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Author Topic: Locations in New Zealand & Sydney  (Read 3583 times)
chandsa
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« on: May 02, 2013, 06:56:14 PM »
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Hey folks,

I will be leaving on a trip to Sydney in June and will be transiting through NZ. I have decided to do a stop over in NZ and have the following questions:

I am planning to fly in to Auckland on the 14th of June and will have to reach Sydney at the latest by the 17th evening. So that probably gives me 3 full days to spend photographing in NZ. I do realize that this is too short a time to spend, however, I don't have a choice Smiley

1. If I fly into Auckland, are there enough opportunities in and around Auckland to photograph sunrises and sunsets without having to indulge in too much driving?

2. If yes, then what places would you suggest for someone who is interested in landscape/nature photography?

3. I've read some online articles and I get the feeling that the South Island offers more opportunities for a landscape photographer than the North Island. If that's true, what would be some of the must see spots on South Island? I have actually considered flying in to Christchurch and then taking short road trips there to some of the fjords for mountain landscapes. Am i mistaken in my thinking here or do you feel that this is a good idea?

4. I'll also be in Sydney from the 17th through the 24th and would appreciate your thoughts on where to indulge in landscape/nature photography while I'm in Sydney.

I'd be very grateful if the folks knowledgeable about these areas can chip in with suggestions.

Many thanks!
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mlewis
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« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2013, 04:11:21 AM »
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1. If I fly into Auckland, are there enough opportunities in and around Auckland to photograph sunrises and sunsets without having to indulge in too much driving?
The various old volcanoes in Auckland, such as Mount Eden, would probably be good.  Somewhere looking across the harbour or from one of the islands in the harbour should be considered as well.
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2. If yes, then what places would you suggest for someone who is interested in landscape/nature photography?
Rangitoto Island is good - an extinct volcano and unihabited island in the harbour with forest reclaiming the bare lava.  It is a short ferry ride from the city.
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3. I've read some online articles and I get the feeling that the South Island offers more opportunities for a landscape photographer than the North Island. If that's true, what would be some of the must see spots on South Island? I have actually considered flying in to Christchurch and then taking short road trips there to some of the fjords for mountain landscapes. Am i mistaken in my thinking here or do you feel that this is a good idea?
South Island does have some wonderful scenery but the mountains are a good few hours drive from Christchurch, especially the snow covered peaks and glaciers.  The fjords are in the far south west of the island which is closer to Queenstown but still a long drive from there, especially Milford Sound.  There aren’t many roads in that area.  For someone with only a couple of days I would just spend time in the Auckland area.  Short road trips from Christchurch would only let you see some of the Canterbury plains and the Bamks Peninsular with Lyttleton Harbour.

Must see spots in South Island: Mt Cook, Fox & Franz Joseph Glaciers, Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound, Queenstown area.  There are many other great places as well.

North Island also has great landscape opportunities as well.  The volcanoes in Tongariro National Park (in the centre of the island), the geothermal areas such as Wai-O-Tapu, the far north with such places as 90 Mile Beach.
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chandsa
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« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2013, 10:07:25 PM »
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The various old volcanoes in Auckland, such as Mount Eden, would probably be good.  Somewhere looking across the harbour or from one of the islands in the harbour should be considered as well.Rangitoto Island is good - an extinct volcano and unihabited island in the harbour with forest reclaiming the bare lava.  It is a short ferry ride from the city.South Island does have some wonderful scenery but the mountains are a good few hours drive from Christchurch, especially the snow covered peaks and glaciers.  The fjords are in the far south west of the island which is closer to Queenstown but still a long drive from there, especially Milford Sound.  There aren’t many roads in that area.  For someone with only a couple of days I would just spend time in the Auckland area.  Short road trips from Christchurch would only let you see some of the Canterbury plains and the Bamks Peninsular with Lyttleton Harbour.

Must see spots in South Island: Mt Cook, Fox & Franz Joseph Glaciers, Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound, Queenstown area.  There are many other great places as well.

North Island also has great landscape opportunities as well.  The volcanoes in Tongariro National Park (in the centre of the island), the geothermal areas such as Wai-O-Tapu, the far north with such places as 90 Mile Beach.


Thank you SO MUCH for your suggestions!! I will certainly research these places you've mentioned. 3 days doesn't do any justice to the abundant beauty offered by NZ, but I just have to make the best of the stop over that I have. Thanks again!!
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tom b
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« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2013, 01:36:55 AM »
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Some for Sydney and surrounds, you'll need a car:

Royal National Park

Kur-ring-gai Chase National Park

Blue Mountains National Park Expect fog and cold weather at that time of year

Botany Bay National Park La Perouse side is the most accessible

North Head National Park Not the best park but if you catch the ferry to Manly and walk around it's a great day trip.

You'll need good wet weather gear fo NZ.

Cheers,
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TwinII
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« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2013, 05:36:06 PM »
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Hey,

Ive been to New Zealands south island photographing and it is a great place!  Options there include Lake Wanaka, Queenstown (such a beautiful city), Lake Tekapo (particularly if you like night sky shots - there is also the famous Church of the Good Shepherd here too).

With regards to Sydney, there are heaps of beaches where seascapes are possible including Turimetta, Curl Curl, Mona Vale tide pool, Narrabeen.  There is also Bondi beach on a nice blue sky day too.  Of course there is the typical cityscape shots of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House.  Personally I haven't been to Sydney photographing so I can't tell you where the best locations for cityscapes are but that's a start.  Enjoy your trip!
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cmburns
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« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2013, 05:03:57 PM »
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I think locals will be able to give you enough spots to fill your time around Auckland without going too far. If you do go to the South Island then I'd suggest Dunedin. There's direct flights. You can then go up the coast an hour or so to the Moeraki boulder. You can also go east of Dunedin to the Otago peninsula. The peninsula is great, just get out on it, then start taking small roads and get lost. There's also penguins coming ashore. There's a pay site where they have WW1 style trenches with camouflage on top. The penguins walk by you just feet away. At the far end of the peninsula is a royal albatross company. You can pay to go on a tour of the best part of it, or park, walk a couple hundred feet to an overlook and every few minutes, depending on the wind, one will fly right over or right by you, along with a variety of other sea birds. Caveat, i've only been there in the summer and early fall. You'll be going in winter.

Christchurch is not good right now. I mean the downtown is nowhere close to recovering from the earthquake. But yeah, fly in and then get out. There's 3 mountain passes out to the west coast, they're all great. The problem is you're going in June so it will be the middle of winter. These passes may not be passable. You could get caught out or stuck on the west coast. Queenstown and it surroundings are spectacular but in winter its a ski town.
Sticking closer to Christchurch, just south is the Banks peninsula. Spectacular. Drive down to Akaroa, then go up on the high road and drive back, though you can't go backroads all the way back to Christchurch since the earthquake.
North of Christchurch is Kaikoura. It's very famous for its whale watching cruises. Just a few minutes drive north of Kaikoura there's a seal colony. In the winter they have their babies. Even better a couple of hundred yards inland up a tiny stream there's a small waterfall with a pool at the bottom. They tend to keep the babies in that pool, kind of a natural nursery.

The problem is the south island is so spectacular 3  days is a joke. 3 weeks is iffy. You're going to feel like crap from the time change, just stick to Auckland and its environs. You might have a storm come though and have nothing but rain, in which case Auckland at least has plenty of other things to keep you occupied.

As for Sydney be a tourist. The bridge and opera house can chew up half a day real quick. If it has to be landscape then the "three sisters" in the Blue Mountains or go drive up or down the coast.

If you can stay an extra few days book a flight out to Lord Howe Island. It's about a two hour flight from Sydney. Beware you're checked bag is at a reduced weight allowance for Lord Howe. You're also reallly at the mercy of the weather. However, when the weather is good it's one of the most spectacular places on earth. Great diving and snorkeling in the lagoon. Incredible bird watching. It's hard not to take a great photo of the lagoon.
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chandsa
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« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2013, 11:34:30 PM »
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Thanks for the suggestions cmburns, TwinII, Tom B!



The problem is the south island is so spectacular 3  days is a joke. 3 weeks is iffy. You're going to feel like crap from the time change, just stick to Auckland and its environs. You might have a storm come though and have nothing but rain, in which case Auckland at least has plenty of other things to keep you occupied.

As for Sydney be a tourist. The bridge and opera house can chew up half a day real quick. If it has to be landscape then the "three sisters" in the Blue Mountains or go drive up or down the coast.

I do know 3 days is a joke, which is why I've been considering just sticking to Auckland and its surrounding areas. Thanks for your suggestions! I certainly appreciate it!


If you can stay an extra few days book a flight out to Lord Howe Island. It's about a two hour flight from Sydney. Beware you're checked bag is at a reduced weight allowance for Lord Howe. You're also reallly at the mercy of the weather. However, when the weather is good it's one of the most spectacular places on earth. Great diving and snorkeling in the lagoon. Incredible bird watching. It's hard not to take a great photo of the lagoon.

Not sure if i'll be able to squeeze this into my itinerary, but I'll certainly research this and consider it if i'm able to do so.

Thanks again!


Tom, thank you for the links to all those parks. I might end up going to Blue Mountains National Park. I love photographing fog and will look into this more. Appreciate your time and suggestions!
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DaveCurtis
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« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2013, 03:34:44 PM »
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Auckland ?? no mate, ya gotta some down south  Wink



Dave from Dunedin
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AlexRobinson
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« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2013, 02:18:23 AM »
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3. I've read some online articles and I get the feeling that the South Island offers more opportunities for a landscape photographer than the North Island. If that's true, what would be some of the must see spots on South Island? I have actually considered flying in to Christchurch and then taking short road trips there to some of the fjords for mountain landscapes. Am i mistaken in my thinking here or do you feel that this is a good idea?
That's a bad idea I asume you mean traveling from Christchurch to Fiordland and back, that's a lot of driving and absolutely not recommended if jet lagged (way too many foreign tourists crash on these roads). It's a full day drive to the nearest town to Milford Sound—Te Anau, plus basically a day to drive to Milford Sound, do photography/a cruise and back to Te Anau or Queenstown then another day back to Christchurch. Lots of ungritted, icy mountain roads and possibilities of road closures. If you came to Christchurch there's plenty of great day trips you can do, Banks Peninsula is one, Arthur's Pass or Lewis Pass for mountain landscapes. Arthur's Pass is more dramatic mountain wise but Lewis Pass has beautiful forests. I'd also recommend the Rakaia Gorge/Methven area and Lake Coleridge area. The Rakaia Gorge is a braided river with lots of stunning vantage points and Lake Coleridge is a nearby alpine lake which is beautiful at sunrise. These 3 options are much more viable day trip options around Christchurch and all offer suitable opportunities to shoot sunrise/sunset and night/astro shooting.

I'd avoid planning any kind of grand tour of the South Island, pick a small part and explore.
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ariliquin
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« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2013, 07:30:01 AM »
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Consider a trip to waiheke island. 40 mins by commuter ferry from Auckland CBD. HAs pristine beaches, vineyards, harbours, forest, ocean etc etc. day trip easy to arrange (east side off Auckland). Beaches on west side of Auckland ( 40-60mins drive) are also worth checking out; piha beach). Coromandel is only a couple hours away and also amazing. Whitianga worth a look at.  Ki Ora.
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tom b
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« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2013, 01:41:27 AM »
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If you are going to Coromandel you'll need a shovel.



Cheers,
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chandsa
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« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2013, 10:44:58 PM »
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Folks,

Thank you so much for your suggestions!

Just wanted to report back on what places I visited on this trip. I flew into Auckland and was quite jet lagged, but the good thing is I didn't stay in my hotel room and fall asleep! Booked a trip that same afternoon to Piha beach and Karekare waterfalls. Both places were spectacular, especially with the amount of rain the region had received at that time. Karekare falls was really awesome! It amazes me that not a lot of locals know about this waterfall, which is certainly quite a ways away from the city. One tip though: If you have just landed after a long haul flight, I will not recommend a drive to Karekare, especially if you are severely jet lagged. Our guide was quite knowledgeable about the history and the geology of these two areas. Photography wise, the light was just right to photograph Karekare, but by the time we reached Piha the clouds had settled in and it wasn't worth photographing either the beach or any of the other surroundings. As I was with a group, there was no question of staying for or beyond sunset.

Next day, we just took the ferry to Waiheke island. It was a cloudy and rainy morning, so not much to report on about that. However, once we reached Waiheke, the clouds disappeared and it became quite sunny. There was still some colour left in the trees, which was quite surprising to me. I forget the name of the beach that we spent some time at. The light was just right to get some cool portrait shots before we headed back to the bus. Rounded out the day by having dinner at Red Thai, a very nice restaurant.

Day 3 was a whirlwind! We took a day trip to Waitomo caves, followed by spending a few hours in Rotorua (the outdoor Polynesian Spa was definitely the highlight of the trip). It was rainy and miserable. From the spa we headed to Te Puia to take in some history about the Maori culture and then to Whakarewharewa geyser and mud pools. By the time we returned it was storming. That was in short a highlight of the stay in Auckland.

Auckland to Sydney. Sydney surpassed all my expectations, even though 98% of the time it was raining! Obviously I spent a great deal of time photographing the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. Walked around the Darling Harbour area, which was very diverse. My biggest peeve on this trip was the rain; it seemed like it was following us right from the time we set foot in Auckland and never let up till we left Sydney. Some other things I did in Sydney: Took a trip on the ferry to Watson Bay from Circular Quay and then hiked up to The Gap and got a TON of pictures of the crashing waves and the cliffs that drop straight down into the ocean. Again, rain was the biggest spoilsport. Next day did a part of the Bondi to Coogee walk, which was VERY interesting. I couldn't take many pictures because of the rain again! I did manage to get a couple of decent shots when the rain let up for about half an hour or so. The surfers were out and nothing seemed to stop them from surfing those rough waters. Perhaps next time around the weather will be better and I'd certainly love to do the entire walk from Bondi to Coogee. Did a tour of the Opera House, but our guide mentioned that we weren't allowed to take pictures of the Concert Hall, which is by far the best concert hall I've ever seen! On the last day I did visit the zoo and its hard not to miss the koala's.

In summary, it was a very good first trip to both NZ and Australia and certainly won't be my last one. There is just so much that both countries have to offer in terms of tourism and from what I've heard from the locals in NZ my next trip down there will certainly be to the South Island.

Once again, thanks to everyone for your suggestions! I certainly appreciate the time and effort you put in to respond to my message!

Cheers!
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xocet
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« Reply #12 on: August 05, 2013, 02:01:39 AM »
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Practically all the NZ native trees retain their leaves/colour.  The only tree (iirc) that drops its leaves is the kowhai, and even then, not in the north.

Don't dismiss the photographic opportunities of the North Island. While the SI is better known, there are plenty of stunning locations, such as the central volcanic plateau, round Taranaki and up the Whanganui river, the east coast, far north, Coromandel, etc.

Maybe you should come for several months next time  Wink and then head over to Oz for a few months...
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chandsa
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« Reply #13 on: August 05, 2013, 09:55:18 AM »
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Don't dismiss the photographic opportunities of the North Island. While the SI is better known, there are plenty of stunning locations, such as the central volcanic plateau, round Taranaki and up the Whanganui river, the east coast, far north, Coromandel, etc.

Maybe you should come for several months next time  Wink and then head over to Oz for a few months...


Certainly!! 3 days was a joke. I knew that before I left, however I didn't have the luxury of time on my hands Sad. But yes, next time it will be a trip over several weeks, if not months Smiley.

Cheers!
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