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South Island - Winter Wonderland

I am normally not a fan of the cold, and as a family we have traditionally gone to warmer climes for our holidays. That may very well change based on our recent trip to New Zealand's South Island. The holiday was organised for my 40th Birthday and included a 5 day photography tour with One of a Kind Photography Adventures.

We all flew into Queenstown, albeit with a fair bit of turbulence on the way down. We were captivated by the snow capped peaks, blue water lakes and deep valleys on the way in.

Three nights in Queenstown were supplemented with a trip up on the Skyline Gondola and a few Luge rides down. The views from the top of Skyline are absolutely amazing - Lake Wakitipu, The Remarkables and Queenstown itself.

The next day we took our first ski trip up to Coronet Peak. Three of the family are good skiers - yours truly not so, but we had a great day nonetheless. Our journey to Wanaka took us via the beautiful town of Arrowtown, a place lost in the past, but beautiful all the same. I would love to visit here in Autumn to see the changing of colour on the trees. We then stopped at Highlands Motorsport Park near Cromwell and took the boys through the museum and on the Go-Kart track. Awesome experience for all.

We arrived in Wanaka and I think it was love at first sight for all of us. It is just beautiful surrounded by snow capped mountains. The boys and I went to Puzzling World, getting lost in a maze and being bamboozled by optical illusions, while Sonia enjoyed her Christmas present - a three hour pamper session at Sanctuary Day Spa.

Thursday 18th June signified the start of my OOAK adventure. I caught the bus from Wanaka, an easy two and a bit hour ride to Tekapo, to meet up with the rest of the crew. Almost as soon as we departed the snow started falling and just got heavier and heavier, until we eventually got stuck in a ditch on Lindis Pass. Thankfully I got off the bus and hitched a ride with three Chinese tourists. We eventually got stuck in the quaint town of Twizel for the night, and most of the next day. The rest of the OOAK crew got stuck in Fairlie, coming in from Christchurch. I was the lucky one - I had power. The snow was deep and fell through most of the night - travel the next day was not looking promising. The road was eventually cleared and a couple from Tekapo gave me a lift and I met up with Timothy Poulton, Jake Anderson and the rest of the crew at The Church of the Good Shepherd on the shore of Lake Tekapo.

The rest of the OOAK Adventure was spent on early mornings capturing the first rays of light peeking over the snow capped mountain tops, making impromptu stops on the side of the road to take photos of beautiful trees covered in Hoar Frost or gazing in awe at the Milky Way on clear nights.

The highlight of the OOAK adventure was a tramp up to Roy's Peak, near Wanaka. As we were unable to get to Mt Cook due to snow falls, it as decided that we would hike up to one of the most spectacular sunset views I have ever seen. The last third of the trek was through knee deep snow, but worth every ounce of soreness the next day.

We finished up at Moeraki Boulders for a sunrise shoot before heading to Christchurch, where I again met up with the family and spent a few days exploring the city.

A massive thanks to Tim Poukton and Jake Anderson for guiding us through the wonders of the South Island. I am certainly looking forward to my next One of A Kind Adventure!!!!!

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