Saturday night saw a strong southerly blowing through the lower North Island. The wind was mostly gone by Sunday and the afternoon was cool but clear with a uninterrupted views to the western horizon. I’ve been waiting a day like this and as sunset neared I drove north to the viewpoint on the Paekakariki Hill Road to check out the evening panorama. A few years ago I saw some photos taken from the viewpoint of Mount Ruapehu rising on the horizon above Paraparaumu and I’ve been wanting to give it a go. Arriving I was greeted by a clear 180 degree horizon and to the north the snow capped Mount Ruapehu was clearly visible while more westward the cone of Mount Taranaki poked above the horizon and the silhouette of Kapiti Island. Continuing west and south the South Island was also showing well.
I spent the next hour taking photos of the views, slowly losing feeling in my hands as the sun disappeared. I eventually returned to the car and got gloves. As the glow on the western horizon faded the next treat appeared, a sickle moon next to a brightly shining Venus and then directly below the lesser light of Jupiter. If I’d waited a bit longer I probably could have found the comet Panstarrs (C/2015 Q1) above the horizon as well but I needed to get home to assist with dinner and daughter wrangling.
Next time I’ll have to try for photos closer to home. I’ve seen shots of Mount Taranaki taken from Baxter’s Knob near our house so that will be the next viewpoint target.