NZ South Island – A Photographer’s Paradise

Well-travelled member PaulST recently visited the beautiful South Island of New Zealand for a week of adventure while taking in some truly breathtaking scenery.

Taking advantage of Qantas’ direct service our member flew straight into Queenstown, the heart of the South Island. The breathtaking beauty of this part of New Zealand can be seen before one even touches the ground, which is why a window seat on any flight to or from Queenstown is a definite must!

Earlier this year I visited New Zealand’s south island for the second time having been massively impressed when I visited 2 years ago. Last time, the weather at Milford Sound was horrible and I didn’t have time to see Wanaka so I thought I’d do those two properly this time.

On this visit, the weather was anything but horrible! A car was hired for the week, but it seems as much time was spent driving as it was stopping to take photos of the incredible beauty of New Zealand’s South Island. Locations visited include Queenstown, Wanaka, Te Anau, Milford Sound and the incredible Rob Roy Glacier – a little-known, hidden treasure.

Milford Sound is one of New Zealand’s true gems. It’s hard not to appreciate its beauty, especially on a sunny day like the one that greeted our correspondent. Visitors can either approach by road from Te Anau, or take a scenic flight. There is some accommodation at Milford Sound itself, but our member stayed at nearby Te Anau as this was sold out on the day.

Apart from sheep, one of the things New Zealand is most famous for is the “Lord of the Rings” movies. Filming locations are littered across the country. For example, those in the North Island can visit the farm where Hobbiton was filmed, near the town of Matamata. Much of the Hobbiton set is still intact, making for an exciting visit for any movie fans.

Another well-known site from the movie trilogy was spotted by our correspondent near Glenorchy.

LOTR fans may be interested to know that the above photo is of the site where Isengard was based. Obviously the weather was far nicer when I visited!

It’s not just the scenery that put on a great performance. The friendly locals and laid-back lifestyle in New Zealand made this trip even more enjoyable.

At risk of sounding like a NZ salesperson, there’s so many reasons to visit this amazing place. The Aussie dollar is still stronger, the people are all nice (and not in that fake American being-nice-because-I-want-a-big-tip way) and it’s well developed with good public services (I’ve just returned from the US and I honestly haven’t seen such poor roads since I was in Bangladesh). Really, NZ has all of the comforts of Australia with absolutely amazing scenery. And it’s only a 3hr flight!

Enjoy the full trip report HERE.


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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]