My time in New Zealand was to be short and sweet, the trip itself was initially for a wedding booking. Around said wedding I was hoping to drive around the South Island and explore one of my favourite bits of the world - how can you pass on visiting the beautiful Mt Cook!
A big thanks to Maui Motorhomes for keeping me warm the entire trip!
The big day was to be held in Queenstown on the Wednesday, so I had planned to fly into the South Island directly from Melbourne and begin my mini adventure that Sunday - there I would meet my travel companion for the next few days. A local photography, a talented friend by the name of Josh
I personally love a good camp site, bon fire and winter weather combo - but with my first ever international booking that week I was hoping to keep clean and stay out of those conditions - no use being ill on a big gig - thankfully Motorhome was fully equipped with a two bed, full dining RV experience for our week long trip ; of course, I claimed top bed which was above the driver and which I named “top bunk”
Day 1 - Milford Sound
As I arrived, we immediately stocked up on soup, bread, salads and way too many bottles of Soda Water - fuelled up and made our way to Milford Sound. The last time I visited that part of NZ was via small plane, I totally forgot how long it would take us to arrive after departure - we spent the last few minutes of our drive through the region in darkness - missing the beauty of the now covered regions and the mid winter sunsets. We decided make camp at Milford Sound Lodge, parking on site was a little challenge but we managed - minutes later we set up our tripods and watched the stars brighten up Bowen Falls & the surrounding peaks. An experience that ill never forget, we called it a night and planned to catch the sunrise which was in the next 6hours - adding another experience never to be forgotten. Doing a full 360 from a bright star filled night sky to a cold, foggy sunrise.
Day 2 - Lake Marian
The day continued on, we decided to tackle the Lake Marian track immediately after our morning at Milford Sound - parking the truck and hitting the track within seconds, we were to reach the very top within 3hours with minor drink stops. Personally Ive only done beginner hike trails, mostly easily straight roads or pebble tracks, the Lake Marian was on another level - moments I thought to myself that I may have been a modern day Tarzan, climbing from tree branches to gripping onto rock walls just to continue onto our path. Not to sound like a paid plug, but I was lucky enough to have had Merrel send me a pair of their amazing boots (pictured below)
Beautiful rainforest moments, open field views with the slight hair raising sounds of avalanches into the distance, we finally make it to the top within the three hour time frame. Instantly in awe, a lake within a mountain peak - I remember flying over this region thinking imagine swimming inside that. Spending a good hour photographing, walking around and of course enjoying the moment - we make our way down, meeting other tourists on their climb
Funny story*** we kind of got lost on our way down, every few minutes there would be a little orange triangle on a tree so that you could follow the path up or down. Well, we lost said orange triangle and managed to walk minutes into the unknown…..
Oh and on our way back to civilization, we made a quick stop by Queenstown for some of the best burgers in NZ - FERGBURGER! that went down well
Day 3 - Wanaka
The next morning was to be my favourite day, I had been planning to finally climb Roys Peak - for many years I have fallen involve with Wanaka as a whole, but Roys Peak has a special spot for me. The very first time I had been in town, we had no access to the climb due to weather, and of course once again due to strong winds and rain the climb had to be cancelled once again - we made up for lost time by driving towards the Blue Pools as suggested by Josh who spoke highly of the drive towards the Fox Glacier region - with time to spare, we enjoyed a few minutes with the infamous Wanaka tree. Camping that night was a fun one, astro shooting was perfect but a strong wind meant we spent our night being rocked to sleep
Day 4 - Queenstown Wedding
My first international wedding, something I have always wanted to tick off in my career - a goal I have been working towards. A full day spent documenting an amazing day in Queenstown and Make Lake. A full day of work, we decided to camp between Queenstown and Mt Cook - early morning starts are my middle name
Heres to more international weddings! thanks for having me Adam + Madison
*full wedding gallery to be on www.aleksandarjasonweddings.com
Day 5 - Mt Cook
Many say that the Aoraki/Mt Cook region Is well known for its diverse and unique weather patterns - Josh himself had advised me that Mt Cook has its own weather due to its size. We had our fingers crossed the night before as we had a booking for a morning scenic flight over the region, and of course as usual luck and natures choice - we had a cancellation. Thankfully we decided to spend our day hiking It to the glacier point, witnessing one of the most amazing sunsets with the storm passing by we were blessed with a pink sky and a early moon. Everyone love that photo of Mt Cook from the entrance point, the usual road leading you to your destination point of view - again, weather just didnt allow me to get what i dreamt off
Along the trip to Mt Cook we were joined by our new friends, Aussie couple from the Blue Mountains (@liamfoster & @bahlexis) who happened to have been camping in the area!
The last time I visited Aoraki/Mt Cook it was completely covered in snow and ice - a blizzard had hit that time, and this time round it was wet and gloomy for the entire morning. And as mentioned, by the end of the day of our walk back it was blue skies….maybe next time NZ, ill get a sunny day
PS if you ever drive to Mt Cook, make sure to visit Twizel - they make the best Waffle Fries!!!
Day 6 - Lindis Pass + Home Time
Our final day in New Zealand was a long drive back to Queenstown for a 6PM flight to Melbourne. Camped at Lake Pukkaki - we decided to visit Lindis Pass and Arrowtown as our pit stops - a frosty morning made it a foggy experience and a slight snow cover across Lindis Pass, silent as ever we were thrilled to have the entire space to ourselves. Watching the low lying clouds just pass on through. Heading towards Arrowtown, Im never a fan of the Gorge region in between but music and good conversation can make things a lot easier - arriving into Arrowtown just in time for lunch, we visit the well known police station, enjoy some of the best coffee NZ had to offer and headed on to our final stop - Queenstown
Dropping off the RV was a blast, the team behind the counter made it so easy to drop off and head straight to the airport for my flight home - couldn’t wait to see the wifey and the fur son!
And a big thanks to my passenger amigo, Josh! thanks for the long converations and long nights