In its native Maori tongue New Zealand is called “Aotearoa”, meaning “Land of the Long White Cloud”.  And it’s not hard to see why.  Look at satellite pictures of New Zealand and you’ll see two long skinny islands with a smaller dot of land below, defined by a backbone of mountains running almost the length of the country.  If you can see the mountains beneath the long line of white cloud that is.

The Southern Alps that form the spine of New Zealand sit abreast the joining of the Australian and Pacific tectonic plates.  The ridge line formed by this primordial union – separating the vast Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean weather patterns either side – throw up the high levels of precipitation that give this country it’s Maori name.  Add in New Zealand’s elongated shape and isolated position in the South Pacific and you have a country with dramatically different geographical and climate regions; home to a wonderfully unique range of native flora and fauna.

New Zealand is distinct from almost every other continent in that its wildlife is not dominated by land mammals – it has only two native species of bat.  But its large areas of uninhabited evergreen forest and sheer miles and miles of rugged coastline provide a natural environment for around 80,000 native species of plants, birds, reptiles, insects and marine life – the greater proportion of which are endemic to this country.  From giant snails to the world’s smallest dolphin, trees that live for 2,000 years and a buttercup that grows 3 feet tall, birds that don’t fly and around 7,500 different species of fungi, this is a land of unique and unexpected diversity.

Which is why it has become such a popular destination for travelers, and a “must see” location for anyone passionate about photographing dramatic landscapes, flora and fauna…

Why not join Chris during November each year for a South Island Exploration Photo Tour – operated by Wildlight Safaris this is your chance to spend 14 days traveling by luxury vehicle, with a small group of like minded individuals, seeing and experiencing some of the best this country has to offer. Visit our Photo Tours page for more information, and see the image gallery below for a small sample of what’s on offer. We can’t wait to share this adventure with you!!

NZ SOUTH ISLAND EXPLORATION PHOTO TOUR – November Departures, see our website for further information - www.cmphoto.co.nz/phototours/

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23B Sarah Todd Lane, Waimauku 0812, Auckland, New Zealand   P +64 9 411 9561 F +64 9 411 9562   info@cmphoto.co.nz