Waaay back in 2013 I went to New Zealand for a week to explore.  Predictably I ended up falling in love with the place and really can’t wait to go back (planning my return for January in fact now that American Airlines flies there).

My trip in 2013 was magical and wonderful in many ways (you can read about it on my Trip Reports page) so I thought I’d share five of my favorite pictures I took from that epic trip.

Lake Ruataniwha – South Island

a lake with trees and mountains in the background

The South Island features some amazingly blue-colored lakes.  Due to the glacial sediment in the area almost all of the lakes in the southern and central part of the South Island (around Mount Cook) have this other-worldly light blue color to them.  Apparently the sediment is simply reflecting the color of the sky, which is why it’s so blue.  Anyway, on your drive from Queenstown to Christchurch you’ll pass a massively blue lake called Lake Pukaki, from which you can see Mount Cook, but just before that you’ll see the glass-like finish of Lake Ruataniwha.

Huka Falls – Taupo

a river running through a forest

Huka Falls are a series of waterfalls that drain Lake Taupo on the North Island.  Since the river that feeds the falls (the Waikato River) narrows so drastically before the falls, the falls are MASSIVE.  They are by far the most voluminous falls in all of New Zealand, in fact.  I love the color of the water against the green of the foliage surrounding the falls in this picture.

The Crown Range Road – Otago

a landscape of a valley with mountains and blue sky

The Crown Range Road runs from Queenstown to Wanaka on the South Island.  The road runs directly over a mountain range (yes, called the Crown Range) and is absolutely fabulous to drive.  In the winter it closes due to snow and ice but if it’s open when you’re around, I highly recommend it.  There are absurdly nice views over the surrounding Otago countryside.

A Random Plant – Queenstown

a tree with pink flowers next to a body of water

When I was in Queenstown, one of my favorite places on earth, I took a walk around to spot some nature.  As I was there in Spring, many of the flowers were in bloom.  This random plant in particular really bloomed me right in the face and set itself apart nicely against the vibrant greens and blues of the day.

Stirling Falls – Milford Sound

a waterfall in the water

Milford Sound is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever experienced.  You can take a boat around the Sound, which is exactly what I did, and on that tour (which is worth the money) they will drive you right up to Stirling Falls.  If you’re out on the deck of the boat, like I was, everything about you will get soaked in water, including your camera.  But once I saw the type of photo I might be able to get, I decided to risk the camera and get the shot.  Until recently this has been one of my favorite photos of all time.

If you’ve been to New Zealand, which area is your favorite?  Which of these pictures do you like the most?

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