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When I landed in Queenstown after literally flying between the mountains, I was confused by the announcement of the flight attendant: "Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Queenstown. Please don't use your camera while walking to the terminal." But as soon as I stepped out, I saw why. Before me a mountain chain, so breathtaking it was difficult to not to get my camera out of my backpack and set up camp.
No wonder, why Peter Jackson thinks, that his home country is Middle Earth. The mountains, the valleys and the skies of the South Island of New Zealand are just incomparable to anything on this planet.
From day one you can't stop taking pictures. New Zealand is heaven for any photography. Nature, Landscape, Sky, Night, Astronomy, Animal.... You name it...
This picture was taken on day 5, on the western banks of Lake Tekapo. A must-go. You start following a small one-lane paved country road. Before this road turns into a gravel track, you already abandoned your car on the side of the road just to walk and take in this beautiful place multiple times. With every turn to make you get a different view. It is impossible to find a boring spot.
The lake is one of the biggest one in New Zealand. Surrounded by a plateau that inhabits thick wild grass and bushes on the left side and rabbits and a more rocky landscape on the right. The lake's colour is this really strong turquoise, as if this lake is the base for every lake in a children's colour or fairy tale book.
All this is surrounded by a mountain chain. In the evening, when it gets cooler and clouds are moving in, they don't cover the tops. The clouds move between the mountains down the sides as if they were a big, slow avalanche.
You actually can't drive around the lake. When you are done with exploring one side, you have drive that round back to the village at the southern tip of the lake. Then you take the road, which takes you along the other side. Both roads don't meet. They keep going into the mountains until glaciers and rivers stop you.
I spent a full day driving up and down, and didn't managed to see everything.
As mentioned earlier, it is a must-go. Not only because of the landscape. The area around it is a Dark Sky Territory. You can come here for star gazing and astro-photography.
Even though the village doesn't offer much in terms of culture and activities, I could have easily spent a whole week here.