So I finally finished off my New Zealand travel series on my Vlog. Sounds like a useless fact, but it is a pretty big achievement for me considering how much has been going in my life this year. There’s no denying the fact that New Zealand makes my top 5 favorite countries to visit list. Not because it is necessarily the most beautiful or the friendliest (it prob is), but because my experiences traveling through the country have been nothing short of amazing.
Anyway I’m quite proud of finishing these set of Vlogs so I’m going to take the liberty of sharing my 13 favorite images of New Zealand (interestingly all from my trip to New Zealand last November). I’ll let you guys indulge me one more time 🙂
On our very first day in New Zealand we made the drive from Christchurch to the Mount Cook National Park. Along the way are some of my favorite landscape photography locations in all of New Zealand: Lake Tekapo, Burke’s Pass, Lake Pukaki,, Peter’s Lookout, and many other places. There are so many places to stop and take amazing pictures that you will never make it to your destination. This brings me to my favorite image from that segment of the trip.
After arriving and finding the visitor’s center closed (go figure we made way too many stops), we decided to make a run for it toward Tasman Lake for a sunset shootout. The light and clouds at the lake were nothing short of spectacular.
We spent the night at the Whitehorse Hill Campground under the shadow of Mount Cook. We got to the campsite so late that we were scrambling through the dark to set up the tents before the elements got to uncontrollable (mainly the wind). In the end I was happy to crawl into the sleeping bag that night so I didn’t get a chance to photograph a single thing until the following morning:
Just before dawn, we somehow managed to crawl out of our sleeping bags and into the crispy cold morning, we realized just how late we were in heading out for our morning photography shoot. We sprinted to the car and bee lined it to the shores of Tasman Lake. What we saw was drop dead gorgeous!
After spending the greater part of the morning soaking in the views at Lake Tasman, we went on one of the most accessible and magnificent day hikes I’ve ever been on: the Hooker Valley Track at the foot of Mt Cook. The track meanders through the valley over suspension bridges, rivers, and hills. At each turn there is an even better view of Mt Cook and the Southern Alps. It is certainly a trail for the entire family and no one should miss it on a trip to New Zealand.
It was almost 6 in the evening by the time we came back to our car. And since the way up to Mueller Hut wasn’t open due to a few recent avalanches, we decided to head to Queenstown for the night. We ended up spending the night at the Rees Queenstown where the apartment was luxurious, but the internet was awful. The following morning we drove across the South Island to Fiordland National Park on the West Coast of New Zealand. This is easily one of my favorite drives in all of New Zealand. The hour was late and the weather became damp when we arrived at the park. We ultimately claimed the best campsite in the entire park, built a fire, and enjoyed a nice break from the storm.
The following day we finally made it to Milford Sound. The view of Mitre Peak from near the parking lot and docks is something that never gets old. There’s a reason why this is considered the iconic scene in all of New Zealand.
Our day out on Milford Sound was nothing short of epic: we drank from a waterfall, saw some penguins, kayaked through the fjords, and my brother even fell straight into Milford Sound (brrr! It was cold). The day of course ended once again at the shores of the sound where the last rays of the sun lit up Bowen Falls.
Well go figure at this point, the heavens opened up and it started to rain on us at this point. This didn’t prevent us from making one last stop before leaving the beautiful Fiordland National Park. This time it was at a place that was so hard to photograph in one shot that a man we saw decided to nominate himself for a Darwin Award. Let me just say that my heart was in my mouth the entire time he was there.
It was pretty much raining throughout the next 24 hours as we drove from Milford Sound to Te Anau (night halt) to Queenstown. It was quite damp and chilly in Queenstown when we arrived so we proceeded to lose Escape the Room Queenstown edition no less than 3 times 🙂 Luckily the storm had lifted by the time we had finished playing to raise our spirits. We somehow managed to make it to Glenorchy in time for the last glow of the day. We didn’t find the willows of Glenorchy in time, but we were lucky to be at the right spot to catch this incredible alpenglow on the Southern Alps.
Image #10: Ephemeral Glow in Glenorchy (VIDEO LINK HERE)
For the last two days of our trip we were based in Queenstown. After resting and recuperating for the greater part of the day, we made our way to Wanaka in hopes of photographing the infamous tree. Luckily our hopes were dashed when we saw a horde of tourists and photographers at the site and made our way to a secluded woodland trail. Despite the epic nature of the landscapes we hiked through on this trip, nothing came close to the experience of walking through the woodlands of Motatapu (what I like to call Fangorn) all alone. It was also a bit eerie to be honest. I almost expected a Black Rider to come upon us at any moment 🙂
We were supposed to have done the hike to Roy’s Peak near Wanaka the following morning, but we once again work and sleep got the better of us. After that it was a brief Lord of the Rings Marathon on television that we just couldn’t miss. You just have to binge Lord of the Rings while in Middle Earth. Inspired by LOTR, we drove straight to Isengard where we planned on hiking the Routeburn Track. We didn’t get far in the end because we came upon this scene, which transformed itself into one of my all time favorite images.
On the last day, we had to make the approximately 500km journey back to Christchurch from Queenstown. It also happened to be the rainiest and wettest of all the days in New Zealand. I guess we had to hit the rain one day or another. However, our luck hadn’t betrayed us as of yet and we found ourselves with some ridiculous midday light rays streaming through the storm clouds. We took a quick detour down this road near Twizel, which led us to the beautiful and windy Lake Ohau. It was here that I finally came upon some lupine flowers lined up next to a lake and the mountains. This quite easily one of my favorite images from New Zealand.
And that’s it, before we knew it our time in Middle Earth was over. I got one last glimpse of New Zealand and the Southern Alps on my morning flight departing Christchurch and all I could feel as I flew away over the Tasman Sea were pangs of nostalgia. You can watch that final road trip and the views out the window upon departing CHC below.
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Oh boy am I going to miss New Zealand! I’ve already started plotting my return to this beautiful nation. Have you been to New Zealand? Are you planning to go? What’s a place you have an eye on?