Those of us who have been born and raised in this wonderful country – colloquially titled “Godzone”, as well as many who have traveled here at a later stage – often to remain, are already convinced of the wonders this distinctive nation offers.  For me, it is a feeling that is reinforced every time I arrive home after a trip away.  But never more so than when I have the opportunity to return to the South Island and my true “home of homes” – the peaks and valleys of the Southern Alps.

Exactly one year ago this month I took a road trip with friend and fellow photographer Dean Fitzpatrick of Wildlight Safaris to check out locations for our upcoming 2014 South Island Photo Tour.  We wanted to package the best of what the South Island had to offer, not only photographically but also as an all-round travel experience.

We journeyed light and kept our cameras at the ready, exploring both the well-known tourist spots and the “off-the-beaten-track” hidden gems.  From the Pancake rocks at Punakaiki on the West Coast to the mirror-like surface of Lake Matheson.  We explored Castle Hill and the Moira Gate Arch at Oparara, before comparing the stunning vistas to be found at Lake Wanaka and Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown.  We stayed up late to shoot the night sky and star trails, and dragged the stand-up paddle board out when we needed a bit of rest and relaxation during the day. It was a photographer’s dream trip and we had almost as much fun comparing our numerous photos after the trip as we had whilst taking them!

I can’t wait to explore this region again in April this year – though at a slower pace and with a few more comforts in place, plus the added bonus of autumn colours this time around.  It has been a welcome reminder that sometimes the best “on location” projects are the ones we do in our own back yard.  Having traveled to and photographed far off places like Russia, China, America, Asia, Egypt, Alaska, Europe, UK, Africa, the Pacific Islands, and many more…  I can honestly say that New Zealand offers some of the best photographic opportunities I’ve ever seen.  Like they say, don’t leave town until you’ve seen the country!

Why don’t you join me?

New Zealand South Island Exploration

Photo Tour 5th – 18th April 2014

$7990 per person, includes all transport, accommodation, meals and selected NZ wines with dinner.

For more information visit our Photo Tours page here.

All images copyright Chris McLennan

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