Wanaka is a small town between the West Coast and Queenstown. It is most well-known for being right on the shore of the beautiful Lake Wanaka.

The most popular destination for hikers is Roy’s Peak. From the top, you can see the surrounding lake, mountains and town. Knowing that I wanted to put myself in the best place at the best time to get the best photographs, I planned to camp up at the top, despite the discouraging comments I received from the Department of Conservation ranger.

Well, as you might expect, it was absolutely freezing up there once the sun went down; so no star photography happened. And even though the weather was a hiker’s dream, unfortunately, it wasn’t a photographer’s dream. Sunset and sunrise were beautiful, however, not ideal for interesting photographs.

Now if you’ve ever delved into the world of New Zealand photography, chances are you’ve seen a little tree that lives in Wanaka. This tree, known as The Wanaka Tree, was not on my list. In fact, it was simply too much of a cliche for me to visit and photograph. However, after a few days I gave in and here is my obligatory photo of The Wanaka Tree.

I’ve been making it a habit to get into water when photographing features around water in order to get some photographs that are more unique than the photos you’ll find online. This photo was one of those instances. You should have seen all the Chinese tourists trying to replicate my shot without getting wet.
And while in Wanaka, I missed out on visiting the Rob Roy Glacier (which requires a 4WD vehicle), but I did visit the local Paradiso Theatre to see the new Kiwi film, Hunt for the Wilderpeople. With freshly baked cookies at intermission and a movie with a great sense of humor, it was a great experience.

And Kiwis love it when they find out I went to see one of their local films.