Panoramic New Zealand – The South Island

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It’s no secret. New Zealand is a beautiful country.
Having both been born here and living here all our lives, I am ashamed to say it was only recently, at 27 and 30, that we travelled to the South Island of our home country.
Yes, after travelling all over the world and seeing about 33 countries, only now do we see our own.

I think this is typical of many people in their home country. As it is always there and you will get around to it, eventually.

Well, we finally did. A road trip in our self-built campervan took us 2038km from our home in Masterton (North Island) to Milford Sound and back. Armed with shiny new camera equipment, here were our favourite places of the South Island (well, they all were, especially knowing that this is where we call home!)

The South Island deserves panoramic photography as there’s so much to see. Here are some of our best panoramic shots.


Kaikoura from the air

Flying drone over the Kaikoura peninsula showed us just how beautiful it is.


Lake Tekapo being a mirror

Tekapo is a tourist hotspot. The famous Church of the Good Shephard and the beautiful lake draw people in. Travelling in early October, the crowds were less than peak season, so it was easier to enjoy the beauty. Take the $8 road up to the Mt John observatory for some more amazing views.

Mt Cook

Looking at Mt Cook over Lake Pukaki

After the beauty of Lake Tekapo comes Lake Pukaki. On a calm day, this lake reflects my favourite mountain, Mount Cook. With a free place to park the campervan overnight, you can wake up to an amazing sunrise over the lake.

Mt Cook at Sunrise

After a beautiful early morning sunrise, time to enjoy a 4-hour (return) walk to Hooker Glacier. Hooker lake at the foot of the glacier was Jacobs proposal site. It is very easy to make this walk a full day walk as you get absorbed by the constant scenery.

The walk to Hooker Glacier

You can also camp at the base of Mt Sealy and Mt Sefton, and depending on the time of year and the weather, you can get an amazing nighttime view.

Mt Sealy and Mt Sefton at night

Lindis Pass

Lindis Pass

For a completely different looking terrain, Lindis pass is a beautiful drive that feels like the Scotish Highlands.

Isthmus Peak

For a real challenge, we climbed up Isthmus peak. We didn’t think that we would bother to get to the top, we allowed about 5 hours to go up as far as the views were good and then back. Little did we know you have to get the very very top to be able to see both lakes. Which is definitely the better view. So after 9 hours, no lunch and having run out of water we returned to the camper absolutely knackered. A much needed close place to sleep in our camper and showers were welcomed.

Looking out to Lake Hawea from the walk up Isthmus peak

Looking at Lake Wanaka from Isthmus Peak

Milford Sound

Talk about places that feel out of this world. Milford Sound fits the bill!

No trip to the South Island is complete without seeing the alpine parrot, the Kea

There is so much to see here, its kind of good there is only one road in and out, it means you can stop along the way without veering too far from the road.

We had the pleasure of having it snow on us for our three days here. We stayed at a campsite along the road to Milford Sound where the weather could be quite different to when you went through the Homer Tunnel to Milford Sound.
It was very cold overnight with ice all over the car. The insulation in our van was no match for snow and ice.

Towering Mountains dominate the drive to Milford Sound

On our last day, we woke up at 5 am to drive to Milford sound for sunrise. The car was so caked in ice it took us a good 15 minutes to defrost! Well worth it though.

Sunrise Milford Sound

These are only some of the many many photos that were taken. Keep an eye out for more posts about our beautiful home country in the future.

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