Lupins by Lake Tekapo

Lupin flowers in front of a lake with snow capped mountains in the background.

Between November and February lupins bloom across the central South Island of New Zealand. This was my first time capturing them on the banks of Lake Tekapo. This rainbow palette of flowers attracts thousands of tourists to the area. It is said this was thanks to a farmer’s wide who thought the region could do with a bit more colour. Sadly these wildflowers are an invasive weed that has a negative effect on native plants, birds and other wildlife. I first remember seeing them growing on the side of Milford Road. In some areas there are thousands of these flowers carpeting the landscape.

TSS Earnslaw steamer

TSS Earnslaw steamer

One of the oldest tourist attractions in the South Island is TSS Earnslaw. It’s a 1912 Edwardian twin screw steamer based on Lake Wakatipu. Seen here sailing past the Queenstown Gardens towards the town centre. This is the only remaining commercial passenger-carrying coal-fired steamship in the southern hemisphere. It’s one of a couple of boat trips in New Zealand that I’ve photographed a few times but never actually done the trip on the boat itself. I would expect some amazing views of the southern alps from the lake. The scenic cruise across Lake Whakatipu takes around 1.5 hours. Next time I’m in Queenstown I’ll do my best to take a cruise on the TSS Earnslaw.

Lake Matheson from Reflection Island

Famous for mirror views of Aoraki – Mount Cook Lake Matheson is a must stop for any landscape photographer travelling up or down the West Coast. Every time I’ve tried it’s been cloudy, raining or I’ve not had the time to walk around the lake. It only takes an hour or two at most. But that can be too much time for a stop on long 8-10 hour driving days on the West Coast. Shows I need to spend more time exploring on foot than driving past the beauty spots. You can’t actually see Aoraki – Mount Cook in this photograph due to the low cloud. Most of the Southern Alps are in cloud. Still I was keen to do the walk. My goal is to come back here in winter one clear evening. I’d love to photograph the Milky Way rising from behind the mountains. This is the view from Reflection Island which is more of a peninsula into the lake than an island.

Polynesian Spa at sunset

After long days of travel, with hours spent driving or walking around with a camera, a spa is the perfect treat. One of the best I’ve so far experienced in New Zealand is the Polynesian Spa in Rotorua. This was the second visit, this time at sunset. There are two natural springs that feed 28 hot mineral pools with geothermal waters. For the best experience the lake view private pools, shown above, are the way to go. You get this pool all to yourself for about 30 minutes. The water is 38.5 degrees C even in the evening. The perfect way to relax.