Friday, 13 December 2019

2019 Autumn Roadie



As a photographer, autumn is my favourite time to travel around the beautiful South Island, so I usually try to plan my longest photography trip of the year to coincide with autumn colours.  The bottom of the South Island often has lovely settled weather in April, and if the timing is right it turns on amazing shades of golds and blues.

I love to take a campervan on my roadies as much as possible, as it allows me the flexibility to follow the good weather and not have to pack up a room every day! I’ve been trying out the various campers that Maui has to offer over the years. This time I had a Maui Cascade campervan, and it was my favourite so far. It was a great choice for a longer trip – big enough to be spacious and functional, but not so big that it was at all difficult to manouver. Although there were just two of us travelling, the four-berth cascade allows us heaps of room to spread out, and a big double bed each. I was a big fan of the cosy pull-down top bed, which I referred to as “the loft”!

For the first part of my trip I had my friend Meghan with me. We had decided we wanted to stick to the Queenstown and Wanaka area, and visit some places that neither of us had been to and photographed before. On our first day we visited a local waterfall, and shot sunset at the lagoon at Jacks Point. The next morning we saw the sun rise from Bob’s Cove.


Queenstown, Crichton, Loop, Waterfall,
Waterfall on the Mt Crichton Loop Track

Remarkables, Sunset, Jacks Point, Lagoon, Queenstown
Golden light on the Remarkables at sunset

Bobs Cove, Queenstown, Sunrise, Laurie Winter
Sunrise in Bob's Cove, Queenstown




On our second day, we were treated to a return scenic flight to Milford Sound with Glenorchy Air. The 45-minute flight each way takes you over two different flight paths, and we had perfect weather to see this region from the air. We flew over locations such as Skippers Canyon, Lakes Wakatipu and Te Anau, Lake Quill and Sutherland Falls, the Routeburn, Hollyford and Milford tracks, Lake Erskine, Eglington Valley and Mount Tutoko. This was honestly best scenic flight I have done in my life. Such phenomenal scenery and so many places I saw that I wish I could get to via feet or car!


Milford Sound, Glenorchy Air, Queenstown, View, Laurie Winter
Views on our Glenorchy Air Flight

Milford Sound, Mitre Peak, Summer, Autumn, Beautiful, Laurie Winter
Beautiful Milford Sound in Autumn

Admiring the base of Bowen Falls

Aerial, Milford Sound, Glenorchy Air
Milford Sound from the air

Glenorchy Air, Views, Milford Sound, Laurie Winter
Incredible views on our flight


Over our five days in the area, we also visited Glenorchy, Wanaka and its famous tree, Rob Roy Glacier, Glendhu Bay and Lake Alta up on the Remarkables ski field.  We actually were a little bit early for the best of the autumn colours, but it didn’t matter as we had such lovely weather.


Remarkables, view, sunset, Lake Hayes, Queenstown
Sunset over Lake Hayes from the Remarkables

Maui, Cascade, Campervan, Glenorchy, Laurie Winter
The Maui Cascade - such a dream to drive!

Milky Way, astrophotography, Lake Wanaka, The Wanaka Tree, Laurie Winter
Milky Way over the Wanaka Tree

Rob Roy, Glacier, Track, Views, Wanaka, Matukituki Valley
Stunning views on the Rob Roy Glacier Track

Mountains, Snow, Wanaka Tree, Autumn, Lake Wanaka
Autumn sunrise at the Wanaka Tree


Midway through my break, Meghan went home and I picked up my friend Kristin. On our first night, we climbed a huge hill behind Moke Lake for sunset. We planned to head into Milford and explore some new areas, driving to Te Anau the night Kris arrived and then continuing on to Milford Sound the next day. We had a lovely four days in the area – hanging out with some friendly kea, photographing beautiful rivers and waterfalls, hiking to Lake Marian. We also had an absolutely beautiful sunset in Milford Sound itself. One of my trip highlights was climbing Gertrude Saddle and taking in the absolutely epic views – a tough hike but an amazing reward.


Milford Sound, Cruise Ship, Sunrise, Patterns, Reflections, Laurie Winter
A cruise ship and sand patterns in Milford Sound

Admiring the views at Lake Marian

Marian Falls, Fiordland

Milford Sound, Sunset, Mitre Peak, Laurie Winter
Burning sunset at Milford Sound

Views for days from Gertrude Saddle


Before we headed home to Queenstown, we spent a lovely morning just relaxing in the sunshine at Lake Gunn. Our legs were pretty tired after so much walking in the area, so it was really nice to just hang out for a while. Then it was sadly time to head home to Queenstown. We had one last sunrise at Moke Lake before the trip came to an end.


Maui, Cascade, Camper, Lake Gunn
Maui Cascade Campervan at Lake Gunn

Lake Gunn, Reflections, Sunrise, Laurie Winter, Milford Sound, Fiordland
Serenity at Lake Gunn


Trip Highlights
·        Flight to Milford Sound – a must do in Queenstown!
·        Walking the Rob Roy Glacier Track – amazing chance to get up close to a glacier
·        Climbing Gertrude Saddle – a tough hike that can only be done in good weather, but the views are incredible

Places we stayed
·        12 Mile Delta DOC campsite (Queenstown)
·        Wakana Lakeview Holiday Park
·        Henry Creek DOC campsite (Te Anau)
·        Milford Sound Lodge
·        Queenstown Lakeview Holiday Park

For more of my photography please visit my website