View Full Version : New Zealand Locations

Howard Slavitt
28-Oct-2006, 19:19
I'm planning a two week trip to New Zealand with my wife and 3 1/2 year old boy in mid-March. I love landscape photography. I'd appreciate suggestions for photo opportunities, and any other suggestions you might have in planning our vacation. I do need to balance my love for nature and landscape photography with my wife's and son's interests. Thanks, Howard

29-Oct-2006, 00:24
you could try contacting this guy and asking for some advice/recommendations:


Paul H
29-Oct-2006, 01:07
Which island are you planning on going to - North or South?

Howard Slavitt
29-Oct-2006, 07:28
I'm thinking about a week on each of the North and South islands, but that's just a guess at this point. . . . I have no idea which island.

Ralph Barker
29-Oct-2006, 09:50
I spent a week on the north island back in the early '90s, when I went there to speak at a UNIX conference, and found driving the road around the island to be quite interesting. Lots of variation in the landscapes. Pay attention to the ravines, too. Much of the vegetation, ferns in particular, struck me as almost prehistoric in nature. The south island is supposed to be equally interesting, but quite different than the north island.

29-Oct-2006, 10:38
If you have only a week or two, spend it all on the South Island. If you e-mail me, I'll give you lots of info.


30-Oct-2006, 11:38
With only two weeks, it's best to pick and visit only one island. Otherwise, you'll be spending all your time in the car. The islands are big enough that you can't cover too much ground in just two weeks.

I'd also suggest the south island for the more spectacular scenery. If you are more a portrait photographer, then you may be interested in photographing the Maori. They have very striking features. The North island has a higher percentage of Maori than the south.

Either way, it will be fun but limit yourself to part of only one island.

John Quinn
2-Nov-2006, 00:40
Last April I had planned to go to Nepal to do some hiking and photography, due to the civil unrest there I decided to cancel and as I had the time available to go to New Zealand instead.
I spent two weeks in the south part ( ie under Christchurch) of South Island and found the hiking and photo opportunities absolutely fantastic.
Briefly, we flew into Christchurch, hired a car and drove the Authurs Pass way to Greymouth, then down to Franz Joseph Glacier and on the Wanaka. We then drove to Queenstown - walked the Milford Track - and then went to Paradise,Glenorchy, Te Anau, Milford Sound - then back to Queenstown and accross MacKenzie country to Chjristchurch and then home. This all took 2 weeks and I felt we had missed a lot - good walks and Photo ops.
The countryside if beautiful, we got excellent "fall" colours (April). I have never felt that I have had so many photo opportunities in such a short time before. The scenery is stunning.
Bring you film with you - it is expensive in NZ.
Scenery is something like the Lake District in the Uk, but on a bigger and grander scale.
E-mail me if you want any more info.
John Quinn

2-Nov-2006, 23:38
Not having been to New Zealand but have been dreaming of going after doing some research I'd also suggest sticking to just one island if you only have two weeks. And personally I would stick to the south island. Another person on the forum was going not long ago maybe you can contact him for more ideas. take a look at this thread

3-Nov-2006, 12:31
When I was in college I spent 5 months on the South Island (studying abroad in Dunedin) and a week on the North Island. That's about the right ratio of time.

The North Island is lovely, but the South Island is jaw-dropping. But if you're only going to be there for 2 weeks, then you're going to be doing each island a disservice with only one week on each.

My suggestion: just do a couple of days on the North Island -- your son will love Rotorua with the geysers and bubbling mud.

But spend the bulk of the time on the South Island if this is likely to be your only trip to NZ. Since you won't be doing long hikes with a little one, by car you can spend a decent amount of time in Fiordland, Westland, Mt Aspiring, and Mt Cook National Parks, which are just unbelievable landscapes. There is great stuff for your son, too. In Dunedin you can go to the Otago Peninsula and get a tour of the yellow-eyed penguin colony and a royal albatross colony. Just north of Dunedin in Oamaru you can see the tiny little blue fairy penguins coming ashore.

3-Nov-2006, 13:59

I really think you need to determine what type of landscape interests you before you decide. There are a lot of wonderful suggestions here, but a person who likes the ocean may be happier in the Bay of Island or Northland than on the South Island. I've been to both North and South island, and they are both unique.

3-Nov-2006, 15:07
Just from personal experience, I was somewhat underwhelmed by the Bay of Islands -- it seemed like a nice enough escape for people in Auckland, but it wasn't anything worth flying halfway around the world for. I thought the ocean scenery in the Abel Tasman / Marlborough Sounds / Nelson area and near the Pancake Rocks was much more dramatic and interesting than the Bay of Islands. This is not even counting the mountains rising right out of the ocean in Fiordland.

4-Nov-2006, 12:30
Just from personal experience, I was somewhat underwhelmed by the Bay of Islands -- it seemed like a nice enough escape for people in Auckland, but it wasn't anything worth flying halfway around the world for.

Each to his own I guess. I live in Hawaii, and see the ocean every day, and I found a lot to see and photograph in the Bay of Islands - I have a return trip in my mind, just to photograph Russell.

5-Nov-2006, 15:03
My wife and I sent to NZ almost a year ago for what turned out to be the best trip of our lives, I would say. We drove more than 5000 km over a little less than two weeks between the north and south islands. We spent the majority of our time in the south island, and have no regrets about that - the south island was incredible. We budgeted way more time for the west coast and northern parts of the south island than I wish although that was weather related (pouring on west coast and hot and extremely windy in nelson, etc). I think if you hit either of these areas with decent weather (tough to do on the west coast from what i hear), they'd probably both be worthwhile.

Our basic plan was get a car in Christchurch and drive through the lakes region to Queenstown, then to the fjords (or sounds). Then we enjoyed the larger lakes on the way to the west coast, did the major glaciers (felt like a pilgrimage, but still quite nice), drove the west coast and then over to the northern cities (planning on kayaking but the wind was such that no one would rent you a kayak). This ended up giving us some time for the wine region - which was a great deal of fun. Then we took the ferry over to the north island and pretty much just drove to a couple of the major sites there, but rushed through them since they were so tourist-filled (the south island will spoil you fast). So we had some unplanned time on the peninsula east of Auckland, which ended up being incredible. As far as lodging, we decided to play everything by ear and the only nights we booked in advance were the first 3. No problems finding decent accomodations for fine prices.

I could probably give you a handful of accomodation/dining/site-seeing tips if you spcify what you're interested in seeing (provided I've been there, of course). Because of the blitz of locations we visited, most of my photos were taken with my Mamiya 6 rather than my LF camera, but I might revise that with my next trip. When we return, I plan on doing the 5 day Milford Trak which is supposed to be one of the best in the world and spending some more time on that peninsula on the north island. If I had it to do over again, I would have spent more time in Christchurch (I can turn you on to a wonderful botique in just next to the college), the lakes region, Milford Sound, and that peninsula (gotta look up its name) and I probably would have gut out the majority of the rest of the north island.

New Zealand has to be one of the most wonderful places in the world - not only are the sites beautiful, but the people are incredibly friendly. Add that to its ease of navigation (good roads, english speaking, cheap car rentals, and decent gas price), and you'll get an incredible trip.

I'd love to give some more specifics; I'll check back with the thread in a couple of days.

PS. If you like beer, be sure to try Monteith's. Their pilsner is probably better than the original: Pilsner Urquel - even from its source (which is *much* better than here in the states), imho.

5-Nov-2006, 15:26
PS. If you like beer, be sure to try Monteith's. Their pilsner is probably better than the original: Pilsner Urquel - even from its source (which is *much* better than here in the states), imho.

Speights is the beer!!!