New Zealand South Island from the air

To really appreciate what four million people look like in a country 10% bigger than the UK you need to see New Zealand from the air. Vast amounts of farmland, forests, mountains, and volcanoes, plus the occasional settlement lie below.

Mt Cook
Despite visiting it twice the only time I’ve seen the top of New Zealand’s highest mountain, Mt Cook, was flying over it, with the peak rising through the clouds.

DSC09479 Mt Cook

One of the better known ski fields in the Southern Alps, close to Wanaka, looks quite different from above than hurtling down it. Also quite a difference with and without snow!

IMG_4196 Cardrona IMG_3075 Cadrona

Beautiful from any angle, but particularly as the sun set over Lake Wakatipu.

DSC09430 Lake Wakitpu IMG_3070 Queenstown

IMG_3050 Queenstown

Water and mountains are a powerful combination, and put Wanaka in scale with its beautiful surroundings.

IMG_3078 Wanaka

Southern Alps
Running the length of the South Island and a highlight of flying to or from Queenstown, spectacular at any time of year.

IMG_3095 IMG_4198 IMG_4200 IMG_3064 Southern Alps IMG_0010

Christchurch and Canterbury plains
A pretty undistinctive city from the air, but there are some huge river systems flowing across the Canterbury plains from the Southern Alps.

IMG_1376 DSC_0876 Waimakariri River IMG_0015 IMG_0014

Marlborough Sounds
Beautiful by boat but even more spectacular by air into and out of Nelson, particularly when the sun hits the water like this.

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Nelson, Picton and Blenheim
A trio of charming places at the top of the South Island, perfect for those who love tramping (hiking), sailing and wine.

DSC07925 Nelson DSC05149 Picton DSC05134

Stewart Island
South of the South Island lies this gem, home to about 150 people, Great White sharks, and lots of visiting trampers (hikers) walking the Rakiura Track Great Walk, or the epic North West and Southern Circuits for those keen on spending 8-14 days walking through bush and waist deep mud.

IMG_1820 ObanIMG_1825 Stewart Island

Author: jontycrane

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