1 February 2014

new zealand | glenorchy & paradise

[warning: bumper post!]

We recently travelled "across the ditch" (as they say) to Queenstown on New Zealand's South Island for a short break, and whilst NZ is a mere three hour flight from Sydney, it feels like another world.  Low-lying clouds obscure the peaks of mountains that rise dramatically from the edge of impossibly blue lakes, pretty wildflowers grow alongside winding roads and there is a photo opportunity at every turn.  It really is just the most breathtakingly beautiful place.

Perhaps my most favourite experience from our time in NZ was our day trip from Queenstown to the small town of Glenorchy and beyond to Paradise (which was one of the filming locations of Lord of the Rings if that is of interest!).  Glenorchy is around 45 kilometres from Queenstown, and the drive takes you along the edge of the stunning Lake Wakatipu.  The trip is known as one of the most scenic drives in the world, to which we can totally attest, as it took us well over two hours due to endless photo stops (OMG, pull overrrr!) ...





The view of Lake Wakatipu from Seven Mile Delta ...


Wilson Bay was so so beautiful and peaceful, I can't even put it into words.  It's also where my minor obsession with pinecones began ...


Around halfway to Glenorchy, there is a popular scenic lookout by the side of the road with sweeping views of Lake Wakatipu and the surrounding mountains.  It is incredible ...


And then, we finally made it to Glenorchy!  


This (not so) little guy was so awesome.  I think he just spends his days playing fetch with everyone!  He picks up a stick in his mouth, chooses someone to approach and drops the stick at their feet.  If they don't throw it for him, he will pick it up and drop it at their feet again, and keep doing it until they give in.  We had lots of fun with him, and I have seen him mentioned on other blogs as well, so I guess he is a bit of a fixture down by the lake, which I think is so great :)



I couldn't actually bring myself to go in here, but possum fur products are quite popular in NZ ...


And then, after rattling around on an unsealed road (for which our rental car probably wasn't, er, quite made) for twelve kilometres, we finally made it to Paradise.  The sign said so ... !


Friendly Paradise horsie (I think that horses are gorgeous but they intimidate me a little!) ...


So I have to say, Paradise Forest was one of the most amazing places I have ever visited.  It was so green and so incredibly quiet, and I had a little wren hanging out with me as I wandered around taking photos!  I felt a million miles from anywhere ...


Cows roamin' around.  I love the way they stare at you as you drive past.  It made me think of being on a cow safari (!) ...


Turns out, sheep are ridiculously hard to photograph as they always run away.  One cranky baa! from an unco-operative one, and they all up and leave (which is, I suppose, the Way of the Sheep, but still).  I was happy to capture this little guy peeking around the tree ...


The way back to Queenstown (same scenic lookout, different light!) ...


All photographs © Natasha Calhoun

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