Here are the photos:
Day #1 – After arriving the previous evening in rainy Auckland, we spent the night on an ostrich farm. We spend the day rappelling down into caves, exploring the caves with a private guide, viewing beautiful glowworms and trying out different cave photography techniques such as hand-triggered flashes, and flashlight painting. We even saw a dangerous fresh-water eel.
The late afternoon was spent photographing farmland, goats and pigs.
Day #2 – We did a 12 mile, 7 hour world-famous hike called the Tongariro crossing, across volcanic craters, blue lakes, shrubs and thick forest. That evening we hand fed a local magpie that had lost its parents, and was under the watch of the hotel manager.
Day #3 – We drove to Wellington, rode the cable car up to the botanical gardens and enjoyed a nice dinner in the city.
Day #4 – We took the ferry across to the South Island, drove to the Abel Tasman area where we stayed in a cottage with beautiful gardens and enjoyed the company of many doves.
Day #5 & 6 – we did a two-day sea kayak trip on our own in the Abel Tasman Sea, bringing our own food and tent. We saw sea lions and several blue penguins. The scenery was breathtaking, and one afternoon we had to battle gale-force winds for a while, but we persevered and made it to our destinations.
Day #7 – We traveled down the beautiful west coast of the south island during a rainstorm, visited a sea lion colony and witnessed probably hundreds of waterfalls. We rented a beautiful cedar house for 2 nights.
Day #8 – We put on crampons and hiked up the famous Franz Joseph glacier. Wow – what an experience! Beautiful blue ice, various ice formations. Fell on ice & dropped the camera several times but no damage was done.
Day #9 – We left the glacier area, driving over the mountains through the Haas pass, witnessing dozens of waterfalls. We arrived in beautiful Wanaka, where we rented a cottage for 3 nights with the most scenic views imaginable.
Day #10 – We did an all-day hike up to the Rob Roy glacier view. This hike was filled with amazing beauty. We spent lots of time watching families of free-roaming sheep, and also spent time with several Kea birds. A Kea is an extremely intelligent alpine parrot. We also witnessed several small avalanches on the glacier.
Day #11 – We did a morning hike in Wanaka, and traveled through Queenstown to beautiful Te Anau, gateway to the famous Milford sound.
Day #12 – The 2 hour drive to Milford sound is one of the most scenic drives in the world. We arrived early, boarded a dive boat did two cold, amazing dives in Milford sound. After waiting in a restaurant for a couple hours to off-gas, we drove back across the mountain pass, stopping several times for nature photography.
Day #13 – This was a day of hiking and nature photography in the stunning area between Te Anau and Milford sound.
Day #14 – Travel day. Fly to Queenstown, fly to Auckland via Christchurch, and fly home to Los Angeles.
Camera Equipment used: