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South Island Scenic Views

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The Journey

Aleksandar Jason in the South Island

Two football fans and skilled photographers find New Zealand's most scenic pitch and get the best view of Queenstown – from the air! Aleksandar Jason (Instagram: @aleksandarjason) and his good friend Paul Blake (Instagram: @paulblake) share the highlights of their incredible week in the South Island below.

Travel

6 days


Route

Queenstown to Christchurch

1208km


Best Time of the Year

All year round

Highlights

  • Astrophotography of the clear night skies
  • Fergburger
  • Football pitch near Queenstown airport

The Journey

Days

1 2 3 4 5 6

Day 1
Queenstown to Glenorchy

Distance 55km - Driving Time 1 hour

All photographs by Aleksandar Jason.

We arrived first thing in the morning after a connecting flight from Melbourne, leaving an average of 20°C and arriving to a typical Queenstown morning of 4°C. Our first day will be spent exploring the town of Queenstown. We picked up a local car until our Ultima was ready. Headed out to Glenorchy later that afternoon, with an early sunset of 5pm we did not have much light left – a quick visit with a few images, we enjoyed the late stars with a few long exposure astrophotography moments.

Day 2
Glenorchy to Milford Sound

Distance 330km - Driving Time 1 hour

A second day based in Queenstown, we drive up to the local airfield and fly out to Milford Sound –  nothing more exciting than a flight over snowy mountain tops. Colorful terrain and witnessing the beauty of New Zealand from meters above the ground. Enjoying the afternoon around Queenstown’s markets and local cuisine. Documenting the entire day from different locations across the little city – ending the night with a long wait but enjoyable dinner at Fergburger.

Day 3
Milford Sound to Lake Wanaka

Distance 340km - Driving Time 4.5 hours

Our third day started off with a 5am wake up call, the Euro Final was on and we are football mad so we had to find a place. After visiting three bars across Queenstown, all packed to the rafters, we set to the last location and that of the Hilton. Portugal finish with the win, it's 6am and we set on our roadtrip up north towards Lake Wanaka through Arrowtown. On the way out we notice this amazing football pitch by the Queenstown Airport, imagine this. The Remarkables sparkling right behind the goal. How can someone stay focused on this pitch? Town by town we finally got to our final destination. Lake Wanaka was what we thought it to be. Once again the night caught up to us, something that we disliked about our trip. We set up camp up at the Lake Outlet Holiday Park, flew the drone around over forests and mountain tops.

Day 4
Lake Wanaka to Lake Pukaki

Distance 170km - Driving Time 2 hours

Setting on another early trip we head to the famous Wanaka Tree, quick breakfast at a local café and stock up on petrol. As we drove up towards Mount Cook/Aoraki the weather was changing, really quick – too fast for us to even think about a Plan B so we ended up setting up camp earlier down by Lake Pukaki, only minutes away from Mount Cook. The funny thing was this location was covered in snow, well, the trees were. And it was amazing, nothing like I have seen before. Night came quickly and we put together a little fire outside. Stocked up on steak and sausages few days before so it was BBQ night.

Day 5
Lake Pukaki to Lake Tekapo

Distance 63km - Driving Time 45 minutes

Mount Cook was our main target, a place New Zealand is mostly idolised on – a location that most photographers look forward to. Weather was still as crazy as it was last night, winds almost hit 50km strong rattling our campervan, which kept us up all night. Thank god for the DVD player – a few football documentaries and Eddie Murphy movies kept things less shaky. After 30mins or so we arrive at the carpark, it starts to snow and the winds slow down. Only the two of us and a few parked campervans have set out on to the hike. At first sight you could see everything from the ranges to the bottom of the hills, only a few minutes in and we lost sight. Literally snow everywhere, a white covered pathway kind of got a little scary. We continued to about the second bridge. Missing out on the iconic hut/cottage.


As we return back to our campervan, so does the sun and with that along came a blue sky. We drive around the corner to the icebergs. Our last night will be spent at Lake Tekapo. Finally making our way to the campsite, it was night so we settled down and enjoyed the views. We were hoping to spend the night at the Church of the Good Shepherd with our cameras, unlucky us the terrible weather returned.

Day 6
Lake Tekapo to Christchurch

Distance 250km - Driving Time 3 hours

Spending our last day sheltered away from the weather, we headed off to our final destination: Christchurch Airport.