Views from the South Island of New Zealand

Have you ever been out in nature and just felt a sense of magic?
An otherworldly, deep sense that you were some place very special...
During our Christmas adventure to New Zealand we went on a 4 day road trip, or as the Kiwis call it, a tiki trip. We went from east coast to west coast and saw an incredible variety of breath-taking landscapes. Most of our unforgettable views in New Zealand came from hikes. 

Mt Sunday was our first hike and our first glimpse of the splendor this country offers. This trail was a quick but brief climb up a rocky butte. It was the filming location for Eldoras in the Lord of the Rings movies. 

On our way back from Mt Sunday we stumbled upon this incredible turquoise gorge and couldn't resist a spontaneous swim. The color of the bodies of water was so beautiful due to glacier run off. 
Lake Tekapo was bursting with wildflowers.
The Hooker Valley trail gave us a taste of Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park by way of suspension bridges, roaring rivers, and glaciers hosted by the towering cliff sides. 
We climbed 70 flights of stairs on the nearby Blue Lakes trail, for the most incredible view. It was a misty and cloudy day, which added to the magic of the place. 
We made a pitstop in beautiful Wanaka, which had amazingly warm and clear waters, to see one of the most photographed trees in the world. 
As we worked our way towards the West Coast, the landscape turned more tropical. Deeply forested green hillsides were peppered with glowing red trees, Pohutukawa or "The New Zealand Christmas Tree", which only flowers in December. We hiked through the jungle and marveled at the juxtaposition of tropical trees and the ancient ice of Franz Josef Glacier. 
Another stop along the road was Pancake Rocks, where we marveled at the strange geology of these ancient stacks.
 We stumbled upon this creek crowded with uncountable manmade rock towers. 
We played sardines among the towering rocks and boulders at Castle Hill. Scenes from both The Chronicles of Narnia and Lord of the Rings were filmed here. 
If you ever get a chance to visit New Zealand, do not miss it. And make sure you enjoy a tiki trip! 


  1. Such a beautiful place. I love your blog and description of reach picture.

  2. It's so beautiful there! Love that tree - I can see why it's a popular one to photograph!

  3. Wow, sounds like a good workout going up 70 flights of stairs but it looks like the scenery was worth it!

  4. Oh my word, those landscapes are stunning. What a beautiful trip!

  5. The color of that water is absolutely stunning - What a gorgeous place!

  6. SO SO beautiful! I love the picture of the creek winding it's way through the rocky cliffs.

  7. Just gorgeous! What a treat to see such a beautiful spot on earth.

  8. Amazing place. Looks like perfect for mountain biking. I will try to visit next year along with my wife Jina.


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