Snow on Crown Range Road

Snow covered mountains looking down a winding road with a small part of the lake in the far distance.

The Crown Range Road is one of New Zealand’s most spectacular drives. Taken from the Crown Range Summit in July (mid winter). At 1076 metres above sea level the pass is the highest sealed road in New Zealand. As you can see it had snowed recently. The carpark was a bit of an ice rink but at least the road had been cleared and salted. From here we are looking south west along the very twisty road towards Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu. The snow topped mountain on the left is Ben Cruachan. Part of the Remarkables Skifield and mountain range.

Queenstown Airport from Crown Range

Landscape looking down a valley towards the runway with a river in the foreground and snow capped mountains behind

Taken from the Crown Range Road Scenic Lookout. A couple of kilometres along the road from the summit. It’s a good place for some plane spotting. In the middle of the photograph you can see the short runway of Queenstown Airport. In the foreground is the twisting Kawarau River. At the end of the runway is Frankton and the Frankton Arm of Lake Wakatipu with Queenstown behind. On this day we only went as far as Arrowtown which is off to the right, out of frame. Hopefully next time I’m in this area I’ll get back to Queenstown and the lake.

That Wanaka Tree at dusk

Silhouette of a tree with no leaves standing alone in the lake, reflected in the water. Snow capped mountains behind.

The most popular stop for photographs of the lake is That Wanaka Tree. I’d visited Wanaka but not seen this tree on the water. On the day I arrived in town I visited this spot three times. On arrival in the afternoon it was very overcast and gray. Then after sunset, pictured above. Then a couple of hours later at night when it was too cloudy to see the stars above. Each time I walked along the shoreline of the lake to the tree there were more than a dozen other tourists. At sunset maybe 40 or 50 people around. And that was in a time when New Zealand’s borders were closed to international tourists! Photography has been changed a lot in the last decade. First smart phones with good cameras. Then Instagram. This tree isn’t just pin pointed on Google Maps. It’s labeled with #ThatWanakaTree. This has taken a popular spot and turned it into a must see location with public toilets and a big carpark.

Lake Tekapo with Church of the Good Shepherd

The Church of the Good Shepherd from above wasn’t a photograph I was expecting to take. Seeing the new (to me anyway) MacLaren Footbridge. I wanted to see what the view of the church was from up there. From here you get a better view of Lake Tekapo and the mountain range behind the church. Zooming the camera in like this, the church looks bigger than it actually is. The lake doesn’t look like there is 27 kilometres (17 miles) between us and the northern end of the lake. The forested area of trees on the left side of the lake is Motuariki Island. About 8 kilometres north of the bridge this was taken from.