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A New Zealand Adventure: Tiptoeing through the Lupins

By James Appleton, Landscape Photographer

Driving through the central and fiordland region of South Island New Zealand in Spring was one of the most beautiful and colorful experiences I’ve ever had. I had read about the incredibly bright varieties of the non-native lupin flowers that crop up in December in those regions, but was still gobsmacked to see them in person. In particular one area near to Lake Tekapo, they had sprung up, fields upon fields, stretching for miles, carpeted with their colour, with the amazing mountains of the Southern Alps in the background. Hard to envision, awestricking to witness. Walking through them towards the end of a particularly clear day was a surreal experience, it felt like walking through a painting.

Fiordland near Te Anau

On the road from Te Anau to Milford Sound, I happened across another valley, the one used in the latest “The Hobbit – the desolation of Smaug” film. It was a shock for me watching the movie on my return to the UK to see the exact same scene that I’d ended up photographing only a few weeks earlier. Whoever scouted the location for that film obviously shares an equally sharp eye for a beautiful setting! I decided to try and use this location as sunrise to capture some striking colors in the sky that would match the flowers, and ended up shooting for almost the whole morning as the sun rose. Rainshowers over the far hills kept conjuring up rainbows and the view was too good to walk away from without feeling I’d really done is justice.
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Sadly as with all things the lifespan of the lupins is all too short, by the time I came to leave near the end of December they were distinctly fading away. If you ever plan to visit New Zealand around this time I would recommend going sightly earlier in December to make sure you don’t miss out. Before my trip there I envisioned coming back with heaps of rugged mountain and coast photographs, but in the end some of my favourites are of more peaceful views. Almost always featuring the gorgeous lupins in the foreground.

James and crew were sponsored by Powerocks to make this incredible journey. We love getting to see the beautiful New Zealand landscape through his lens, and his equipment, charged by Powerocks!