Jaw droppingly beautiful and land of epic adventures, New Zealand should be on your bucket list
It’s been a few years now since my trip to the South Island of New Zealand but it’s a place that will always remain fresh in my mind. It was everything I could have ever hoped for and more as not only a photographer but a traveller with fairly high expectations now. I’d of course seen the photos and heard from others about what it was like but it’s a country like no other and difficult for words or photos to capture those feelings as you stand on top of a glacier or sit above the clouds in a hot air balloon and look at scenery you swear was out of a movie.
Appropriately at that particular part in my trip I was actually looking down at a scene from many many movies. It’s no wonder they want to film there.
There’s one of the best road trips in the world, adventure sports for those that need a little kick in their travel and landscapes that will take your breath away. The kind of landscapes that have Hollywood movie producers clamouring to shoot their films. No editing required, this place is incredible. I spent three weeks trekking the South Island, camping my way around and discovering places and people you won’t find with a Google search. At least not yet.
It’s one of the greatest, most incredible countries in the world.
There are only a few places on earth I’ve found it difficult to express how incredible it actually was in both written word and photos but New Zealand is one of them. As I look over the photos I remember that I just never felt I could capture what I was feeling at the time looking out over Akaroa as the sun rose or waking up on the beach in the Abel Tasman National Park. For such a small country it would take an age to experience it all. The people are as friendly as you’ll ever meet – with the requisite friendly banter with us Aussies thrown into the mix of course. There were fascinating animals that popped up from time to time and while not as frequent as you’d see in my home country Australia, they were just as incredible. Except the sand flies. Good God those things loved me.
There are times you really do have to sit back and wonder if it actually happened at all. I remember walking towards a waterfall and in the 10 minutes it took me to get there I had time to think about the previous hour or two spent with wild seals as they tried to position themselves to scrape out one last little bit of sunlight from the gloomy day. I was grinning ear to ear when I got to the base of the waterfall and while I’d done a little research on this place I wasn’t holding out much hope of seeing what others had been lucky to see. This was supposedly a place where the wild seals would go to swim and play underneath the falls and unfortunately I’d come at a time during the year they didn’t visit often. I don’t know who I made happy up there but when I arrived there were about a half dozen baby seals splashing their way up and down the enormous waterfall.
At the time I wasn’t sure whether I should try and get closer or stay back so they wouldn’t know I was there and take some photos from a distance. I decided to try and have the best of both worlds so got my camera out and took some snaps from that spot. I spent the next few hours getting closer without every being close enough to touch or have them frightened of me. They began to be aware of someone watching but they were perfectly content and that made me happy. They would occasionally swim right up close to me to get a better look but would then dart away and continue their time splashing around. I spent hours watching and smiling with them and didn’t come across another human being in all that time. This was something I could never have experienced in any other country in the world. So isolated and so wild, this is why I love New Zealand.