano. From Klyuchi you can also access the uninhabited East by serpentine endless tracks cutting through the forest and also the South of the volcano mountain cluster with impressive Tolbachik (Толбачик) volcano isn’t that far away anymore »»

On top of Africa – The Ethiopian Highlands

April 18th, 2010

On top of Africa – The Ethiopian HighlandsThe Abyssinian highlands are the final stop for the cloudy water mass that finally feeds the source of the legendary Blue Nile. Its most dramatic region is the area around the Simien Mountains, whose volcanic origin is letting plants thrive and prosper that well that even baboons convert to vegetarianism. At every step done the scent of wild Thyme wafts up your nose and from time to time several thorns fondly hook into your upper arm. Hiking on an altitude of 4000m, you will quickly find yourself at eye level together with the colossal Lammergeier or majestic eagles and maybe there is even a chance to have a glance at the unique and very rare Ethiopian wolf »»

Simien Mountains Panorama

April 14th, 2010

Simien Mountains PanoramaA panoramic photo showing the eastern escarpment of the majestic Simien Moutains, Ethiopia’s biggest scenic highlight. Taken from Imet Gogo and made of 14 single photographs »»