Hell’s Gate inspires Mazenod student to capture award-winning shot

Fionn Holyoak-Roberts photo Hell's Gate.
Fionn Holyoak-Roberts photo Hell's Gate.

WHEN Fionn Holyoak-Roberts visited the Hell’s Gate geothermal park in Rotorua in New Zealand on a family holiday, his main focus was trying out the mud baths.

“We walked along a trail that passed a boiling waterfall and between bubbling pools that reeked of sulphur,” he said.

“After a short walk, we reached the largest pool of boiling mud, which threw an endless cloud of steam into the air.

“I was drawn to a small stream that shimmered in the sunlight.

“Surrounded by the ominous circle of pine trees, it was like I was standing at Hell’s gate for real.”

After taking a few photos, he hurried to catch up to the family and get to the highly anticipated mud baths.

Fionn Holyoak-Roberts receiving his award for runner up Australian Geographic Junior Nature Photographer of the Year.

Fast forward a few months and that photo Fionn took on the family holiday titled Hell’s Gate was published in Australian Geographic magazine and saw the Year 12 Mazenod student named runner-up Australian Geographic Junior Nature Photographer of the Year.

“It felt surreal,” he said.

“To have had two of my photos shortlisted was exciting enough.

“The hardest thing to comprehend was having all these photographers, many of whom I have admired for years, all looking up at my photo on the screen, and they even knew my name.”

Fionn said he would continue to explore photography in the future.

“There are so many stories to tell and places to visit,” he said.

“There’s no better feeling than being immersed in a beautiful landscape and being able to capture the moment at just the right time, even if it’s not award winning”.