On The Air

The most comprehensive effort we’ve yet made to capture the experience of a climb. This is a viaduct in Aotearoa New Zealand. The edit features two separate perspectives: the climber’s point of view and that of an observing drone.

Part One: Someone Up There [0:00] Climbing has always created certain vistas of landscapes which would otherwise remain unseen. Climbing is also a human experience. A landscape is transformed into an obstacle by the simple fact that there is someone finding their way up there. This edit is a chance for the viewer to watch as one human watches another human navigating a landscape.

Part Two: Within Our Grasp [8:40] It is natural for us to reach for whatever lies within our grasp. POV videography allows someone to reach on behalf of others. Thanks for accompanying us as we reach for new experiences.

Part Three: A Delicate Crossing [17:38] Ahead is a native timber walkway too perished to be trustworthy; to the left is a steel guttering constructed 1896—1902, to the right a loose-hanging cable that is more a comfort than a protection; below are steel girders ranging from a little over a foot’s width to a little under, and below them nothing but airspace behind which a charcoal-blue tinted river glints among a green landscape.

At The Bottom

In 2014 on a Urbexcentral excursion in the hills- Gunner (as per usual), saw this tower as a challenge rather than an obstacle and couldn’t be talked out of free climbing it. We waited in trepidation at the bottom, as he proceeded to knock the bastard off.

Penalty For Improper Use

$20 is what it cost if a passenger improperly stopped this train by pulling down a lever. It’s hard to estimate the cost of rail transportation being effectively stopped in its tracks by Sir Robert Muldoon’s government in 1975. By the time Muldoon was ousted in a snap election in 1984, only two trains of this style remained, having been replaced by busses. A group of enthusiasts is currently restoring this lonely survivor with the intention of returning it to riding the rails from 2022 as a reminder of a bygone era of New Zealand’s history.

From Ten To Two

Built in the late 1880s, this 1.1 kilometre tunnel was completed some years before the construction of the rail lines it ultimately served, which eventually snaked their way south to meet it. Located in an area described as “an unpeopled wilderness”, it required a township of workers to be established and a brickworks created. Additional materials were brought in by canoe to Te Kuiti and by rail to the Puniu river, and hauled from there to the worksite by horses. After the work was completed, and trains were not yet running south of Te Kuiti, the access roads and tunnel had a life for some years as a road for horsemen and pack-animals bound for the southern parts of the King Country. Traversing the tunnel was memorably described as “an uncomfortable experience . . . get[ting] a packhorse bogged in the stiff clay . . . through the black dripping hole in the hill.”

130 years after its construction, and 40 since its abandonment, the dripping continues, and the clay is still incredibly boggy.

Thanks to The Forsaken Explorer NZ for directing me when I got a little lost on the hunt: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsDB2AmI-Lr4EhHOgZxA7Ag

Raw

For music, just the fizzing of cicadas on a hot summer day, and our footsteps ringing out in the cool air inside this 1876-built tunnel which was closed in 1955 after a deviation in the rail line it served.

Inclinations

Since the late 1960’s these coal tubs on the Millerton Incline in the northwest of the South Island of New Zealand have sat unmoving on their tracks. The Millerton Incline was built in 1891 and the mine it serviced began production five years later. The tubs would transport coal to Granity, which boasted at the time the largest wooden coal loading bins in the country. For the past half century coal production has shifted to the nearby Stockton coalfield.

West Coast ghost town

Once a thriving railway township, Rewanui was abandoned in 1985 when the railway branch was closed. The town was taken care of and preserved by its caretaker until in 1988 where a huge landslide following a flood destroyed most of the buildings and bridges that remained, tragically killing the sole occupant of the town.

After quite a long walk and a lot of searching through bush we found many remnants of the past still exist throughout the valley including old coal carts and mines.

 

 

 

 

Ruapehu Railways

Standing at the feet of Mt Ruapehu are the remains of several railway viaducts in various stages of decay. Modernisation of the railway network and the move towards concrete bridges in place of the historic steel viaducts has meant that these symbols of industrialisation are no longer in use. One of the viaducts has been turned into a tourist attraction with the option of walking across it – on this viaduct I took the path less travelled and popped down for a look at the hidden service platform beneath its deck.