Southern Alps from glacier

Stood atop the Franz Josef Glacier this is the view of the Minarets Mountain range. I believe we might have landed on either the Geikie or Chamberlin Snowfield. Either way we are looking south east towards New Zealand’s Southern Alps mountain range. This photo is a reminder to also capture a few camera phone photos in important spots so you have the GPS location to look back on at a later date.

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.