A selection of the best photographs I took during my year exploring the lands of New Zealand.
The photos are accompanied by a souvenir associated with the place.
I present here my selection for the South Island.


The Railway station - Dunedin - New Zealand - © Claire Blumenfeld

In a winter twilight

Train station
Dunedin – South Island
The station appears before me in the last light of day. The coldness of the air penetrates my skin but it does not matter. I am dazzled by the beauty of the architecture. Although modest in size, it is one of the most beautiful station I have seen.

 

Kereru (New Zealand wood pigeon) - Botanic Garden - Dunedin - New Zealand - © Claire Blumenfeld

A king on his branch

Botanical Garden
Dunedin – South Island
Wandering in the aviary of the botanical garden I come across a king sitting on his branch. A Kereru warms his feathers in the sun. It does not move, letting me appreciate the beauty of its colors and its impressive size. Thank you, Your Highness!

 

The Otago Peninsula - Dunedin - New Zealand - © Claire Blumenfeld

Comme une peinture

Otago Peninsula
Dunedin – South Island
We walk across the peninsula, Sophie and I, trying to find a place to eat. The wind is strong and cold. Luckily, near Portobello, the sun finally breaks the clouds and warms us while illuminating the landscape.

 

Nugget Point - The Catlins - New Zealand - © Claire Blumenfeld

Drops of stones

Nugget Point
The Catlins – South Island
I head for the lighthouse at the end of the world. Beyond, small rocks advance in the sea slowly devoured by the waves. The location comes with a scary and soothing sensation that attracts me.

 

View of the cows shed in the morning - Dairy Farm - Southland - New Zealand - © Claire Blumenfeld

The light of Heaven

A dairy farm near Invercargill
Southland – South Island
The morning milking went well. The cows are getting used to me pulling their udders to extract milk. I leave the shed to go home wrapped in a surreal morning light. Behind me, I can see the gateway to Paradise.

 

Stirling Falls - Milford Sound - Fiordland - New Zealand - © Claire Blumenfeld

The beauty of Fiordland

Milford Sound
Fiordland – South Island
In the distance, between two giants, Stirling Falls emerges as an apparition, illuminated by a ray of light. Not a sound, except the rustling of the water. I feel like Frodo and Sam drifting on the waters of the Anduin River.

 

Milford Sound - Fiordland - New Zealand - © Claire Blumenfeld

Back from the sea

Milford Sound
Fiordland – South Island
Our cruise captain provides explanations that I listen with only one ear, my mind being busy marveling at the beauty of the fjord. A small fishing boat passes our side followed by a swarm of seagulls. He probably has crayfish in his cargo.

 

Deep Cove - Doubtful Sound - Fiordland - New Zealand - © Claire Blumenfeld

Usual rainy day in Fiordland

Doubtful Sound
Fiordland – South Island
We finally reach Deep Cove, the beginning of Doubtful Sound. The fjord is shrouded in mist and it’s raining. But the water is perfectly still and the atmosphere is peaceful. I am seized by a radiant feeling of power emanating from the place.

 

Overnight Kayak - Doubtful Sound - Fiordland - New Zealand - © Claire Blumenfeld

Wild nature

Deep Cove
Fiordland – South Island
My heart squeezes as we leave Doubtful Sound. Like I was leaving something behind me. An impression of being one with nature. A reminiscence of my animal nature. A sensation of truth.

 

Overnight Kayak - Doubtful Sound - Fiordland - New Zealand - © Claire Blumenfeld

Din the immensity of a Sound

Hall Arm
Fiordland – South Island
We bring our kayaks on a tiny beach. The weather is cloudy with lights. The power of nature seems to be palpable. I could almost grab it with my hands. The air seems different. Around me buzzes hundreds of Sandflies in search of a piece of skin to suck.

 

Kea - Kepler Track - Fiordland - New Zealand - © Claire Blumenfeld

In the eyes of a Kea

Kepler Track
Fiordland – South Island
While I eat my meal quietly on the crest of the Kepler Mountains, a group of six Kea land a few meters from me! They search the bushes for seeds while slowly approaching me. They are interested in my meal! We exchange glances and I have the impression that a silent communication takes place between us.

 

Kepler Track - Fiordland - New Zealand - © Claire Blumenfeld

In the jungle of Fiordland

Kepler Track
Fiordland – South Island
I go down into a beech forest covered with lichen, moss and ferns. The descent is tough. During a short break, I find myself facing a Tomtit fluttering around me. Below, there is a Rifleman, the smallest bird in New Zealand. The nature is beautiful.

 

Lake Mackenzie - Routeburn Track - Fiordland - New Zealand - © Claire Blumenfeld

Quiet morning

Routeburn Track
Fiordland – South Island
After a quiet night spent in the campsite, I wake up under an extraordinary weather. Mackenzie Lake and the Glacial Circus are illuminated by a perfect light. I am alone, most hikers are already gone. Leaving the lake behind me is almost difficult.

 

View of Lake Mackenzie - Routeburn Track - Fiordland - New Zealand - © Claire Blumenfeld

Natural gift

Routeburn Track
Fiordland – South Island
The first part of the trail climbs quite rigorously through a beautiful beech forest to reach the alpine meadows. The view of the valley and Mackenzie Lake is amazing. I spend a long time contemplating the variations of colors following the passage of the clouds.

 

View of the Routeburn valley - Routeburn Track - Fiordland - New Zealand - © Claire Blumenfeld

The shape of a glacial valley

Routeburn Track
Fiordland – South Island
I arrive at the Routeburn Falls hut where a splendid view awaits me. The refuge is built on piloris above the valley where the Route Burn River flows with dazzling blue reflections. On a broad in the hut, it is written “Take care of the planet, it is the only one with chocolate”.

 

Queenstown - New Zealand - © Claire Blumenfeld

Beauty and Tourism

Queenstown, Wakatipu Lake and the Remarkables in the background
Queenstown – South Island
Without the hordes of tourists and the incessant sound of jet-boats on the lake, Queenstown would be one of the most beautiful places in New Zealand. The region is a jewel of snow-capped mountains, glacial valleys and sparkling lakes and rivers. But the silence has disappeared. And the nature is swallowed by thousands of tourists in search of adventure.

 

Summit of Ben Lomond peak - Queenstown - New Zealand - © Claire Blumenfeld

Son the roof of the world

Ben Lomond peak
Queenstown – South Island
After six hours of climbing under a blazing sun, I reach the summit of Ben Lomond peak. A 360° snow-covered mountains fill the horizon. I could spend hours losing myself in the contemplation of the landscape.

 

Friendly chaffinch - Queenstown - Fiordland - New Zealand - © Claire Blumenfeld

Surprising encounter

Town center
Queenstown – South Island
While eating an empanada, a red feathered finch, settles on my knee. He does not seem at all afraid of being in the human presence. Only food interests him. He flutters around me, settles on my backpack and then on my knee again. I give him a few crumbs in thanks for allowing me to see him so closely.

 

Wakatipu Lake - Otago - New Zealand - © Claire Blumenfeld

Mystical mountains

On the road to Glenorchy
Lake Wakatipu – South Island
I wake up in cloudy weather. My tent is covered with dew and the mountains around me are bathed in mist. Some rays of sun draw colors on the flanks of these natural giants.

 

Heather Jock Hut - Mt Judah Track - Glenorchy - Otago - New Zealand - © Claire Blumenfeld

Home sweet home

Mont Judah track
Glenorchy – South Island
The tiny refuge appears on the heights of the mountain. Perched high on the hillside, the Heather Jock Hut offers me a breathtaking view of the valley below. Three beds, a small table and a mouse in search of food. And nature around me. A little corner of paradise.

 

Lake Diamond and Paradise - Views from Mt Alfred - Glenorchy - Otago - New Zealand - © Claire Blumenfeld

Paradise

Diamond Lake from Mount Alfred
Glenorchy – South Island
Five hours of challenging climbing to reach the summit of Mount Alfred, a mountain in the middle of the Glenorchy Valley. Below, the Diamond Lake dazzles me with its turquoise color. Paradise, the tiny hamlet built on its edge is rightly named.

 

Views from Mt Alfred - Glenorchy - Otago - New Zealand - © Claire Blumenfeld

Patterns

Mouth of the Dart River from Mount Alfred
Glenorchy – South Island
From the top of Mount Alfred, I realize how beautiful the Dart River is. She splits into small arms throwing herself into Lake Wakatipu. From the top, his patterns resemble an abstract painting.

 

Otago - New Zealand - © Claire Blumenfeld

Playing in water

Shotover River
Queenstown – South Island
I cross the Shotover River on an old bridge following a bike path from Queenstown to Arrowtown. Small silhouettes play in the water. I look at them, a little envious.

 

 

View of Glendhu Bay - Skyline Track - Wanaka - Otago - New Zealand - © Claire Blumenfeld

 

Glendhu Bay

From Roy’s Peak
Wanaka – South Island
From the summit of Roy’s Peak, the view of Glendhu Bay is magnificent. I see, below, the campsite where I stay. It seems both very small and very large.

 

Mt Cook and Lake Pukaki - Canterbury - New Zealand - © Claire Blumenfeld

End of the day

Pukaki Lake
Mount Cook National Park – South Island
Reaching Mount Cook was not a pleasure for my legs. The road is pretty hilly and cycling, despite the beauty of the landscape, remains difficult. But standing at the foot of the giant at the end of the day is worth all the aches and pains of the world.

 

Mueller Hut - Sealy Range - Aoraki / Mt Cook National Park - Canterbury - New Zealand - © Claire Blumenfeld

Red dots

Mueller Hut
Mount Cook National Park – South Island
The hut is superb. Built in red sheet, it illuminates the circus made of red rocks while blending perfectly into the landscape. I appreciate it instantly. A touch of design at the top of the mountain.

 

Sealy Tarns and Moraine Wall - Aoraki / Mt Cook National Park - Canterbury - New Zealand - © Claire Blumenfeld

Geological layers

Mueller Hut Track
Mount Cook National Park – South Island
Going down from the summit, I admire the landscape that lies before me. Mueller Lake, its glacier and the small pond sparkle in the sun. The colors are incredible. Milky white to copper red.

 

West Coast - New Zealand - © Claire Blumenfeld

Mist from the sea

Somewhere on the road before Westport
West Coast – South Island
The last two days cycling along the West Coast are the most beautiful. I follow the road that winds along the coast. It’s hot and the spray looks like fog making the place almost magical.

 

Abel Tasman Track - Tasman region - New Zealand - © Claire Blumenfeld

Little corner of paradise

A small beach along the coast
Abel Tasman National Park – South Island
As I walk along the path, a white glow in the distance catches my eye. A tiny bay unfolds in a gap in the forest that covers the Abel Tasman coastline. In the lens of my camera I distinguish two silhouettes with a red kayak.

 

Awaroa Bay - Abel Tasman Track - Tasman region - New Zealand - © Claire Blumenfeld

Blue variations

Awaroa Bay
Abel Tasman National Park – South Island
After two hours of climbing under a radiant but exhausting sun I discover, thanks to a gap in the shrubs which surround the path, a magnificent landscape. Low tide reveals its color variations in Awaroa Bay.

 

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