This months 20/20 vision features the town of Dunedin in New Zealand, it lies near south eastern side of the south island. Its known as a Scottish town because a lot of the settlers that came over from Europe were from Scotland. It is noticeable as you walk around the town because the architecture is quite different than most of the rest of New Zealand, and resembles more of a Scottish look to it.
The steepest residential street in the world is in Dunedin.
One of my favourite areas to explore is the peninsula, which you can see across the bay from almost anywhere in the city. The peninsula feels completely different and very far from the the city, yet its just across the water. The small outcrop is much more wild feeling with small windy roads with rolling hills and lots of wildlife, you can read more about my wild life tour of the Dunedin peninsula here.
The peninsula is full of rolling hills, with the city of Dunedin just across the water.
There are a few beaches all around the peninsula, they are great to explore and see the more wild side of area.
Right at the end of the peninsula there is a spot to see albatross, its a great place to see they swooping across the cliffs.
Along this beach is a bunch of sea lions, when I was there they were fighting with each other.
Tunnel beach is another beach just outside the main city, its an awesome sight with a huge arch over the ocean.
There are some epic cliffs down by the beach as well.
Just a short drive out of the city, there is an old railway tunnel where you can see gloworms.
Another reason to venture just outside the city is because there are some really clear skies, which makes it great for star watching and some astrophotography.
One of the first days I after I arrived in Vietnam I knew one of the destinations that was high on my list was Ha Long Bay. It was my highlight of Vietnam and one of the most beautiful places I have ever had the chance to visit. The bay is made up of hundred of Limestone Islands, and it is a Unesco world heritage site.
After spending my first few days of Vietnam in the hustle and bustle of Hanoi, I decided to book a day trip out to Halong bay.
The trip was 4 hours each way on the bus, so it meant hopping on a bus nice and early. I think we boarded our bus at around 7am and headed off out of the city towards the coast.
The bus ride itself was interesting, looking out onto the Vietnamese landscape as we weaved in and out between cars and motorbikes. The views were so scenic and a much needed peaceful contrast to the loud active atmosphere of the city.
As we approached the coast, I could spot some of the Limestone islands sticking out of the clam ocean. It was my first sight of things to come and I was excited, they looked so majestic as they protruded out of the still water.
We soon hopped on our boat that would transport us around the huge Limestone isles for the next 4 hours. We got settled started to move towards the islands, they were getting bigger and bigger as we got closer.
Heading towards the giant limestone isles
It was hard to judge the size of them from a distance, but once we were much closer it was an amazing sight seeing the sheer size of the huge vertical cliff faces.
After a little while of exploring around the different islands we stopped off at a floating village in which we could go on a small rowing boat and visit a cave. Once we got through the small opening and through to the doughnut shaped inlet, there was huge cliffs surrounding us on all sides.
We then hopped back onto or big boat and headed for some caves that were on one of the islands. The caves were a lambranth of tunnels and they were lighted up with lights situated through out the caves, It added shadows and color to the interior of the protruding stalagmites and stalactite.
The cave had loads of lights that lit up the protruding rocks with lots of colors.
Seeing the twisting cave structure was amazing, there was paths and passages to other caves through out the entire place. I could hear water falling from some areas, but couldn’t see it.
After our exploration of the cave we headed back onto our boat and passed a few more isles as we headed back to shore.
The sun was just beginning to set as we approached the harbour, the islands were shrinking on the horizon on the yellowing light. I looked back at the beautiful isles back lit from the sun, wishing I could spend more time there.
The sun setting over Ha Long Bay
If you are going to visit Vietnam, I would recommend that the one thing you must see is Ha Long Bay. Being among the massive isles, moving across the water in between the gigantic limestone rocks.
The Sony FE 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 OSS Kit Lens Trial
Some of you may know that I have just recently switched from shooting with Canon cameras to Sony. My main camera now is the Sony a7ii, I wanted to move to a full frame sized sensor and the mirrorless system seems like the way forward in terms of technology. You can see my full review of the Sony a7ii here.
I have mostly been shooting with my Canon lenses still, using a Commlite adapter on the front of my Sony. This is mainly because it costs a lot to buy all of my lenses again, when I still have perfectly good Canons ones.
For the time being I am sticking with my Canon lenses as I slowly migrate my lens collection to a Sony one.
When I purchased my Sony a7ii, I went for the kit package which includes the Sony FE 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 OSS lens. The kit lens is a standard zoom lens with a focal range of 28-70mm, now this isn’t my usual focal range as I mostly shoot quite wide for landscapes.
I thought it would be a good starter lens as my first time using a Sony lens, however for the past 3 months or so since getting the camera I have rarely used the Sony lens.
For a challenge I have made for myself I have decided to shoot with the kit for the next 2 weeks exclusively. I thought it would be a great opportunity to really get to grips with the lens and get a feel of the Sony lenses compared to Canon ones.
So this video here is of my first day using the lens, my first impressions are that it is nice and lightweight and quick to focus. So things seem positive to begin with, take a look at the video for more of my thoughts on it.
I will continue to use the lens for the next 2 weeks and write up a blog post about my overall impresion once I have put it through its paces with real world usage.
Dunedin is a great small city towards the lower end of the South island of New Zealand, there is a bunch of stuff to do there but one of the experiences that really stood out to me was the peninsula encounters wildlife tour.
The bus stopped off in town at each of the hostels and hotels to pick up the guests before heading out towards the peninsula.
As soon as we reached the windy narrow roads of the peninsula it was a completely different feel than the city. It felt much more as if we were in among the wilds of the country, even though we could still see the city across the bay.
There were some wonderful views out the bus window of the rolling hills, passing various wildlife and small cottages along the length of the peninsula.
The first place we stopped off at was the Albatross center, it was so windy down there most of us were permanently standing at a 45 degree angle.
This meant good news for spotting albatross though as they are more likely to be out flying in gusty conditions. We all stood waiting to see their huge wingspan appear from over the hill bracing ourselves against the wind, and after a few minutes we spotted our first albatross off in the distance.
Then suddenly another appeared, this time a lot closer so we could get a proper look at one in flight. They are huge, there were seagulls in the air too and they looked miniature in comparison.
Next on the agenda was to visit the Sea lions on the beach, after a short scenic drive along the coast of the peninsula we reached the private beach area which the tour has access to.
We all got off the bus and headed down the hill towards the beach, were we could spot the sea lions as we descended.
Once we reached the fence to the beach we stopped and looked at them for a while, some were asleep but a group of males were fighting or practising at least. Some of sea lions that were previously sleeping eventually woke up and decided to join in on the fighting, I was surprised at how fast they could move.
We headed onto the beach and had to pass the giant animals, luckily they were busy jostling with each other to take much notice to use as we passed. But it was a great opportunity to get so near to them and see (and smell them) up close.
Yellow eyed Penguins
We walked further down the beach to reach the yellow eyed penguins, we had to climb up a series of steps to reach the area they were located. We spotted some among the trees nesting, and we got a really close view of them too, We even spotted a blue penguin sleeping in its hole.
We stayed here a while to take some pictures and take in the scenery and wildlife when one penguin arrived on shore from the sea and started to waddle his way up on to the hills past the sheep and reach another penguin.
I never thought I would ever see a penguin and a sheep together, and it was one of the highlights to me of the trip.
Afterwards we headed back up past the sea lions and up and the hill to reach the fur seal colony on the other side of the cliffs.
They looked tiny in comparison to the sea lions but it was a great sight as there were loads of them covering the entire surface of the rocks. Some babies playing tin the rock pools, and one that looked to be surprised to see humans and stared at us constantly.
Overall the trip was great and definitely one of the highlights of my New Zealand experience!
I booked the tour through elm wildlife tours, and the whole day lasts about 6 hours or so so be sure to bring a snack or two and a jacket in case it’s a bit windy.