New Zealand Roads Part 2

This article, New Zealand Roads Part 2, features photographs captured while driving on various roads on the South Island.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 10mm, efov 27mm, f/8, 1/125, ISO-800

As you approach Slope Point on the extreme southern end of the South Island you will notice trees that have been bent and shaped by the strong, harsh winds. These can make for some very unusual photographs. I noticed a few similar image opportunities on the west cost of the South Island when driving north from the town of Haast.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 10mm, efov 27mm, f/7.1, 1/1000, ISO-800

Unfortunately our visit to Cosy Nook was on a rainy, blustery day so my images fell short of my expectations. This was especially true since the rain was being driven hard across the harbour toward the small settlement. A visit on a day with a sun/cloud mix could have yielded some very pleasant images.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 13.6mm, efov 36.7mm, f/8, 1/1000, ISO-400

As you drive north along Lake Wakatipu on State Highway 6 towards Queenstown you will come to the Devil’s Staircase. This stretch of road has numerous curves, along with different elevations, and is quite scenic.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 17mm, efov 46mm, f/5.6, 1/500, ISO-160

Another beautiful drive is from Queenstown to Glenorchy along the shore of Lake Wakatipu. There are a number of good lookouts along the 44km (27 mile) route that can yield some beautiful images. Glenorchy seems to have its own micro-climate. Both times we have made this drive we left Queenstown under bright, sunny skies and by the time we reached Glenorchy it was overcast and rainy. Nevertheless, it is a beautiful, scenic drive.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 10mm, efov 27mm, f/5.6, 1/125, ISO-400

The Gates of Haast is a series of rapids that are traversed by a one lane bridge. When driving on the Haast Highway you will also be able to visit Thundercreek Falls, Fantail Falls and the Blue Pools. I plan to include these locations in my upcoming New Zealand photography e-book.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 64mm, efov 173mm, f/5.6, 1/500, ISO-160

I used a longer focal length to capture the scene above in order to compress various image elements and to accentuate the undulating road. The photograph depicts the type of driving you’ll find on much of the South Island.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 10mm, efov 27mm, f/8, 1/640, ISO-160

Driving north from Wanaka will take you on some beautiful roads with grand vistas. You’ll often see motorcyclists along these scenic routes. I got permission to include one owner’s motorcycle in the above image.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 10mm, efov 27mm, f/8, – 1/3 EV, 1/400, ISO-160

The scenes above and below are representative of many of the scenes on roads on the South Island, especially along the west coast highway.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 10mm, efov 27mm, f/5.6, 1/160, ISO-160

We visited New Zealand during the recent earthquake that cut-off the town of Kaikoura with huge rock slides. It also caused damage as far north as Wellington, the capital city, which is located at the bottom of the North Island.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 100mm, efov 270mm, f/7.1, 1/200, ISO-800

While we saw very little earthquake damage first hand, this piece of road on Queen Charlotte Drive did sustain some good sized cracks causing a section to drop away. Given the instability of one lane of the road and the steep cliff-side drop we exercised some caution while driving past.

If you enjoyed this article you may want to have a look at New Zealand Tip-to-Tip. This 250 page eBook features 89 locations in New Zealand and over 400 original photographs. You can use the link to see more detailed information about the eBook. The cost of New Zealand Tip-to-Tip is $12.99 Canadian.


My intent is to keep this photography blog advertising free. If you enjoyed this article and/or my website and would like to make a modest $10 donation through PayPal to support my work it would be most appreciated. You can use the Donate button below. Larger donations can be made to through PayPal.

Article and all images are Copyright 2016 Thomas Stirr. All rights reserved. No use, duplication or adaptation of any kind is allowed without written consent. If you see this article reproduced anywhere else it is an unauthorized and illegal use.

3 thoughts on “New Zealand Roads Part 2”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *