That Antipodal Life

Posted by Patrick Lam on Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Table Of Contents

Guessing Game

Which season is which?

View from Kelburn towards Aro Valley; a pohutukawa tree in bloom; Wellington's Skyline Walkway; Waikanae Estuary Scientific Reserve
(October 2020, December 2020, July 2020, March 2021)

And let’s try that for Canada.

Rockies peaks; town of Banff; Calgary blossoms; Western University (London, ON).
August, February, May, November

(What time of year is the banner picture from?)

October in Waterloo!

OK, let’s talk about the seasons in turn.


Québec has been famously described as “quelques arpents de neige” by Voltaire in 1759. Most of Canada has four seasons, particularly including winter.

Rivière du Loup in February; the Fleuve St.-Laurent is behind those trees.

On the other hand, the “Far North” in New Zealand means something completely different, and there is talk of the winterless north. Southern Hemisphere! Everything is upside down! Here’s a picture from the North Arm Hut on the Rakiura Track on Stewart Island in August, i.e. mid-winter.

North Arm off the Foveaux Strait in August. Didn't see kiwi, but also didn't get bedbugs.

Sometimes there is a freak snowstorm. I think the motel owners in Culverden said that snow accumulation was a once-in-five-years event; strangely enough there were also some other Canadians staying there for the snowstorm. We brought the snow?

September snowfall; melted in a few hours.

We’ve been in Wellington for the past year and a half (!). It’s never really cold or hot here. The stats say that from 1981-2010 there was a mean of 9.9 days with ground frost. Daily highs/lows in winter are around 12°C/7°C. It’s not cold outside. But it’s cold inside. Never heard so much talk about warm and dry homes. Doesn’t that go without saying?

John Summers has a long Sunday essay about winter in New Zealand.

In many parts of the country, winter is indistinct. It doesn’t always have the hard markers of snow and ice.

What’s a bit odd is the latitude is sufficiently far from the equator that there’s noticeable variation in day length; right now sunset is around 5:15PM, earliest is 4:57PM (in 6 weeks) for a 9h11m day and latest is 8:57PM daylight time for a 15h9m day. Southland (those NZ names) has later sunsets because it is also further west, so Invercargill gets 9:42PM sunset at the summer solstice for a 15h46m day and 5:06PM for an 8h35m day at the winter solstice.

Let’s see some other pictures from my collection of Canada winter pictures.

Dogsledding with Winterdance Dogsled Tours (March); Sunshine Village in Banff; skinning uphill to the Ink Pots; peaks on that trail; Ink Pots themselves (all February, pics); hors-piste skiing at Mt. Edouard, Saguenay (February); Montréal snow removal (December, credit C. Desjardins).

And here are pictures from NZ winter. At normal elevations snow doesn’t stick around.

Peaks around Mount Sunday; seen on the TranzAlpine (July, pics); the hills of Rakiura (August); a bench atop Mount Fyffe (September).


I think about flowers and blossoms when I think about spring (yeah, the banner is misleading!). Also rain. Here’s Avenue McGill College in Montréal from May 2006.

But there’s also a bunch of bare trees before the leaves come in. Here’s various states of spring. Pictures here are from between March 21st and June 21st.

Spout Path (May, East Coast Trail, pics); cornice while biking to Amqui (April, Québec, pics); recon of the Dôme (May, Grands Jardins, pics).

I have lots of pictures from NZ spring, which is September to December. Let’s pull out the flowers separately. There are lots of flowers in Canada too—even some of the same ones—I just somehow don’t have pictures of them.

Tulips at the Wellington Botanical Garden (October, pics); blooms in Russell (November, pics); winter flower in Wellington (August); spring flower in Wellington (November)

And general spring pictures:

On the Northern Explorer (November, pics); Pohutukawa ("NZ Christmas Tree", November, pics) on the Redwood Bush Walk; Castle Downs (August, pics); towards Mount Grey/Maukatere true summit; Lyttleton; seal (September, pics); godwits and stilts at Miranda (November)


All but two of my Canada summer pictures are from the alpine. I guess that’s where I take pictures in Canada in the summer. Alpine flowers say summer to me.

Approach to the Bugaboos; classic Bugaboos spire pic; alpine flower (July 2015); along the shore of the Koroc; emergency shelter on Mt. Caubvick (June 2019); slabby seacliffs at Torbay Point (July 2011, pics); Anna climbing on Buddha Buttress; more Rockies alpine flowers (July 2017).

And now the NZ summer pictures. More flowers, among other things.

Christmas trees at WLG (December); roses at Wellington Botanical Garden (December); gulls at Royal Albatross Centre near Dunedin (December); atop Hump Ridge (January 2021); Jumbo Track (February 2021); Pukerua Bay (February 2021).


Looks like I have no pictures of the leaf season in Québec. I’m sure I have pictures from the US Northeast but I decided to only include Canada pictures here. So this is what we’ve got.

Larches in Whitehorse (September); ruins of Cathédrale St-Boniface (November); Kluane National Park (September); walking from YOW (December, pics, writeup.

And fresh New Zealand pictures. Some do look like the fall. The weather does vary and one of the hottest days I experienced recently was in Christchurch in April.

Matukituki Valley at Mount Aspiring National Park; Queenstown 2x (March-April 2021, pics); climbing Avalanche Peak (April 2021).


Canada pictures from British Columbia (Bugaboos), Yukon (Whitehorse, Kluane), Alberta (Calgary & Rockies), Manitoba (Winnipeg), Ontario (Haliburton, London, Ottawa), Quebec (Rivière-du-Loup, Montréal, Saguenay, Bas-St-Laurent, Charlevoix, Nunavik), Newfoundland and Labrador (St. John’s).

NZ pictures from Greater Wellington/Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Stewart Island/Rakiura, Culverden, Mount Sunday, Kaikoura, Russell, Castle Downs, Christchurch, Miranda, Dunedin, Tuatapere, Mount Aspiring National Park, Queenstown, Arthur’s Pass.