Sydney’s Bondi beach on a hot summer’s day, the Margaret River region outside Perth in Western Australia, a warm sunny day with gentle breezes around the harbour at Wellington: Australia and New Zealand in summer are renowned destinations for visitors from the UK and Europe, anxious to escape the long northern hemisphere winter.
Australia on a mild winter’s day is little different to an ordinary June day in England. Temperatures can climb to around 18-20 degrees centigrade in Sydney and warmer in Queensland’s capital, Brisbane. Further south, Melbourne will normally be colder.But the traveller in Australia and New Zealand in mid-winter gleans some wonderful sights, as these pictures by Independent group photographer Hannah Bills show. In winter especially, there is a clarity to the late-afternoon light, that is nature’s aid to photographers. It shines so vividly and brightly shortly before it dies that images are magnified, perhaps glorified.
Whether it is visitors photographed against the setting sun as they descend from Sydney Harbour Bridge or the winter flowers in bloom in Sydney’s Botanical Gardens, that wonderful natural area of plants and shrubs on the banks of the world famous harbour, the natural light seems to offer an intense illumination.
These shots taken on both north and south islands in New Zealand illustrate the natural beauty that is that country. Ducks are seen drifting effortlessly, in precise formation, across the lake at Christchurch’s Clearwater Resort against a backdrop of the setting sun. Intensely cold, mid-winter days in New Zealand, especially in the south island, often produce vivid blue skies to tempt the photographer.
In Christchurch, the Oxford of the southern hemisphere, the sunsets can be wondrous, dramatic; nature’s fireworks at the end of a day. But the blue skies of day time also offer dramatic backdrops for photos, as is seen with the sculpture of flowers which stands in Christchurch’s Cathedral Square.
In all these pictures, the natural beauty of these countries even in the middle of winter shines gloriously through. They may be unfamiliar images of the countries compared to summer scenes of Bondi surfers and holidaymakers out on boat trips. But the lack of visitors at this time of year in the southern hemisphere enhances the scenes of natural beauty to be found all over the antipodes.