I'm Candace and I'm a destination wedding & portrait photographer based out of the Washington, D.C. area. Chances are you won't find me in the DMV for too long. Come and explore my corner of the world with me!
I’m not gonna lie. I almost completely forgot all about sharing the last part of my trip to New Zealand… and its been almost 2 months since I’ve been home!!!! OOPS. Flash back a bit, I was leaving one of the most gorgeous spots my eye balls have ever seen, Milford Sound, and made my way to Queenstown for a fun couples session at Coronets Peak. I had a blast frolicking on the mountain side with Talia and Arwid. Total babes! After my quickie stop with them, I made my way to Lake Hawea – which is just beside Lake Wanaka. I got here well after dark so I had no idea what I was in for when I woke up. It was the prettiest day and the reflection on the lake was stunning. Im gonna be pretty frank, everything is pretty in New Zealand =P.
That morning I was SUPER pumped for what was next. I had a super easy drive towards Mt Cook where I was going to camp for 2 nights and hike the hooker valley track. Any way you drive, you’re in for some stunning views. On my way to my campsite, I stopped in Omarama and hit up the Clay Cliffs. You would never know that these beats were here. They aren’t really “advertised” except for maybe one sign in town. Its a super easy hike only moderately uphill. These cliffs were massive and so dang pretty! I pulled up, cooked myself some lunch and explored a bit. I got my tourist on.
Had to fly the drone over these bad boys. They look good from above too. Not surprised though.
I got to camp rather early which was nice because I was able to drive around and find what I believe to be the best dang spot at the whole campground. I had the perfect view of Mt. Cook and all its glory two nights in a row. I stayed at the Glentanner Holiday park and it was perfect. They even have lake access and super nice facilities. I highly recommend if you wanna stay close to Mt. Cook.
I think I took over 75 photos of this view over the course of the two nights I stayed there. The sunsets were unbelievable and the starry skies at night. UNREAL.
I only had one hike I absolutely knew I had to do while I was on the south. It was honestly the main reason I opted to head to Mt. Cook in the first place. The Hooker Valley track. Its pretty dang famous. Its a “leisurely” stroll that takes about 3-3.5 hours round trip, 10km and is DRAW DROPPING the entire way. The entire time you are on the VERY well maintained track, you have views of glaciers along the Hooker river. You go over a few swing bridges – which are super shakey but safe – up a few stairs here and there and along a boardwalk. You eventually make it to the glacial lake at the bottom of Mt. Cook. The sun will cook you here, I think most of my tan came from this hike alone, but the views at the end are worth it. You also can head down to the lake and stick your feet in. I saw a man go for a swim…. because how often can you say you went for a swim in a glacial fed lake?
My last day in New Zealand and it was a relaxing one. I had no plans other than heading to Christchurch and watching some Netflix. I made just one pit stop at Castle Hill to hike around the rocks. These limestone boulders are massive and there were a crap top of rock climbers here. I think I saw around 20 or so people climbing up these rocks. Brave people! After my quick stop I headed to my campsite and called it a night. Leaving New Zealand was the hardest day of my life. I fell in love with this magical country and Im so sad its so far away. Im eagerly waiting for me return back to a nature lovers paradise.
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