The Idea and Our Arrival
June 2012 my friend Barb and I were on a photo trip to the Palouse and Columbia River Gorge, sitting in the car debating whether to go back out into the rain to take more pictures when she got a text from her son Matt. He was in New Zealand working on Hobbity things and it got us talking and quickly texting about a possibility of a photo trip to the land of kiwis (and hobbits). Fast forward a year and a half and plans were made and I’m now in â€œMiddle Earthâ€ for 2-1/2 weeks with both Barb and Matt!
Our general arrival to NZ went fine, it was the getting to Christchurch that was a bit crazy. We were introduced to kiwi customer service world… which is to say, they don’t really care. We had a tight connection but thought we’d have enough time but as it turned out when you’ve got a few extra pounds of camera gear, it’s not as easy to sneak past the scales and when they tell you to redistribute into bags that are already the exact weight allowed, you don’t have a lot of options. Long story short, since our checked bags were already on the plane and they were announcing our names over the loud speaker they realized that we should probably be on that plane as well so we got the express route to the plane- escorted to the front of security and directly to the gate, as the kiwis say (supposedly I don’t think i’ve heard it yet) â€“ SWEET AS! Course the 20 people in line behind us that were still waiting as the customer service woman escorted us and just left the counter empty probably didn’t agree!
Due to our exhaustion we didn’t get a lot of time in CHC to explore. Barb’s son joined us and we enjoyed a lovely dinner after driving around the city centre. It’s kind of crazy to see all the destruction that still haunts the city â€“ empty lots, blocked off streets and areas, buildings in pieces or being held up w/ huge metal supports. But what’s really amazing is how they are making the best of a crappy situation â€“ fun art installations in the empty lots, cool art on the brick walls, and the storage container mall. A temporary (yet somewhat long term) shopping mall where they stacked colorful storage containers on top of one another to once again offer a shopping area downtown.
Off to Middle Earth!
We just had the one night in CHC, but had a full nights sleep after our long flight and a long day, so the next morning we were all ready to start our adventure and start really exploring Middle Earth. Our first main destination was Edoras aka Mt. Sunday (although they’ve officially changed its name to Edoras due to the movies). It’d been raining since our arrival and it continued to rain as we worked our way out to the fairly remote area. I found it pretty exciting and fun to hit my first LoTR site knowing it would be the first of many on our trip.
We enjoyed a nice little lunch at the station and after a few more photo ops worked our way back toward civilization. We drove south and came upon our first (of many) insanely blue lakes â€“ Lake Tekapo. We decided to go directly up to Mt. John Observatory to check out the view. It was spectacular! There were lovely multi-colored lupines on the hillside. We crawled in and around them and enjoyed the aroma while breathing the fresh air and enjoying the breathtaking view.
We continued on to Lake Pukaki and got a sneak peak of a Hobbit filming location, which i may post later but wanted to get some images up… View more images at New Zealand 2014 Picasa Album and there are many more to come!