Christmas 2019/2020 - We headed back to New Zealand's South Island for our Photography Holiday..and to cover some of the amazing sights that we had missed on our previous trips..I just love New Zealand's coastline and mountains, and just love the fact that with a small traveling time you are looking at snow covered mountains to a rugged coastline with amazing views.It just offers some much, and most of the time your breath is taken away with the scenery.
This would be my 5th trip, and on this trip I wanted to see and experience the Franz Joseph Glacier, Wanaka and spend a few days exploring Christchurch (as normally fly in and out).We landed in Queenstown and spent a few days exploring and we took the TSS Earnslaw across Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak Farm and did the farm tour which was great and highly recommended. We also went up the Skyline Queenstown Gondola,450 metres above Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu to the top of Bob's Peak to amazing views of the township. We also toured through the Kiwi Birdlife park and managed to see some amazing wildlife.
QueensTown - South Island - New ZealandQueensTown - South Island - New Zealand
Next stop was traveling down to Invercargill ( the Bottom of the South Island ) to spend a few days exploring the area.
On the trip down to Invercargill we explored Arrowtown, Kingston, Lake Dunstan and Lumsden, and over the next few days headed over to
Bluff and Riverton as well as some of the local sights like the Classic MotorCycle Mecca and Automotive World.
Next we headed for Wanaka, where we had booked for a couple of days and we were eager to visit and get a glimpse of the Snow Capped Mountains.On the Road to Wanaka we stopped at the Clyde Township and Clyde Dam for some photo ops, then on to Cromwell to check out the Cromwell Heritage Precinct which did not disappoint, it was great to see all the old buildings and the heritage from the area.
Cromwell - Central Otago - SouthIsland NewZealandCromwell - Central Otago - SouthIsland NewZealand
Later that day we arrived in Wanaka and the amazing scenery of Lake Wanaka with the backdrop of the mountains behind. It was a warm day and the lake was filled with swimmers and speedboats etc which made for some amazing photos.Your eyes and focus were never far away from looking at the snow caped mountains.Over the next couple of days we explored the area and headed to the Transport and Toy Museum, Wanaka Lavender Farm and Puzzling World which was a test for the senses and great fun.We also set our sights on the Blue Pools Makarora along the Haast Pass, Mt Aspiring National Park which was a short walk to some amazing scenery.
The trip to the blue pools took a little longer, leaving Wanaka you have the views and amazing drive along the winding roads with mountains and blue waters of Lake Wanaka on the left, then shortly up the road you hit Lake Hawea on the right with equally breathtaking views and mountain landscapes.The road has many parking / viewing areas so allow some extra time..The best part about the trip was we had to travel back the same road later that day to get back to Wanaka..
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Wanaka SouthIsland NewZealandWanaka SouthIsland NewZealand
Next we headed for Franz Joseph Glacier, along the road we stopped at Cameron Flat, Roaring Billy Falls and Bryce Bay for some more photo ops..unfortunately the weather was not the best with low clouds and the smoke haze from the bushfires in Australia covering the mountains for what turned to be the next few days.Once we arrived in the township of Franz Joseph, the town was abuzz with activity and the mountain tips were poking through the clouds and our hopes were high of getting some great landscape shots.
We had booked a helicopter glacier landing for the next morning ( which was the highlight of our trip ) and we were hopeful of heading up the mountain.The next morning we checked in with the helicopter operator and were informed that the cloud and flying conditions were not going to allow any flights for that day..and we rescheduled to the following day.
Next on our list was Lake Matherson ( the world famous mirror lake ). We headed over and did the walk around Lake Matherson which was very scenic but again the low clouds were covering the views of Mt Cook and the other mountain ranges.
The next morning we headed back to the helicopter operator and was informed that the cloud and flying conditions had not changed and all flights were canceled for the day.
Not to worry, next on our list was the was the 1 & 1/2 hour Franz Joseph Glacier walk..This walk was great, and it was amazing to actually walk where the Glacier once was, and eventually after passing a few waterfalls and photo ops, we arrived to the Glacier viewing area.I was glad to have seen the glacier because all reports indicate that the Glacier is receding every year, and eventually will not be in view..
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FranzJoseph Glacier-Township- South Island New ZealandFranzJoseph Glacier-Township- South Island New Zealand
Our next destination was Greymouth, along the road we stopped at Ross Gold Mining Town and the West Coast Treetop walk before heading to Hokitika and Hokitika Gorge, which was an amazing walk, with some great photo opportunities. After a look around the beach and township of Hokitika we headed for Greymouth which was our base for the next couple of days.
The next morning we were up and out the door to beat the tourists to Pancake Rocks and Blowholes at Punakaiki, situated on the coastline. This walk is a must do and another amazing photo opportunity.After some some lunch at the cafe we then headed to explore the area and drove out to Coal Creek Waterfall, if you love your waterfalls as I do, then you will not be disappointed..We also visited the Brunner Mine and Rapahoe and discovered some of the amazing heritage from the area.
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Coal Creek WaterFall - South IslandCoal Creek WaterFall - South Island Our next destination was Christchurch, I had been waiting for this leg of the trip because we were heading through Arthurs Pass ( straight through the mountains) and I had heard that the scenery was amazing, and it was...Firstly we stopped at the Londonderry Rock Walk at Kumara before stopping at the Otira Stagecoach Hotel and Otira Viaduct along the road to Arthurs Pass Village, a small base for the day to explore the many walks and waterfalls in the area.With a short walk in any direction you found you self facing a waterfall. It was truly amazing, with the pinnacle being the long and steep walk up to Devils Punchbowl Falls..The uphill walk to the waterfall is very challenging and isn't for the unfit ( in my opinion ) but when you arrive, after just gaining your breath back, prepare to loose it again. The sound of the water falling from hundreds of metres above you and running under the small platform you are standing on is an experience
I will never forget..The township of Arthurs Pass Village is a must stop. Allow a few hours when traveling through to explore the many walks and sights in the area.
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Arthurs Pass - Southern Alps-SouthIsland New ZealandArthurs Pass - Southern Alps-SouthIsland New Zealand
On to Christchurch - I have been a Christchurch a few times but always just passed through and never spent any real time exploring the area and just seeing the devastation that was caused by the 6.2MW earthquake in 2011.Although the City has moved forward in leaps and bounds in recent years, it is still evident that the devastating earthquake took place almost 10 years ago.Christchurch is just such a lovely place, we spent all day in the city and traveling on the city loop tram, stopping at each point on the route to spend some time and take some photos.It was another bucket list item ticked off when we visited the 185 Empty White Chairs, an unofficial memorial for the 185 individuals who died in the 2011 Christchurch earthquake.
I strongly recommend taking the tram around the city and listening to the commentary from the tram driver along the route, as it is very explanatory and thorough. You come away from the experience with a lot of history and knowledge about Christchurch..
One last stop was Orana Wildlife Park. Ok, if you love heading to the Zoo for the day, then this is a must stop. The range of wildlife and the up close setup is a standout in my opinion..Orana Park is without a doubt one of the best wildlife parks I have ever attended, and on the top of the list for future visits.I strongly recommend the lion encounter. Its a one in a lifetime ride..
Christchurch - South Island New ZealandChristchurch - South Island New Zealand
Over the years we have travelled to New Zealand a few times and explored a vast area of the South Island, and a large portion of the North Island. Be sure to check out all our galleries from our other trips to Akaroa, Dunedin, Milford Sound, Napier, Taieri Gorge Railway and Wellington just name a few.
You can view all Galleries from following Link- Discover New Zealand