Photo Friday: The Magic of New Zealand

New Zealand was the best part of our recent trip down under … Photo Friday is the perfect way to share some of my favorite photos.

We only visited the South Island and our home-base was Queenstown. Given that our timing was late fall in the Southern Hemisphere, part of my love was due to the fact that I was able to experience fall leaves all over again … plus, we were extremely lucky and got crisp, clear weather every day.

I have to admit, I can’t say that bringing young kids to this part of the South Island would be a priority for me given the travel distance and the fact that much of appeal is somewhat to very strenuous outdoor activities. It would, however, be an amazing destination with teenagers.

One incredible aspect of Queenstown is the sunset over the mountains. Each night we were treated to a different color alpenglow — the whole sky seemed to light up and reflect off of the peaks. Fantastic!

We took a trip out to Paradise Valley — a desolate but spectacular place where The Lord of the Rings and many other movies have been filmed. Eye-popping scenery to say the least.

We braved a VSP (very scary plane) ride to access the Southwest part of the island.

Fortunately, the outbound and return flights were smooth and the reward was that we were literally eye level with the peaks. An unforgettable experience. We were amused to learn after the return flight that our pilot had only flown our specific route one other time this year — I’m happy I didn’t know that ahead of time!

The point of the flight was to get us closer to Doubtful Sound (larger and less visited than the famed Milford Sound). This experience did not disappoint. We went through an amazing tropical forest and then were treated to an infinite number of towering cliffs around us for our ferry ride through the sound to the ocean. We saw one other boat in 3 hours — utter peace and natural beauty is plentiful here.

New Zealand is one of the world’s magical places and should be on every traveler’s “must see” list.

For more of this week’s Photo Friday posts, visit Delicious Baby.

Relevant Links

Our only New Zealand review at this point is in a different part of the South Island, the Arthur’s Pass area. Arthur’s Pass Wilderness Lodge is an active farm and the reviewer recommends it for young children too.


  1. Nice pictures! I used to live in this part of NZ, it’s good to see that the mountains still look beautiful and the weather continues to be sunny but coooolllld!

  2. Incredible pictures. Makes me want to return to NZ soon to see what I didn’t see when I was there! The little plane reminds me of how I saw the Andes and Alaska. It was thrilling.

  3. Queenstown is such a wonderful, unusual, strange and fantastic place. It’s the easiest place in NZ for a foreigner to get a visa, so it’s filled with temporary works hanging out for the summer or winter season. The adrenaline adventure tours number beyond belief, the great walks, boat adventures, tasty food…. god I want to go back 🙂

  4. As Tim says, we’ve always wanted to visit New Zealand.
    These shots remind me a little of Alaska–the scenery, the flightseeing, the strenuous outdoor activieis–which we also loved.
    Thanks for sharing these shots of somewhere I’ve always wanted to see in person.

  5. This pictures are gorgeous. Must add this to my bucket list. Since my guys are little looks like I should wait awhile and maybe save up some money 🙂

  6. This is fantastic to see your photos during New Zealand’s “Fall”. They are completely remarkable, especially the ones of Doubtful Sound. I doubt very much I’d ever want to pass up an opportunity to visit here!

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