(650) 703-6607

New Zealand



In all honesty, I had little interest in visiting either of New Zealand's two major islands. Given their limited cultural and architectural allure, I considered them both to be bland and uninteresting places. As a result, I allotted just a week for this trip; all to be spent on the South Island. Upon arrival however, I quickly discovered I was in for a glorious surprise.

Landing in Christchurch, I was instantly mesmerized by this grand old city. With it's Tudor architecture, it's perfectly manicured gardens and esthetic colleges; it is often considered to be the most English town outside of England. Throw in the old fashioned telephone booths and you could just as easily be strolling through Hyde Park.

From Christchurch, I headed inland toward Queenstown and what is known as the Southern Alps. This journey took me through some spectacular countryside, especially the area around Tekapo and Wanaka Lakes. For photographers, Lake Tekapo's most notable site is the small (stone?) church at the water's edge. I was fortunate to arrive the day before full moon. As a result, the sun was still shining from the West as the moon made it's ascent. This provided me with the optimum lighting for a soft lunar image.

Further South, I came upon the lovely rolling hills of Rippon Vineyard. They were perched on the side of Lake Wanaka, a deep blue body of water with a beautiful island in the middle. The combination of vineyard and lake with island backdrop provided another excellent photo opportunity. 

Between these lakes and Queenstown I encountered numerous pastoral scenes. The magnificent mountain ranges were perfectly offset by lush green valleys filled with immense flocks of sheep. Thanks to the hospitality of one of the ranchers, I was able to observe and photograph the shearing of these animals on one of the large working farms.

Now my only regret is that I allotted but one week for the experience. But this mistake taught me a valuable lesson: don't let your preconceptions limit your opportunities.