New Zealand – Otago / Endless. Endless images, endless thoughts. Endless memories and endless roads. Editing my photos from this trip is like taking a deeper journey back into what I have already lived. I’m relearning how breathtaking these sights are – something we already knew when we were there, standing in front of it. However, there is something very reflective and meaningful about revisiting these things. In retrospect, this trip was even more abundant and beautiful than I had the capacity to understand when I was there. What a gift travel photography is. How it transports us back and forth, and transforms us as a result. Infinitely grateful.
Leaving Franz Josef Glacier, we finally encountered better weather. Our little tropical hearts rejoiced, as we drove into Otago and made a stop at the Blue Pools. The view was absolutely breathtaking. You cross two hang bridges to get closer to the Pools, where you can jump into the ice cold glacier water like I coaxed my boyfriend to do. The water was glassy and the brightest blue you could imagine – a wave of contentment just sort of surges through you as you breathe in the freshest air and marvel at how incredibly grogeous the scenery is. We left the Blue Pools and drove into Wanaka, with a view of the lake greeting us at golden hour, which is where we decided to camp for the night, in order to gear up the climb up Roy’s Peak.
We decided to catch the sunrise at the top of the Peak, and so we set our alarms and ventured up the mountain at 4am in the dark yet moonlit morning. It took us almost two hours to get to the top, which was my fault as my short legs were rebelling against the morning climb and had to gently be convinced that the sunrise would be worth the torture. And it most certainly was – we made it just as the sky turned bright red for just a few minutes before it faded into a pink and purple blanket of clouds, which was awe-inspiring and pretty in so many ways. This view of Lake Wanaka, as everything around you awakens, had me wide-eyed and regretting nothing about waking up at 3:30am – the snow covered peaks across the lake hinted at how tiny we were, a mere speck in a world so beautiful on its own. This was most definitely one of our favorite highlights of the trip, 1578m above sea level.
We descended and took a quick side trip to the Lavender Farm nearby, where we made some alpaca friends and played Petanque like French humans who had forgotten their berets. Of course I lost, as I am not nearly as French as my companion, and we then trudged on and drove onwards towards Lake Tekapo. Eventually, we camped out by the Lake, took a well-deserved hot shower and were rewarded for our morning hiking efforts, with a ridiculously specked starry sky. Of course, like the rookie I admit I am, I do not have the ideal lens for photographing the Milky Way, and for this I am sorry, and promise to make it up to you, but – you can still see hints of it in my clumsily taken photos. Astrophotography makes the most sense when you have almost no light pollution, and yes – New Zealand with its far and wild wilderness, is the exact place to go when you want to encounter the Milky Way; even with your own bare eyes.
There are absolutely no words to describe what seeing a glimpse of the rest of the universe is like, but if you have a good camera and a wide angle lens, and you happen to have little light pollution around you, I dare you to go venture out with a tripod and witness one of the most breathtaking photographic experiences you may come across. I promise, there is no better way of reminding yourself of how grande and grandeuse the universe truly is.