NEW ZEALAND

Kia Ora

New Zealand is a sanctuary for anyone whose personality thrives in the great outdoors. For one country, it encompasses a vast variety of landscapes, one after another, a different beauty that is met with an equal level of awe, it will leave you breathless (quite literally). From 2014-2016, I had the opportunity to live, work and travel around this country and discover just a fraction of its magnificence. For anyone who is thinking about travelling to New Zealand, think no more, take action and buy your ticket, there’s no doubt in my mind that it will be a decision that you will not regret.

 

As a photographer, New Zealand was always on the cards as a must see destination. There are parts of New Zealand that are reminiscent of the German or Austrian Alps (yet something more fresh), there are parts of New Zealand that actually remind me of the West of Ireland but on a much larger scale, then there are landscapes that have no comparison at all such as Lake Tekapo or Milford Sound in Fjordland. Apart from the splendour of landscape, the light in New Zealand is something special, there’s a colour of light that will gradually change the more south you travel. Tuning into this light, into the sounds of the environments, the scent in the air, will have anyone quickly form a love affair with this spectacular country in no time at all.

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Some of the most notable places along the journey through New Zealand were the Sand dunes along Farewell Spit complete with seal caves nearby which serve as a perfect space to take up some singing, the dense bush in the Coromandel which is dangerous for any driver because your head will be half way out of the window trying to take it all in, Lake Tekapo that also serves as a dark sky reserve, Lake Hawea and its surrounding areas and Mount Aspiring National park, The Marlborough Sounds and all their magical green bushy inviting islands, Piha beach and Takaka Hill. While travelling through New Zealand, I became acutely aware of the impact of climate change. The sun was very harsh on my skin, coming from Ireland and having lived in other parts of the world (including the tropics), I would definitely say I was more conscious about the hole in the ozone layer while living there. I started to become more aware of how it effects the wildlife and landscape itself.

There are so many colours of New Zealand, there are many wonderful adventures to be had, kind generous and local people to meet. There are many magical waterfalls to discover, local craft beer to drink, fresh fruit to pick and harvest, star speckled skies to sleep under, folklore to discover, generosity of spirit to experience and a deeper appreciation for nature to realise. While I travelled through this country, I worked on organic farms learning aquaponics, filmed at music festivals, couchsurfed off the grid at a rockclimbing commune outside of Queenstown, I partied through the night on Takaka Hill and walked around the field in the morning to find Llamas roaming. I discovered two more galaxies in the night sky while taking photos in the Dark Night Reserve at Lake Tekapo. While on route to my first summer concert at Wellington Botanical Gardens I found glowworms in the soil. This is such a special part of the world and I would encourage anyone who has the means to take the opportunity to see it for themselves.