WINTER IN NEW ZEALAND’S SOUTH ISLAND – JUNE ITINERARY

My trip to New Zealand has started to sneak up on me (now three and half weeks away) and its time to formalise an itinerary of places to visit during the trip. I have booked a camper van / motorhome complete with kitchen, mod cons etc. which means I have a great deal of flexibility for the duration of the trip. I can move from location to location and not have to worry about finding accommodation for the evening, or having to constantly pack and unpack (which can be a real hassle). As I like to work primarily at Sunrise and Sunset its far more convenient to be based in a camper van on site – rather than checking out of hotels or bed and breakfasts at 5am in the morning.

I am keeping my itinerary fairly loose as much will depend on the weather. It can be bitingly cold in the South Island of New Zealand in winter and if the weather is socked in around the alps it can make photography problematic so I plan to be flexible and ‘go with the flow’ in terms of weather. If the mountains are clouded in I will spend more time on the coast. I have some business matters to attend to before I can get underway with the photography side of the trip but they should not take more than a couple of days. My loose itinerary is as follows:

  1. Day One: I am going to head from Christchurch to Lake Clearwater and Mount Somers and spend some time around this area before driving down to the Moeraki Boulders for a sunset and sunrise the following morning.
  2. Day Two: After Sunrise at the Moeraki Boulders (assuming the light has been good) I will head back up to Omarama for Sunset at Wanaka.
  3. Day Three: Spend the day at Wanaka and visit surrounding locations
  4. Day Four: head up to Mount Iron and spend the morning in this location before visiting Diamond Lake
  5. Day Five: Drive over to Fox Glacier stopping at several locations I want to shoot along the way
  6. Day Six: Fox Glacier – If the weather is good I may charter a helicopter for some aerial photography.
  7. Day Seven: Another day around Fox Glacier and Lake Matheson
  8. Day Eight: Drive up to Punakaiki and Pancake Rocks
  9. Day Nine: Driver over to Kaikoura for some more locations I want to visit.
  10. Day Ten: Home

In terms of photographic equipment. I am taking my entire kit of cameras and lenses except the 85mm F1.2L which I really only use for specialised portraits and wont need for this trip – since this is a dedicated landscape and wilderness expedition. I am currently having a mental debate with myself on what to do in relation to a back up DSLR camera. Canon 1DS MKIII’s are now available at quite reasonable pricing making them quite an attractive proposition as a back-up. I am reliably informed from various sources that there will not be a MKIVs this year; which adds some weight to the argument of purchasing an additional 1DSMKIII (both for New Zealand and Antarctica later this year as a back-up). I just won a high end Fuji camera in the 2011 Extreme Environment Photographic competition; however, this camera is a different lens mount to my Canon and (although an excellent and well reviewed camera) does not really work for me as a back-up since I prefer a body I can use my existing lenses with. The Canon 1D MKIV is also a potential option I am considering and may actually be the best choice since it provides a little extra reach for wildlife with its 1.3 crop factor.

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