When Nature’s magic wand blessed New Zealand, it did so with such vigour that most earthly creatures leave this place a little bit changed. Its breathtakingly beautiful landscapes get’s you right in the heart, and you feel it physically and emotionally.

I first visited New Zealand in 2000. I was picking up my Australian resident visa, to return to Australia a provision permanent resident and it was to become one of many more visits, as we took the journey over on our own and with friends to snowboard and hot tub in winter and hike, fly fish and road trip during the summer. We’ve spent most of our time exploring the South Island, well suited to our outdoor adventures, although the North Island is equally beautiful and is high on our explorer list for the future.

The pictures in this series are from our most recent July visit with San Francisco and Tassie friends, with the majority taken on the road trip my son and I took on our last rest day from the snowy mountains. The sun blessed us and we stopped on the way to take in and capture the scenery right from Wanaka’s Cardrona over the Crown Range all the way to Queenstown.

The colours, textures and majestic structures around us were simply breathtaking and the next day we realised our luck as when we took off from Queenstown Airport – the beautiful scenes from only hours before were gone, the mountain range now covered in an eery fog with the range barely visible.

An additional attraction of the country is the spectacular wine and food of New Zealand, which is there to be enjoyed all year around. I can’t help but recommend Saffron Restaurant for some of the best cuisine in the country. Located in Arrowtown, between Queenstown and Wanaka, we’ve been lucky enough to eat there twice with a ten year gap in-between sittings, and after our second visit there this July, I’m pleased to say its still right up there as one og our favourite dining experiences ever.

Do your heart a favour and go and experience New Zealand’s magic if you ever get the chance. Hobbits, Lords and Kings firmly agree with my sentiment.

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