A short drive that is very worthwhile in my opinion.
This specific spot, which lies just off the main path, has become my favourite picture taking spot of late. I've been returning to this exact spot for the last three weeks at different times of the day to see what the different lighting effects are like in the forest. The best times so far I've been finding are just after the sun begins coming down after noon, and any point when it is overcast.
This photo is among a FEW that capture the atmosphere perfectly. I love the layers and layers of lines juxtaposed with the tentacle like branches in the foreground. This effect is even cooler in person. If you're ever in Dunedin I recommend a stop by the Gully.
On one of my longer day trips (not my longest, but quite probably 2nd or 3rd longest) we ventured into Central Otago. It is a nice area, but not my top pick of New Zealand regions as it mixes a lot of familiar features from back in southern Alberta. Those being grasslands and mountains. I'm more about my forests and water.
However in the area around the small town of Twizel I made an astounding discovery. Twizel is in between Wanaka and Queenstown for anyone interested in NZ geography.
Of more interest to the greater world, Twizel town sits directly under the mountain Peter Jackson CGed the city of Gondor onto, making it neo Gondor I guess. Sadly EVERYTIME I go up this way I never manage to snap a photo of this mountain. Having seen it, there is no mistaking it, but the conditions have never been right (either trees obscure the camera from a moving car or worse the sun is setting behind it!).
Two years ago while exploring this area with my parents, we drove past this cool outcrop of hills about 15 minutes down the highway from Twizel. These hills were quite unique, and caught my attention to the point I took a picture from the moving car, something I don't normally do.
At the time I thought it was simply a cool random road side sight, and didn't think there was a way to get close to these hills. Man I hate it when I'm wrong! Though the good news was I found out my error before it was too late.While out on my fossil dig with the University of Otago's palaeontologist, I noticed in several Central Otago town's postcards of a cool set of rocks called the Clay Cliffs supposedly from the area.
This last weekend I set out on the mission of tracking down this mysterious location, that none of the locals knew of (as I was on the wrong end of Central Otago starting my search I now can't blame them... it is a big area). I was amazed finally arriving that I actually knew of the Clay Cliffs, and more to the point I'd actually technically seen them before, as I distinctly remembered these rocks from my parental trip.
My only compliant, due to our arriving an hour before sunset (and the sun had already fallen behind the hills sadly) the sky bleached out of my photos.