The day started off with spectacularly colorful views of Lake Pukaki and after capturing a few shots, I headed over to Tasman Lake for capturing some sunset shots. It was a very scenic drive and I stopped at multiple places to take some ‘instagrammable‘ shots. There is a small hike to reach the Tasman Lake viewpoint and involves climbing down some steep and loose rocks but in the end, it was worth it since I got some really cool long exposure sunset shots.
The drive through the magnificent Lindis Pass was nothing short of stunning and I stopped at a few places to take some shots. It is considered as one of the best drives in this world and driving it during the golden hours is just magical, although at the lower altitudes the driving got really difficult owing to the sun rays hitting me directly at eye level. I reached Wanaka just when the sunset took place and missed the golden hour by half an hour. So overall, it was a rather unproductive day. I retired for the night at Wanaka Holiday Home Campsite and tried to forget my miseries of the day by going full throttle on my bottle of Chardonnay. Retired for the night feeling hopeful for the next morning.
After shooting to my heart’s content, I headed back to my motorhome and had a quick customary breakfast of yoghurt and muesli before hurrying up to the Roy’s peak hike. This is one of the most reputed hikes in the South Island. Honestly I felt it was a bit over-rated because its a rather steep hike of 16 kms which takes on an average a good 6 hours to complete. I did mine in 4.5 hours but it took a toll on my knees. Going up makes one gasp as you run out of breath and stop every 15 minutes. With melted snow and mud from overnight, the route became all the more treacherous. Coming down took a toll on my knee and I had to intermittently jog down to prevent any major damage to my already injured left knee.
I decided to head over to Glenorchy next as the drive from Queenstown to Glenorchy is one of the most picturesque in the South Islands. And indeed it was ! I captured a few sunset shots at the Glenorchy wharf and headed over to Te Anau after driving for nearly 4 hours. Reached the Te Anau Top 10 Holiday Park to retire for the night as the next day was the trip to Milford Sound; the place whose photograph kindled my first desire of visiting New Zealand from 4 years back.
Met a very friendly Swiss woman who gave me a list of the must visit places in Switzerland! After doing my photography, I decided to retire at a nice secluded freedom camp for the night known as the Katiki Freedom Camp. Located right next to the sea and nicely sheltered by trees, it made for one of the best places to freedom camp with the sea literally 30 steps from my campervan. Woke up to a wonderful view of the calm sea the next morning.
In the evening just before sunset I made a run for Bushy Beach Reserve where I got extremely lucky to sight 2 seals and 3 rare yellow-eyed penguin. Decided to spend the night at a nice campsite called Waitaki Waters Holiday Park.
Drove through to Christchurch and parked the vehicle at Amber Kiwi Holiday Park. Decided to catch up with the office mails and later in the night headed out to CBD at a nice pub called the OGB. Very warm and cosy ambiance with good beers on the tap. The food selection and taste wasn’t that great though. Uber is very convenient in Christchurch and when commuting in foreign towns like these, you regard it as one of the best inventions ever!