Hello Again. Back in February of this year – which was the middle of summer in New Zealand – I spent three weeks traveling around that country’s South Island. I chose the South Island because it has a much higher concentration of stunning and dramatic scenery than the North Island, and I was in New Zealand for the scenery.
This is my first of two posts featuring some of my photos of New Zealand. This post features photos of the Milford Sound, Fiordlands National Park, and Lake Pukaki areas of the South Island. My upcoming second post will feature the other South Island destinations that I visited.
During my rambles around the island, I drove the following main routes visiting the respective destinations, albeit with a lot of sidetracking and backtracking and lingering:
To the left is a map of the South Island showing the main roads and the South Island’s major destinations (Source: Wikitravel). Before we get to my photos below, let me just say a few more things about New Zealand.
The South Island scenery is just stunningly gorgeous. Imagine, scenery of all types concentrated into an area the size of Florida! Just about every type of landform and ecosystem and climate that exists in the world, also exists just within New Zealand alone. There are glaciers, fiords, waterfalls, rolling hills, rugged mountains, subtropical forests, temperature rainforests, rocky coastlines, cliff-lined coastlines, sandy beaches, high deserts, volcanic plateaus, vast plains, alpine tundra, pine forests, and on and on.
As you likely know, New Zealand is a small country consisting of two islands, the North Island and the South Island. In terms of land area, each island is roughly the size of the State of Florida. The total population of New Zealand is 3.5 million people. Most of the population resides on the North Island. New Zealand is located southeast of Australia in the southern Pacific Ocean – between Australia and Antarctica. I flew from Sidney, Australia to Christchurch, New Zealand, which is a three hour flight.
As I mentioned, the South Island is about the same size as Florida in terms of land area, but vastly different in size in terms of population. The South Island is sparsely populated with only 1 million residents, whereas Florida has a population of 20 million. And, yes, it is true that there are more sheep than people in New Zealand, many more! In contrast to the 1 million people who live on the South Island, the South Island has 16 million sheep. Twenty years ago the South Island sheep population was at a peak of 30 million, but it has dwindled to the current 16 million because many farmers have been converting from sheep farming to dairy cow farming, which is more profitable and more in demand.
With three weeks at my disposal, I rented a small camper van and slowly toured the South Island, overnighting at campgrounds. Slowly is the key because (quite literally) around just about every bend in every road is what I call a “stop the car!!” moment. I found myself constantly stopping and pulling over, and then going again, to soak up what are often just really unbelievable views. It was interesting to watch people often just standing and staring in utter disbelief of the view in front of them.
Landscape photography enthusiasts usually point to New Zealand and Iceland as their favorite destinations. New Zealand and Iceland are considered to have the highest concentrations of dramatic and gorgeous scenery in the world. In particular, New Zealand has the most stunning mountain lakes I have ever seen!!
In my view, what makes New Zealand a must-see destination is its utter uniqueness in terms of:
Check out the gallery below which features more photos from around Milford Sound, Lake Pukaki, and Mount Cook. Clicking on any of the photos launches the slider gallery. You may need to give it a few seconds to load.
And, don’t forget, clicking on any of the photos embedded in the text above brings about a more enhanced and brighter image of the photo. I recommend viewing these images on laptop, desktop, or tablet, as opposed to smartphone. However, smartphone will work just fine. It is just that New Zealand is so striking that seeing the images on a larger screen is quite nice.
Stay tuned for upcoming posts for a second New Zealand post, and posts for destinations in Laos, Australia, Myanmar, Japan, Philippines, Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam, South Korea, and China. Finally, my usual reminder, if you scroll to the very end of this post, there is (as in all my posts) an area to leave comments or ask me any questions that you may have. As always, I would love to hear from you. I hope that you enjoyed this post.