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Conquering the Shotover River in one of New Zealands ingenious inventions, the jetboat

New Zealand through the lenses

If locations were awarded Oscars, New Zealand would scoop the lot…the strength and power of Otago’s untouched countryside is Lord of the Rings’ real star.

Queenstown

“If locations were awarded Oscars, New Zealand would scoop the lot…the strength and power of Otago’s untouched countryside is Lord of the Rings’ real star.”Albeit a few years old, I couldn’t agree more with the UK Sunday Express, as there is something rather special about this part of the world. Something that already deeply touched my heart when I first came to the Queenstown area almost twenty years ago. I would say it is the sheer beauty of the countryside, the amazing outdoor activities combined with the genuine warmth of the people that make this part of New Zealand so unique.

One of the last remaining houses in gold mining settlement Macetown
One of the last remaining houses in gold mining settlement Macetown

Over the years I’ve jumped out of planes over Lake Wakatipu and The Remarkables, ridden off-road bikes across the vast mountain ranges of Central Otago called Leaning Rock, Mount Pisa or Old Man Range and played golf with New Zealand’s number one Golf Pro…but this time I came to Otago on a different quest. I’m here with a group of Vietnamese Leica aficionados and it’s all about taking million-dollar-shots. And boy, were we able to get some amazing pics!

We are in the South Island for an entire week and could not have chosen a better place nor a better time for this unforgettable photography tour. Central Otago in autumn is nothing short of overwhelmingly beautiful. The vibrant colours make for a proper Indian Summer down in the Southern Hemisphere and combined with the stunning scenery this is quite the photographer’s dream.

Our home for the first few nights is acclaimed Millbrook Resort, a luxury retreat twenty minutes out of Queenstown that is often referred to as the country’s most beautiful golf resort. We certainly won’t object. Nestled in the rolling hills between historic Arrowtown and Lake Hayes and surrounded by the snow covered peaks of the Crown Range and Coronet Peak this 18 hole golf resort easily wins over the hearts of even the most experienced international travellers. Upon arrival we spend hours roaming around the immaculate grounds of Millbrook taking picture after picture of the stunning scenery and the vividly colourful autumn trees. Ngok from Hanoi says that she has never seen more beautiful trees in her entire life.

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© This article was first published in June-July 2018 edition of World Travel Magazine.

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