Mount Cook National Park

Our visit to Mount Cook National Park was an unlucky one, as the weather changed dramatically from the previous day and Mount Cook was nowhere to be seen. Nevertheless, the views from the Hooker Valley Track and Tasman Glacier Walk were still breathtaking.

Here are some of my favourite images from a very cloudy day at Mount Cook.

The Church of the Good Shepherd

Following a visit to Arthur's Pass, we drove to Lake Tekapo, arriving just in time for sunset. As the sun sets on the opposite side of the lake in Autumn, we were left with a beautiful purple sky over The Church of the Good Shepherd. We also waited for nightfall to attempt some evening photographs, and although the skies clouded over, there were still quite a few stars to be seen.

Return to Arthur's Pass

After working with the kea at Willowbank Wildlife Reserve earlier this year, I had the chance to take a short roadtrip through some nearby locations in the South Island of New Zealand.

The first stop was a return visit to Arthur's Pass National Park, where we photographed the fantastic landscapes and encountered some wild kea.

Here are some of my favourite images of our day at Arthur's Pass.

There and Back Again: Hobbiton

The final stop on our North Island Roadtrip was Hobbiton, the movie set used in the Lord of the Rings trilogy (and subsequently in The Hobbit trilogy) directed by Peter Jackson.

As a huge Tolkien fan, this was something I was incredibly excited about. Walking through Hobbiton was a magical experience, taking me right back to the fantastical stories of Middle Earth. The tour (the only way to visit this location) was unfortunately very rushed and not particularly interesting (I didn't learn much), so I wish I could have visited of my own accord or at least had longer to walk through the scenery.

Even so, I did come out of it with some lovely photos.

Te Waihou Walkway

On the way back up from Tongaporutu, we stayed in Hamilton. We visited the Te Waihou Walkway. Never before had I seen such a brightly coloured green and blue landscape. The luscious forest, cut by the river with one of the purest waters in New Zealand, was a surreal sight.

The aerial images really showcase the beauty of this location which, understandably, is sacred to the Maori people.

Tongaporutu: Three Sisters and Elephant Rock

Tongaporutu was one of the highlights of our North Island roadtrip. Although Elephant Rock was destroyed prior to our visit, the rock formations were still absolutely spectacular.

We visited on two separate evenings for sunset, and the light was always soft and golden. It was surprising to have the beach all to ourselves on one occasion, suggesting this is a very underappreciated location in the North Island.

Here are only a few of my favourite images of this location, some of which were taken from a drone.

New Plymouth

New Plymouth is the home of the famous Mount Taranaki. On a clear day, it can be seen from most parts of the city. We decided to make the short hike up from Lake Mangamahoe, where we could photograph it from the land and air.

That evening, we also went to the Festival of Lights in Pukekura Park, which happens every Summer between December and February. It's a really lovely walk around the small park, which is completely transformed at night by all the colourful lights.

Wild Wairarapa

Cape Palliser is the home to a fantastic fur seal colony, besides its beautiful lighthouse. During our stay in Masterton, we spent an afternoon here with the seals. You can get really up close to them without stressing them, allowing for really great photo opportunities.

Here are some of my favourite images of these beautiful animals.

The Lighthouses of Wairarapa

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We drove down from Napier to the vinyard region of Wairarapa. We stayed from Masterton, from which we explored the neighbouring towns such as Greytown and Martinborough.

As most other vinyard regions, this was a place with fantastic landscapes and incredible food. It was a nice relaxing place to spend the New Years'.

One of the highlights of this region are the beaches and rugged coastline.

We visited two lighthouses in Wairarapa, Castlepoint Lighthouse and Cape Palliser. Here are my favourite images of these two locations, both from land and from air.

Pukaha Mount Bruce Wildlife Centre

The Pukaha Mount Bruce Wildlife Centre is located in the region of Wairarapa. It houses a wide range of native New Zealand birds, including the rare kokako and takahe. It was a lovely afternoon stop on a cloudy day.

Here are some images of the New Zealand fauna which can be seen at the sanctuary.

Gannets at Hawke's Bay

Cape Kidnappers is the largest terrestrial colony of Australasian gannets. Every winter, adult gannets flock here to mate. They raise a single chick every year, which fledges by the end of April. Surviving chicks embark on a long trip to Australia’s southern coasts, where they will mature into adults, before they return to their colony of origin. Only thirty percent of all chicks return each year.

We spent our first morning of 2018 here whilst staying in Napier. It was a fantastic way to see in a new year, right up close to these giants with 2 metre wingspans.

Te Mata Peak Sunsets

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Te Mata Peak is one of the landscape highlights of the Napier region. This was our next stop on our North Island roadtrip. We spent two sunsets at this location, which was truly spectacular and especially interesting for aerial photography.

Below are some of my favourite images from this location - I'll let the images speak for themselves!

Taupo: Maori Rocks and Waipunga Falls

The next morning following on from our visit to Huka Falls, we took a cruise to Lake Taupo, to see the Maori Rock Carvings by the water. The water was an amazing clear emerald colour, shining in the bright sunlight.

We then started making our way down to Napier, stopping by the Waipunga Falls on the way. These falls are just off a side road, with no signage, but really worth the visit.

Below are a few of my favourite images of these two locations.

Taupo: Huka Falls

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Having explored Rotorua, we made our way to Taupo. Taupo's main attraction is the Huka Falls, which drains Lake Taupo and joins it to the Waikato River.

The Huka Falls are one of the most visited attractions in New Zealand, so photographing around the huge number of tourists can be a bit challenging. Sadly it is also a no-drone area, allowing only photography from land.

Here are some of my favourite images from our visit to Huka Falls.

Hamurana Springs and Tarawera Falls

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Hamurana Springs was our final stop in Rotorua, following our visits to the Redwoods Treewalk, Kuirau Park, and geothermal attractions.

This walk through Maori-owned land is incredibly beautiful, and the waters are a surreal colour.

Our next stop was Tarawera Falls, halfway between Rotorua and Taupo. These falls are vastly underrated by travel guides and are a must see in the North Island.

We spent several hours there, photographing and flying our drone through this fantastic landscape. It is by far one of the most incredible waterfalls I have ever seen.

Below are some of my favourite images of both these locations.

A Geothermal Wonderland

Rotorua is a magical place. During our time there we visited several geothermal activity areas.

The most famous of them was the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, which is considered one of the most surreal places in the world. One of its highlights is the Champagne Pool (pictured on the right).

We also visited Te Puia, which is a collection of several active geysers, and the Waimangu Volcanic Rift Valley, a 2-hour downhill walk (longer if you'd like to stop along the way for photos!) through stunning landscapes to a lake at the bottom of the hill.

Here are a few of my favourite images of the geothermal wonders of Rotorua. Enjoy!

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Kuirau Park

Rotorua was the first stop on our North Island Roadtrip. Although the whole city is spectacular and surrounded by incredible sites of geothermal activity, there was one place that stood out as being vastly underrated.

Kuirau Park lies at the heart of the city, and offers incredible photographic opportunities less than a 10 minute drive from anywhere in central Rotorua.

Unusually for Rotorua, this is an area over which drones can be flown. The aerial view of the park is nothing short of spectacular.

Below are some of my favourite images from this location. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

Rotorua: Redwoods Treewalk

Ever since moving to New Zealand from England, I have been waiting for the opportunity to explore all the beautiful landscapes this country has to offer. Last month, I finally had the chance to go on a fantastic roadtrip around the North Island with my partner.

Our first stop on our 17-day journey was the breathtaking Rotorua. In this post, I share my favourite photos of our visits to Redwoods Treewalk, a fantastic forest of tall and proud Sequoia sempervirens trees, originally from California.

Enjoy!

Muriwai Beach

A few weeks ago, we visited the Gannet Colony at Muriwai Beach. Only a short drive from Auckland, it's a great weekend trip to see wildlife and experience some of the most breathtaking beach landscapes the North Island has to offer.

Below are my favourite images from the day - enjoy!