Postcards from the South Island

Postcards from the South Island

Above: Lake Pukaki

‘There are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds.’ – Gilbert K. Chesterton.

So, after my brief diversion the other day to write a little about anxiety (I have been feeling a lot better for these past few days), it’s now back to the regular (kind of) scheduled posts!!

Despite the anxiety I’ve been experiencing, I have been having some good times on the South Island so far, and I’ve been loving some of the excellent photo opportunities I’ve had so far in particular. I’ve been really excited to finally experience some moody weather down here – I’ve always been extremely lucky with the weather when travelling around New Zealand but all these clouds have provided me with some amazing photographs that I just couldn’t wait to share! And since the last two posts have been photograph free, I think it’s about time I inundated you with pictures again, otherwise you might start thinking I’ve given up the hobby.

So far I have been to Mt Cook, Queenstown and I am currently in Wanaka, my favourite place in New Zealand. After Wanaka, I am heading up the West Coast to visit the glaciers and then over Lewis Pass for a night in Hanmer Springs before I go to Kaikoura to spend my last night on the South Island with friends. The photos below are from the first six days of my road trip. I hope you enjoy them!

Mackenzie High Country and Mt Cook
I’ve been to Mt Cook National Park a couple of times before, once when it was really sunny and I got first time lucky and saw Aoraki / Mt Cook in all it’s glory and another time when it was snowing, I was ill and I didn’t leave the hostel. This third time, I had amazing moody weather with lots of low hanging clouds shrouding the tops of the mountains, making the whole place seem mysterious and full of secrets. This type of weather makes for some great photo opportunities – I loved trying to capture the atmosphere whilst I was hiking up to the Tasman Glacier look out and on the drive into the national park. Here are some of the results…

Above: Mackenzie High Country


Above: the road to Tasman Glacier


Above: reflections at Blue Pools, Tasman Glacier


Above: Tasman Glacier from viewpoint


Above: Novara Peak


Above: looking back up the valley towards Lake Pukaki

Crown Range Scenic Drive (Queenstown to Wanaka)
The last time I drove this road, I had glorious sunshine and I only stopped once at the first scenic viewpoint before carrying on my way to Wanaka. This time around, the clouds were cooperating once again and I stopped a few times, trying to capture the ever changing cloud formations and watching the planes coming in to land at Queenstown Airport. Reasonably sized jet planes were dwarfed by the surrounding mountains and the massive clouds and I was definitely glad I wasn’t flying into Queenstown again – once was enough!

Above: from the top of Crown Range, looking back down the valley towards Queenstown
Above: cars crawling up the hill towards the first viewpoint


Above: grass and clouds


Above: low cloud over hills on the Crown Range Scenic Road


Above: An Air New Zealand flight coming into land at Queenstown Airport, dwarfed by its surroundings!!

Lake Hawea
I’d never been here before and it was pure fluke that I ended up there this time around. Thanks to the hostels being all booked out in Wanaka,* came up with a hostel on the shores of Lake Hawea and I decided to stay. It turned out perfectly – Lake Hawea is the next door neighbour to Lake Wanaka and the water is crystal clear and very blue. The sun was shining and although this meant there was a distinct lack of clouds, there were heaps of wild flowers still out, so I took shots of them instead. I got eaten alive by sandflies but it hasn’t diminished my new found love for this lake and it’s stunning surroundings!

Above: wild flowers with the Southern Alps in the distance and Lake Hawea behind


Above: on the shores of Lake Hawea


Above: this is where the sandflies got me… And it was pure luck that the butterfly and bee both landed there just at that moment!!

Wanaka (specifically that most famous of trees… #thatwanakatree)
Of course I have other photos that I will share from my time in Wanaka. But to be honest, I want to keep most of them back to use in another blog post I have planned for the near future, so here is just a sneaky peek at what I’ve been photographing…

Above: the most famous tree in the world?? This is my first attempt at photographing this tree and I have a few shots I’m happy with, this being one of them. What do you think?

As you can see, one of my aims for this trip – to take lots of photographs – is being fully met. I am really enjoying photographing these landscapes for the first time with my DSLR and can’t wait to get more photos soon from the West Coast and beyond. The South Island really is beautiful and these stunning landscapes have helped to lift my mood in the past couple of days. I’m hopeful that my anxieties and worries won’t return so strongly for a while now and I can do the rest of my road trip in as carefree a manner as I can manage!

*If you’re thinking of going away on holiday or for a short break, why not book your accommodation through too? I have used them extensively for many years now and have been consistently happy with their service – any accommodation booked through their website has always been top notch and has met my needs at the time. With a range of accommodations to suit all budgets and styles of travel, you can’t go far wrong! Why not check them out – click on the advertising banner on the right hand side of my page to make your booking and as an affiliate to, I’ll get a little percentage of the price you pay for your accommodation, at no extra cost to you. Win win!!

One thought on “Postcards from the South Island

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *