New Zealand – Aotearoa 2017

9. Februar – 15. Juni 2017

We are pleased that you found our trip report from our 4-month journey to New Zealand in the first half of 2017 and we hope that you'll enjoy our report and photos. We started our adventure New Zealand on 9th February 2017 and stayed at first three days in the arabic metropolis Abu Dhabi and continued our trip to Auckland via Melbourne. We started on the North Island and visited the western part before we set over to the South Island where we enjoyed a beautiful autumn. We returned to the North Island and visited the eastern and northern parts. Our last stopover during our trip back home was Melbourne that we already liked last year. We left Europe in snow and returned on 15th June in high summer. The trip report is available in German only but I hope that the photos speak for themselves.

It was the first time that we made a trip without Canon cameras and only Sony. We used the cameras A7r, A7II, for wildlife the A6300 and the bridge camera RX10III as an allrounder that was used very often. Along with the cameras came the lenses Canon 16-35 f4, Sony 70-200 f2.8 as well as the prime lenses Sony 55mm f1.8, Sony 35mm f2.8, Canon 24mm TS-E, Zeiss 21mm f2.8 and Zeiss 85mm f1.8.

You find a single chapter for every region we visited below. Each chapter has information about our routing, the accommodation we stayed and the trip report itself.

We visited the arabic metropolis Abu Dhabi for three days at the beginning of our trip to New Zealand in 2017. The city fascinates with its modern architecture and the gigantic Sheikh Zayed Mosque that is especially during blue hour a dream. German only.

Piha, situated at the west coast of Auckland, was our first destination after our arrival in New Zealand. The Waitakere Ranges Regional Park is rich in highlights like beautiful beaches, wild Kauri forests with numerous waterfalls and a diverse flora and fauna. Germany only.

When I came across Miranda during my trip planning, I was dead sure that we must visit this place for one night! And we were not disappointed: thousands of sea birds from the Arctic and siberian tundra were staying on the shellbanks of the Firth of Thames. German only.

Mokau is a small sleepy settlement at the west coast but it's an ideal starting point to explore the bluff with the White cliffs and the rock formation Three Sisters. The lush interior with its waterfalls and hilly landscape is also very attractive. German only.

Mt. Egmont National park with its beautiful strato volcano Taranaki was our next destination. The volcano is perfectly shaped and pure eye candy from all sides. We spent four wonderful days around the national park with the volcano and waterfalls. German only.

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is supposed to be New Zealand's most spectacular walk and we also did the hike from Mangatepopo Car Park to the Red Crater that is located 700 meters higher. But the surroundings of the ski resort is also worth a visit. German only.

After the amazing volcanoes of Tongariro, we moved on to the east coast and visited Castlepoint. The lighthouse is situated on top of a spectacular cliff and we were blessed with some fantastic golden sunlight in the morning and evening hours. German only.

Our last destination on the north island until we return again in two months was the southern most tip of the North Island: Cape Palliser. It's home to the largest colony of New Zealand fur seals that had about one month young puppies. Cuteness alarm! German only.

We were looking forward to kayaking and hiking in Abel Tasman National park but the weather God brought us only rain and overcast weather. So we only made a short boat trip along the coast and visited the magnificent Ngarua Caves and Pupu Springs. German only.

The Farewell Spit is a long stretch of sandy beaches at the northern most tip of the South Island just next to Golden Bay. Highlights are the spectacular high cliffs of Cape Farewell as well as the arches and fur seals of Wharariki Beach. German only.

Karamea was the first location that we already visited in 2006 and this place has definitely left a very strong impression. The coastline is very picturesque and the stunning Oparara Arch is the largest limestone arch in the southern hemisphere. German only.

We continued our journey along the west coast south until Punakaiki where the incredible Pancake Rocks (rightly!) are the main attraction. But the pristine, lush rain forests and wild rivers are well worth a visit, too! And brave people can do kayaking... German only.

We intended to get away from the rain at the west coast but the weather at the Banks Peninsula in Diamond Harbour was unsettled with a few sunny spells in the afternoons. So we paid a visit to Christchurch and enjoyed some sunny moments in the bay. German only.

Sunshine was back in northern Otage at Moeraki and we admired the famous boulders. But the definite highlight was the colony of the cute Yellow-eyed penguins near the lighthouse. These adorable little chaps entertained us two afternoons. German only.

The Otago Peninsula surprised us with a breathtaking mix of beaches and high cliffs. And we already spotted our first sea lion! But the definite Highlight was the awesome Tunnel Beach that is located near Dunedin when we were rewarded with a perfect sunrise. German only.

The western part of the Catlins was our next destination and also the most southerly point of our trip. Curio Bay was our base from where we explored the Cathedral caves and waterfalls. We experienced some epic light and enjoyed great hours with sea lions. German only.

We spent three days in the eastern part of the Catlins in Kaka Point after our fabulous time in the western part of the Catlins so much. We enjoyed the cliffs of Nugget Point and spent absolutely gorgeous hours with the amazing sea lions of Cannibal Bay. German only.

We waved goodbye to the southern most part of our trip on the South Island and continued our journey to Te Anau, gateway of Fiordland. We enjoyed boat trips to Doubtful and Milford Sound and spent remarkable morning hours at Lake Te Anau. German only.

We spent another two nights in the Sound after we had already experienced Milford Sound in amazing weather. The fjord was in its rainy mood but it was still a fascinating boat trip that finished with a visit to the great Underwater Observatory. German only.

Cyclone Cook spoilt our week in Queenstown almost completely! Even if it was just the offshoot of the cyclone, it brought lots of rain and dull weather. But we nevertheless were lucky with some beautiful light moods on a few evenings. Still a pity! German only.

We spent six days in Wanaka and enjoyed best autumn weather after the cyclon finally left. The glowing yellow poplar trees in their autumn dress were awesome and we enjoyed amazingly quiet mornings at the lake with picture-perfect reflections of the mountains. German only.

Our definite autumn highlight were seven days that we spent in Twizel in the Mackenzie Basin. We were blessed with amazing autumn foliage, perfect reflections in the lakes and pure drama light. We also enjoyed views to the southern Alps in beautiful light. German only.

We moved on for four days into the Mount Cook National Park after this true autumn spectacle at Twizel. We were impressed by gigantic glaciers, the majestic Mount Cook and a wonderful sunset hike into the Hooker Valley. But we also got a day of rain. Germany only.

We stayed four nights in the western part of the Banks Peninsula at Akaroa after our first visit in the eastern part a few weeks ago. The weather was much better this time and we enjoyed the marvellous landscape in best light and had fun on a harbour cruise. German only.

We had not been sure for a long time whether it would be possible to visit Kaikoura after the 2016 earthquake. We were delighted that we finally got to this wonderful coast where we enjoyed two great days and made a fantastic albatros and whale watching tour. German only.

Wellington was just a two-day stopover after we took the ferry on our way from the South Island to Hawk′s Bay. Weather was very unsettled and we didn't like the city. The only highlight was the coast around Eastbourne with views over to the capital. German only.

After Wellington, we went back to nature and spent four nights at Hawke′s Bay. We were disappointed when we discovered that the gannets had already migrated to Australia. But we nevertheless enjoyed the landscape, Napier and a wine tasting. German only.

We spent only one day at the East Coast and continued our trip to Ohope Beach at the Bay of Plenty. But we should see Anaura Bay again soon! We enjoyed quiet beach days at the Bay of Plenty but the highlight was a helicopter flight to White Island. German only.

We returned for three nights to the East Coast to Anaura Bay after our fantastic visit to White Island. We enjoyed quiet beach days, were blessed with beautiful sunrises and took photos of New Zealand′s longest wharf in perfect pink light. German only.

In Rotorua, landscape photography was for once not in the spotlight and we explored the fascinating world of geothermal areas instead. We spent fantastic hours in Hell′s Gate, Wai-O-Tapu, Orakei Karako and Waimangu where we admired geysirs and steaming craters. German only.

Landscape was in focus again after our intensive trip into the geothermal world. We visited the magnificent Cathedral Cove at sunrise and spent an exciting afternoon at Hot Water Beach where we dug out our own little bath tub filled with thermal water. German only.

Our next destination was the incredibly beautiful Tutukaka Coast but unfortunately the weather God was not with us and we were caught in rain for two days. We only got sweet light at the day of our arrival and the morning we left for our next destination. German only.

We continued north to the Bay of Islands where we had nice sunny weather again. We explored the area around Whangaroa Harbour and discovered magnificent beaches, bays and coastal views. Two more highlights were giant Kauri trees and the Rainbow waterfall. German only.

We skipped the far north with Cape Reinga and continued to Hokianga Harbour at the west coast. We stayed in Omapere right opposite of the high sand dunes that reach up to 300 meters. We explored a fantastic coast and the Giant Kauri Tree Tane Mahuta. German only.

Out final destination on this trip around New Zealand was Auckland. We liked this metropolis with its light mood, the attractive skyline and the inviting waterfront very much We strolled around the city, made a harbour cruise and finished with a cityscape panorama. German only.

On our way home, we made a two-day stopover in Melbourne that we already liked a lot in 2016. This time, we visited the Eureka Skydeck with the nerve-wracking glass cube 'Edge' experience and made two river cruises to get a different view of the city from the water. German only.

We hope you'll enjoy reading our trip report and like the photos.

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