On 20th October 2014, I embarked on a solo journey through the ridiculously beautiful landscape of New Zealand. 5 weeks of climbing mountains, walked one of the New Zealand's greatest walk, hiked on a glacier, jumped off the plane at 15000 ft, hitchhiked with strangers, made new friends and spent some quality time with each of them.
It was one of the best time of my life and it would be a shame if I let these memories decayed and lost over time so when I arrived in Auckland on the 21st October 2014, I came up with the idea to take photos of my back with the breathtaking sceneries of New Zealand and I continued to capture each and every places I went throughout my trip.
"Follow me and I'll show you the world"
The reason I chose to capture my back instead of my face like most people do is because the back photo gives a sense of you following someone, which in this case following me through the heart of New Zealand. It makes the photos less personal than an ordinary portrait and more interesting than generic nature photos. I would say, it is the best of both worlds.
Sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.
- The Tongariro Alpine Crossing
- Abel Tasman
- Franz Josef
- Ben Lomond, Queenstown
- Milford Sound
- Routeburn Track
- Lake Tekapo
- Lake Pukaki
- Mt Cook
Landed in Auckland in the afternoon and decided to go for a walk up Mt Eden.
Wai-o-Tapu, the thermal wonderland. One of the most colorful place by nature I've seen so far.
The bad side about walking around an active thermal area was that you ended up smelling like a god damn boiled egg all day.
The Redwood park in Rotorua was where I understood why New Zealand is the best country in the world. Nature, nature and more nature!
Just a tiny man among giants.
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing
People claimed that the Tongariro Crossing is the best one day walk in all New Zealand. I have to agree!
I had the option to walk the normal crossing for 6 hours or climb Mt Doom and walk for 8 hours. Of course I chose the harder path. I'm not gonna be here forever!
This was me at the crater of Mt Doom (Mt Ngauruhoe). Nothing like you see in Lord of the Rings. :)
The view was worth the 3 hours extra hike, especially on a day like this. You could see from coast to coast.
If there is a place for me to hang my foot down the abyss, I would go for it, every single time!
The infamous emerald lake
The colors of lakes and rivers here in New Zealand were just ridiculous!
Kia Ora. Welcome to the South Island. After a day in Wellington, I took the Interislander cruise and landed at the gateway of the South Island, Picton.
I went for a 3 hours walk along the Snout track and arrived at the Snout head with the grand view of the Queen Charlotte Sound.
The sound stretched as far as the eye could see.
In the morning it was sunny, by midday the clouds started to form again. The weather changed so fast in New Zealand.
A much needed rest in Nelson, trying out all the coffees and cafes.
Janie Seddon Shipwreck near the coast of Motueka.
The shipwreck was illuminated by the light from Nelson and the stars.
I did a one day trip along the beach of the Abel Tasman from Torrent Bay to Onetahuti bay.
The trail was relatively easy so it was a fun walk with a decent view.
The color of the water down here still amazed me until this day. How could it be so vibrant!?
So this is what an un-commercialized beach is like. Coming from Thailand, this was new to me.
All the essentials I'd packed that day.
This was Cape Foulwind and from my brief time there, I understood completely why they named it that.
Biking against the wind for an hour in the rain wasn't ideal but the view was worth it.
A good lunch spot with an appetizing view.
Explored Franz Josef a bit before going for the ice climb the next day.
The southern alps was finally within reach.
The ice climb trip was canceled due to strong wind so I decided to go for a walk instead.
Nothing like a morning walk alone along the river with a view of a snowy mountain.
As I approached closer to the glacier, I realized the true result of global warming.
200 years ago, the rock I stood on would have been buried deep under the glacier.
I gave the Ice climb another go, the next day and I was not disappointed!
Everyone's worst nightmare is the moment when you realize you are stuck in a narrow passage between 2 ices that weighed several tons, and you cant go back. I literally had to bend every parts of my body to slid through it. Thank god for the frictionless ice!
The road from Franz Josef to Wanaka was ridiculously scenic. Mountains and lakes all around!
Atop Mt Iron overlooking the town of Wanaka.
"Brace yourself. The storm is coming"
The lone tree in the middle of the lake.
It was the perfect day to walk around the lake. Wanaka was breathtaking, no matter where you look.
It took me an hour to walk around the lake. At the end of the walk, I was rewarded with a panoramic view of the mountain range.
Ben Lomond, Queenstown
It was extremely windy when I climbed Ben Lomond near Queenstown, but I did reach the summit and got a very dramatic view of the mountain.
Yes, this was the same day as the photo above, just 30 minutes apart. The weather in New Zealand is unpredictable!
The Remarkables and Queenstown from the Ben Lomond saddles. I would say, it was worth a day hike!
On my way to the Milford Sound. This was when I started to realize how ridiculously the landscapes are around the Fiordland. It was beautiful, the bus I took had windows on top of the bus!
Statistically, the Milford Sound rains 200 days year round and I was there on the day it did NOT rain!
The scenery were like out of the King Kong movie. Everything is tremendous compare to puny human like us.
The Routeburn track, one of the greatest walk in New Zealand. The Routeburn track is a 3 days hike that takes you through beautiful valleys and lakes around the Fiordland National Park.
Our stop for the first night, the Lake Mackenzie.
The next day was a little brutal. There was a snowstorm and I was unable to see anything for almost the whole trail. The good thing was the mountains were covered in snow the next day.
Since I was unable to see anything the previous day, I decided to wake up early and backtrack to see what it looked like on a good day.
It was worth the extra effort. I mean, look at that view!
As we were going down, we spotted a very nice field so we rested there for a wee bit.
By we, I mean, me, Ashley, whom I met in Rotorua and I decided to meet her up again to do the Routeburn together with her sister, Rachel. It was so random which is why I love traveling so much!
I celebrated my 26th birthday by jumping 15000 feet off the plane overlooking Queenstown and The Remarkables.
My dream to skydive in New Zealand had finally come true!
The color of the water in Lake Tekapo was so vibrant that for a few moment, I thought someone photoshopped it.
A flower field, a lake and me.
Me and my good old friend, the stars on a dreamy night at the Church of Good Shephard.
A little stop at Lake Pukaki before heading to Mt Cook.
The Hooker Valley track, a 3 hours trail that led me from the town to the heart of Mt Cook.
It started to snow as we approached the end of the trail. It was still beautiful nonetheless.
Had a blast at one of the whitest beach I have ever seen, the Aramoana Beach and was reunited for the last time with my good friends from the Routeburn Track, Ashley and Rachel.
Said goodbye to my friends from Routeburn and had some lone times at the Botanic garden.
I ended up spending my last few moments in Dunedin with Tulu (whom I had met at Lake Taupo) and Yvonne. Time well spent, with amazing travel people.
Scott, whom Tulu and Yvonne knew from hitchhiking showed us around Dunedin. This was the St Clair beach before sunset.
Last day of my trip in New Zealand. Felt a litter bitter as I was starting to get used to the norm here in New Zealand.
Me, Tulu and Yvonne drove to the Tunnel Beach as I tried to absorbed the most of New Zealand as I could before I departed.
5 weeks had come and gone. I can only hope these sweet memories will stay with me forever.
Do you enjoy this type of photography? Should I continue doing it for all my future trips? Feel free to let me know in the comments below or tweet me here: @peachananr
The Solo Traveler’s Journal is a series of posts by BucketListly where we will follow our founder, Pete Rojwongsuriya around the world as he singlehandedly travel alone and experience different cultures, people, and historical locations one country at a time.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links.