kiwi-experience-new-zealand

My ‘Kiwi Experience’ Review

I got to New Zealand with no real plan for getting around. I knew a handful of things that I wanted to do, but how I traveled around was completely up in the air. There are a handful of companies who run backpacker bus tours in New Zealand, but the Kiwi Experience looked like the best bet for what I was after in to cover a good chunk of both North and South Islands. … Read More

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Milford Sound: The 8th Wonder of the World for Good Reason

When I left for New Zealand, I only had three specific things in mind to photograph while I was here: The Hobbiton Movie Set, the incredible night sky, and Milford Sound. Fortunately, I was able to tick each one off my list (and then some). Of all the vistas and scenic places I visited here, the last one was by far the most spectacular. I wouldn’t be exaggerating to say it’s the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. … Read More

Lake Matheson, New Zealand

Lake Matheson, New Zealand

Many of the lakes in New Zealand have an underwater current of some kind, which makes it difficult to get really great reflections. Lake Matheson, on the West Coast of New Zealand near Mt. Cook, is a bit different. It has no current, which means you get really great reflections like this off the still water. It’s known for being one of the best “mirror lakes” on all the South Island. There aren’t many, either. … Read More

mike-beauchamp-new-zealand

Kayaking in Franz Josef, New Zealand

The only time I’d gone kayaking before this was off the coast of Maine back home, more than a decade ago. Ocean kayaking and lake kayaking are similar, but have their differences. Most importantly, you aren’t constantly fighting the tide in a lake. I paid $100 NZD for the three hour adventure, mostly with hopes I’d get some unique photos of the glacier and surrounding mountains from the water. I got that, and one of the most impressive sunsets I’ve seen, maybe ever. … Read More

lake-rotoiti-new-zealand

A Little Puddle in Some Little Hills

As we were heading out of Abel Tasman National Park this morning, we made a quick stop at the massive Lake Rotoiti. At its deepest point, Rotoiti is about 270 feet deep. It feeds the Buller River, which the road we took followed for quite a while today. It was gorgeous far beyond what this simple photo shows. … Read More

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Bazils Hostel – Westport, New Zealand

So far, I haven’t made a habit of writing about the hostels I’ve stayed at here in New Zealand. For the most part, they’re all about the same. However, I’m staying at Bazils Hostel today in Westport and it’s a much more pleasant experience than anything I’ve had for the last couple weeks since I’ve been here. It’s an actual, genuine hostel, not a chain like Base with mediocre rooms, cheap squeaky bunk beds, dirty bathrooms, and two power outlets for a dorm room of six people. … Read More

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New Zealand Night Sky

On April 1, I stayed at a place called River Valley Lodge. If you’re driving south on the North Island, it’s between Lake Taupo and Wellington. They’re known for their horseback riding and white water rafting. The lodge is also quite a ways from — well, anything. The closest town is roughly 20 miles away. … Read More

tamaki-maori-village-cultural-experience-2

Tamaki Maori Village and Cultural Experience in Rotorua

One of the things I love most about traveling is seeing other people’s way of life, learning about their culture and beliefs, and seeing how they live. It’s eye opening, entertaining, and educational. If you’re looking for a fun way to learn about some of the native Maori culture while you’re here in New Zealand, I highly recommend visiting the Tamaki Maori Village. You won’t remember all the words they teach you or what everything is called, but you’ll have a hell of a time, you’ll walk away with a full belly, and for just a few hours, you’ll completely forget about everything else in the world. … Read More

hobbit-hole

Exploring Hobbiton and The Shire, Home of Frodo Baggins

Before I left the states, I really had only one thing I knew I wanted to do for certain while in New Zealand: visit the Hobbiton movie set where all the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies were filmed. I didn’t come to Hobbiton because I’m a wild and crazy Lord of the Rings fan, although I have seen all the movies. I was more interested in the photo opportunities. As travel photographers, we’re always looking for something unique, and as it happens, this is the only place on Earth to find hobbit holes like these. … Read More