Image credit – Pinterest
If there is a place in the world no nature enthusiast should miss no doubt the South Island of New Zealand it is. The landscapes there are simply breathtaking, so diverse you can’t imagine such a small country has it all. Throughout this wonderful island are stunning beaches and thrilling waterfalls, turquoise lakes and snow-capped mountains; the list is literally endless. Although so small you only need a few hours to traverse, you a likely to spend days in the blissful amazement of this country.
Take your camera with you. This is a place to remember through the rest of your lifetime. In that regard, below are the most photogenic places on The South Island of New Zealand.
Found on Koekohe Beach, these strange-looking, large spherical concretions rank among nature’s oddest and astonishing sights. Eroded from the shoreline, some of these boulders are up to 2 meters in diameter. The best time to view these natural wonders is at sunset, and some visitors say they look like dragon eggs waiting to hatch.
Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand
Image credit – Canvas Factory
At the top end of the South Island, you’ll find an amazing geological occurrence. The Marlborough Sounds are a collection of sunken river valleys, where the ocean has reclaimed the land. The stunning contrast of thick forested hills sinking steeply into the ocean creates some wonderful opportunities for photography.
Church of the Good Shepherd
One of the most visited historical sites in New Zealand, the Church of the Good Shepherd is located in Mackenzie Country area. Located right within the international dark sky reserve in, the placement of the church means you can capture some of the most amazing astrophotographical shots imaginable. Any astrophotography enthusiast visiting must see this little chapel, located in the famous Tekapo region.
St Clair’s Beach – Dunedin
St. Clair’s is a stunningly beautiful sandy beach, one of the many sweeping along Dunedin’s eastern suburbs. As well as being a highly popular surfing spot, St. Clair’s Beach is home to tourist’s bars, café’s and relaxing saltwater outdoor heated swimming pools. At the end of the beach stand old wooden poles, and there is most photographers’ favourite spot.
The Caitlins region is an absolute delight for nature photographers, with countless beautiful locations to visit. One of the best in the region is the Purakaunui Waterfalls. Found at the southern tip of the country, the crystal cascade of water contrasts beautifully with the mossy green rock and lush vegetation it cuts through.
Lake Pukaki, with its amazingly ice blue 180 square kilometer water expanse provides breathtaking colour combinations across a backdrop of snowy mountain ranges. You could be forgiven for thinking you’d suddenly ended up in the Canadian ranges as the scenery is very similar.
On December, during the summer’s peak, pretty beautiful lupin flowers buoyantly bloom for up to six weeks, offering a very fantastic view for nature kids. Each summer these flowers turn into startling bright colours, calling masses of photographers and tourists. Mostly found at the beautiful shores of Lake Tekapo as well as the nearing zones, these wonder flowers flourish best in the first two weeks of the month.
Hikers have a reason to smile whenever they visit the Southern Island of New Zealand. Mount Roy is the place that, besides offering an iconic viewpoint of the Lake Wanaka, stands out as a wonderful area for exciting day hikes. Up there, you get amazing views to the landscape below, which savvy photographers cannot miss.
Hooker Glacier Lake
At the foot of Mount Cook is the Hooker Glacier Lake, an all-year-round stunner you cannot afford to miss while visiting this incredible country. However, most experts recommend winter as the most suitable time for photo taking.
Planted at the centre of Glacier Country and Westland National Park, this lake provides a pretty sight. It was formed 14,000 years ago through glaciations. Its surrounding is rich in ancient native forests that are also a favourite phenomenon for photographers. Lake Matheson mirrors Mount Tasman and Mount Cook—two of the highest peaks in New Zealand.
Lake Matheson. Image credit – New Zealand Trails
Milford Sound receives quite much rainfall. The annual estimates are up to an amazing 6.8 meters, making it among the very wettest spots of New Zealand. Due to such high rains, the area is adorned with pretty spectacular waterfalls, many of them cascading into the photo famous fjord on wet days. Milford Sound is found in the Fiordland National Park.
Devil’s Punchbowl Waterfall
Anyone would be excited to see and photograph the Devil’s Punchbowl Waterfall. It is the largest waterfall in the land, standing at 131 meters. It is surely worthy visiting, but remember to take rain jacket. You likely will get wet.
As suggests the name, this is a truly remarkable place. Featuring a rare scene of mountain range, the Remarkables are located next to Queenstown. Moreover, around this top photogenic zone is one of the finest ski fields the island boasts of.
Bennett’s Bluff, Glenorchy Road
Bennett’s Bluff is a popular viewpoint along one of the impressive drives through New Zealand. Glenorchy Road runs from Queenstown to Glenorchy. This particular viewpoint impressively overlooks the Pig and Pigeon Islands, as well as Lake Wakatipu.
The Wanaka Tree
The Wanaka is a symbolic willow tree located off Lake Wanaka shore line. It is claimed to be among the most photographed trees the world over, making it one of the most photogenic places in The Southern Island of New Zealand.
Franz Josef Glacier Valley
This is one of the major attractions on the island’s west coast, an ice glacier descending 12 kilometres. It starts in the high peaks coming down through rainforest to a mere 300 meters above the sea level.
Despite being a small country, New Zealand is one of the most exciting places to visit in the world. You cannot finish in a day or even two, for every corner you go, you will want to take a photo.
Medieval Towns with German Castles Near Munich & Frankfurt
Our favorite castles in Germany near Frankfurt and Munich:
We were crazy enough to visit Neuschwanstein Castle on a public holiday. This meant that along with all the Asian tourists, there were an awful lot of Germans. Plus, even though we arrived by 11 am, the soonest tickets we could buy were for the German tour at 2.30 pm, as the terms in English were sold out until 4 pm. So, if you don’t have German friends at hand to translate the tour for you, we recommend booking in advance online. The castle was impressive, and the time was undoubtedly fascinating! Don’t worry, I won’t spill the beans, but the manmade Grotto room made my jaw drop!
Mespelbrunn Castle is located on a pond between Frankfurt and Wurzburg. Unfortunately, we arrived 30 minutes after its closing time of 5 pm, but it looked cool from behind the fence!
Lichtenstein Castle is located on a clifftop near Stuttgart and costs 6 euros per person for a tour in German; however, they did give us a very informative written guide in English. This castle is small compared to Hohenzollern castle, but its story is fascinating. Tanks shelled it in World War II, and today you can still see the cracked mirror from where a small fragment of a tank grenade ricocheted!
Hohenzollern Castle is not too far from Lichtenstein Castle. It is located on a hilltop near Hechingen, and we enjoyed the guided tour. Along with getting to wear GIANT slippers, make sure you explore the casemates and secret passages. One sign made me want to learn more. It read, “Exactly where these steps lead to is unknown. More casemates and secret passageways are likely waiting to be discovered in the heart of the mountain”!
Heidelberg Castle was a lot larger than we expected! Unfortunately, we had spent far too much time at the Auto & Technik Museum in Sinsheim, so we did not have time to explore this castle. But if we get the chance, we will explore the town and its castle next time in Germany.
On our drive from Munich to Frankfurt, we also loved:
The beer garden at Andechs Monastery was just like Oktoberfest but amongst trees and more family-friendly. The beer was cheaper, and the food was great, including the giant pork knuckle, which Moss could not finish. It was also fun walking up multiple flights of stairs to the tower’s very top.
Three hours in Rothenburg was not enough to explore this wonderful medieval town! We recommend getting your hands on a city map from the tourist information office. We enjoyed Roder Gate, walking along the wall and exploring the 17th-century spital bastion, plus Moss lost me in the Kathe Wohlfahrt Christmas shop for over half an hour, and I didn’t even buy anything!
The average person would Google Munich to Frankfurt and see that it only takes about 3 ½ hours depending on how fast you wish to drive on the autobahn! However, we are NOT typical. We took one look at train prices and decided that hiring a car wouldn’t cost too much more.
We aren’t going to tell you our exact route. Still, after surviving Oktoberfest in Munich, we did a giant zigzag to see as many castles and medieval towns as possible. So to save you doing so much driving, we have picked our favorite cities and castles. First of all, ‘Ausfahrt’ is not a destination accessible from every off-ramp! It means ‘Exit’! Another word of wisdom to keep in mind is that the autobahns with speed limits do have speed cameras… and the flash is blinding!
Running with the Bulls Video
Our shaky Running with the Bulls Video footage from the Festival de San Fermin in 2012. Experience it first hand in Pamplona. Enjoy.
We recently wrote about our life or death experience of Running with the Bulls this year at the Festival of San Fermin in Pamplona. On that run, I carried along with our GoPro video camera and tried to shoot some footage for our running with the video of the bull.
All our travel video shooting techniques went out the window when the bulls’ hooves started to shake the ground beneath our feet.
Once we had lined up for the running with the bulls, there was no escape from it as we were walled in by apartment blocks, shopfront windows, and 3-meter high wooden barriers packed with photographers along the entire length. At one end lay the relative safety of the bull ring pulsating with the cheers of the crowd who were still partying from the night before. Behind me, a dozen wild bulls pawed the stony ground looking for freedom.
Unfortunately, I was standing in their path.
What we ended up with is below. However, I think what we filmed for our running with the bull video captures the chaos, craziness, and complete madness a lot better than if I had stood my ground.
Enjoy it and watch for the guy that nearly gets trampled to death near the beginning!
Running with the Bulls Video
Would you ever consider running with the bulls?
While we are very aware that not all people agree that the San Fermin Festival should be allowed to go ahead mainly due to animal cruelty, we think there are two sides to every story. We wrote a post about the controversy surrounding Bullfighting in Spain and the Festival de San Fermin.
We would love to hear your thoughts on the Festival de San Fermin and whether you would ever consider running with the bulls.
Outdoor Activities in Bangkok – Adventure City Guide
Find out how you can explore the streets, canals and local markets within minutes of Bangkok with our Outdoor Activities in Bangkok Adventure City Guide.
Are you looking for an insider’s adventure travel guide for the best outdoor activities in Bangkok?
Why visit Bangkok for adventure?
Bangkok is one of the world’s largest metropolises and a gateway for most of the world to access the rest of South East Asia. With numbers surpassing 14 million people in the Greater Bangkok Region, this is no small player in the world’s super-cities. Of course, having such a long history with foreign visitors, the city has become incredibly established in the world’s tourist sector.
This has allowed it to grow many facets of adventurous activities – making access to something for everyone!
Outdoor Activities in Bangkok
Exploring the Klongs
Klongs are canals that used to feed the entire city with life-giving water, branched off from the city’s main artery – the Chao Phraya River. Today, the locals wouldn’t drink the water if you paid them, but there is still a fascinating life along the Klongs’ banks. There is so much to explore, from floating markets to old houses on stilts, and it gives insight into this ancient way of life!
What’s it cost, and how to get to the Klongs?
You can usually arrange the Klongs from the pier “Saphan Taksin” along the Chao Phraya River. This is conveniently a stop on the Skytrain, making it very easy to access. Usually, you will be renting the entire boat for the day (about 1000 THB, or USD 35) and not paying a per-person rate. So if you can find a few people to go with, the price will drop significantly per person.
Rickshaw City Tours
If you’ve never been to Asia before, Rickshaws are one of the most fun ways to get around. Although they can often be a little more expensive than metered taxis, you get an experience (and a view) that is unparalleled, especially in the busy streets of Bangkok.
What’s it cost?
Occasionally, you can even haggle a deal for a city tour for next to nothing (50-100 THB or $1.50-3 USD), as long as you visit a couple of affiliated ‘custom suit tailors’ throughout the day, as they’ll get a kickback from the shops just for bringing you there… No purchase is necessary.
You can often find Tuk Tuk drivers willing to do this standing along the perimeter of the Kings’ Palace. It may take a few attempts of asking for a ‘special city tour,’ but you will be bound to find someone ready for a cut of this business.
Local Secret Spot
Though most people wouldn’t consider going to a market an adventure, they probably have never experienced the likes of Chatuchak (also known as JJs). This is one of SE Asia’s LARGEST outdoor markets. It’s so prominent that you can find maps of the market to help navigate. It’s roughly the size of 4 city blocks and is divided into various sections.
You’ll find everything under the sun here, from clothing to handicrafts, food, mobile phones, and even puppies and other cute critters for sale!! It’s bonkers. If it gets too much for you, you can take a break in one of Bangkok’s most famous parks (Chatuchak park), located next to the market.
How to get there?
You can get here via Skytrain (BTS), subway (MRT), taxi, bus, you name it – it’s very accessible! But it’s only open on weekends, from about dawn until 5 or 6 pm at its peak. Some shops stay open longer, but most will be closed by dusk. It’s free entry and a perfect place to buy ANY souvenirs at the end of your time in Thailand.
Suppose you can coordinate to be here on the weekend. I generally hate shopping for ‘stuff,’ but I love this market and its energy!
Best time of the year to visit Bangkok for adventure?
Bangkok is in the tropics and quite close to the Equator. Of course, this means it’s hot on a year-round basis.
It’s considered the rainy season from May to October, though showers can happen at any time of the year. This is generally a less busy time for tourists, though the rains are not quite as bad as expected and often only last 30 mins-1 hour, cooling the city’s heart. Peak season is in December-January when temperatures are at their most astounding ad driest… though it’s still pretty hot!
And if Bangkok isn’t to your taste, the luxury Koh Samui will be. Endless sandy beach, beautiful clear waters, and nightlife that could be lived in forever. The luxury rental properties are stunning, and we recommend Tempston Luxury villa rentals.
Finally, the reason I love Bangkok for adventure is that…
It’s never-ending. This city is SO BIG that you could get lost in a new neighborhood almost every day. Single. Day. And still find new, exciting things to explore. On my list for the upcoming weeks, I’ve got the Scala Cinema, the Thai Air Force Museum, Papaya Vintage Shop, and the Erawan Museum – to name a few. Every time I explore one place, I learn of 3 more!!
From a young age, Ian was always a wanderer. He’s since travelled to all 7 continents, and has spent the majority of his life pursuing this passion. You can follow him in his off-the-beaten-path adventures and discoveries on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and his travel blog Where Sidewalks End.
Have you been to Bangkok? What were your favorite outdoor activities in Bangkok?
Meet Cole and Adela
We have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...
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