New Zealand is a country like no other and offers world class scenery, welcoming locals and fantastic cuisine. It's a place where you can hike all day without seeing a single soul, experience adrenaline inducing and sports-like bungee jumping and skydiving, and climb pristine snow-capped mountains from the Lord of the Rings.
As one of my journeys to find inspiration for my artworks, I would love to share these photos that will definitely make you add New Zealand to the top of your to-do list. Even though I took on whatever whacky adventure I could conjure up during my two and a bit weeks, I really only scratched the surface of what New Zealand had to offer.
With the population of New Zealand sitting at about 3 million, you are never too far away from a quiet and secluded lookout where you can watch the sunset or sunrise. While en route to our campsite outside of Queenstown, we had stopped beside the lake for a quick stretch when we saw the crimson in the sky.
Buying a car to travel around New Zealand was both the best and worst thing about the trip. Petrol can be extremely expensive and scarce in many parts of New Zealand, because of it's remote location, but having a car meant we could travel and experience everything in our own time and at our own pace. The day I was most glad for owning my car was the first morning I watched the sunrise as I drove along an empty highway.
However, you don't need the sun to be out to enjoy your morning in New Zealand. The morning fog we encountered while hiking through Fiordland National Park one morning was one of the most intriguing things I have seen to in my life. Although the fog appeared to be at a standstill and hovering above the ladscape, further investigation revealed the fog to be a fast moving body that shifts along the accents of the landscape and reveals different parts of the landscape bit by bit, but never revealing all at once (until the fog disappears of course).
One of the most enjoyable hikes we did was in Wanaka. There was no altitude acclimation to worry about, nor was the temperature unbearably cold. After a steep ascent at the start of the trail, which took us up to sweeping fields of long grass, we were rewarded with the most spectacular view of Wanaka. The only hurdle we faced was dodging the sheep poop that was everywhere. Sitting on a cliff overlooking Lake Wanaka was as much rewarding as it was relaxing. It'd be wrong to visit Wanaka and not get some relaxation in.
Anyone who know's a bit about New Zealand would know that the Kiwi's have a strong mountaineering tradition. With an extremely mountainous terrain through the north and south islands, the Maori's had become adept to mountainerring long before western colonisation. New Zealand has also spawned many great mountaineers in modern times, one of the most famous was Sir Edmund Hilary, who was the first person to climb Mt. Everest. Prior to his Everest attempt, he would regularly use Mt. Cook as his training ground, so it was only fitting for a budding wannabe mountaineer to visit Mt. Cook.
And so should you - click the link under the below photograph for more information on flights, accommodation and much more on this inspiring country.
Written by Sydney based photographer Andy Miao