The South Island Project – Itinerary and Photo Plan

I had the privilege to visit South Island, New Zealand in November and December 2023. A land of immense beauty, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to capture as best as I could the incredible landscapes of this wonderful country.

As mentioned in a previous article, the plan was to cover a number of towns in South Island. 

We managed to stop by the following places during our time in New Zealand:

  1. Christchurch
  2. Queenstown
  3. Glenorchy
  4. Arrowtown
  5.  Lake Wanaka
  6. Twizel & Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park
  7. Lake Tekapo & Mount John.
  8. Geraldine (stopover on our return drive to Christchurch).
Moonset Over Wanaka, 2023
Captured by Lake Wanaka, "Moonset Over Wanaka, 2023".
Aoraki from Hooker River
After much time had passed, the clouds finally parted ways to reveal Aoraki Mount Cook's summit. This picture was taken from the Hooker River - I had to step off the boardwalk and get up close to the river bank.

Itinerary and Photo Plan

I found the information contained at The Travel Intern blog tremendously helpful in preparing for this trip. 

Dates of Travel: 24 November to 06 December 2023

Friday – 24 November 2023

  • Departure from Singapore.
Saturday – 25 November 2023
  • Arrived in Christchurch after a brief stopover in Sydney.
  • Checked into Sudima Hotel Christchurch Airport.
Sunday – 26 November 2023
Monday – 27 November 2023

Tuesday – 28 November 2023

Wednesday – 29 November 2023

  • Explored Lake Wanaka and the surrounding area, including Blue Pool.
  • First takes of That Wanaka Tree (with little success as the place was swarming with snap-happy tourists).

Thursday – 30 November 2023

  • Returned to That Wanaka Tree (arrived earlier in the morning, but found myself in the company of other serious photographers. What fun!). See “Moonset Over Wanaka, 2023“, one of my latest works.
  • Arrived in Twizel and settled into Mahina Cottage (Lovely place!).
  • Did some grocery shopping at Four Square in Twizel – a short drive away from Mahina Cottage.

Friday – 01 December 2023

  • Rose early and headed for Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park…and scored my first roadkill along the way!
  • Did the Hooker Valley Track – lovely experience.
  • Returned to the valley in the evening to watch the sunset.
Saturday – 02 December 2023
Sunday – 03 December 2023
  • Visit to Astro Cafe at summit of Mount John (fantastic views of the lake and town from there).
  •  We took things slower during our time at Lake Tekapo, returning to the lake to enjoy the scenery in the evening.

Monday – 04 December 2023

Tuesday – 05 December 2023

Wednesday – 06 December 2023

  • Return to Singapore.

A fair bit of planning went into this trip – in particular, around the location and time of day. I used The Photographer’s Ephemeris to better understand the sun’s relative position in the sky.

Hooker Valley Track
Hooker Valley Track, Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park.
Lake Tekapo, South Island, New Zealand
Shore of Lake Tekapo, South Island, New Zealand.

The photo plan is shown in the table below. You may also download it here.

The coordinates correspond to potential photo spots from which I could set up my camera and tripod. Needless to say, some onsite improvisation was required – planning could only take you so far.

The rest of my work can be viewed at my portfolio website.


 DateCodeSubjectLocation / AreaCoordinatesBest Time
126 Nov 2023QT001The Remarkables, Cecil’s and Walter’s PeaksOne Mile Car Park, Queenstown-45.03763, 168.64856


-45.0366005104634, 168.65019245423085
5:00 PM
226 Nov 2023QT002Cecil Peak and the RemarkablesWilson Bay, Queenstown-45.060636188528576, 168.56719286955292:30 PM
5:00 PM
327 Nov 2023QT003Mitre Peak, The Four Sisters, Fair FallsMilford Sound-44.62699, 167.8387710:00 AM 


428 Nov 2023QT004Gibbston Valley and The Remarkables – Scenic View of the Valley Floor and Queenstown in the RearCrown Range Scenic Lookout-44.995663957729775, 168.92033833959589:30 AM 


10:00 AM
528 Nov 2023QT005Gibbston Valley and The Remarkables – Scenic View of the Valley Floor and Queenstown in the RearCrown Summit Lookout-44.99247, 168.93899:30 AM 


10:00 AM
629 Nov 2023
30 Nov 2023
WNK001That Wanaka TreeWanaka-44.69858, 169.117427:00 AM
701 Dec 2023MTC001Aoraki from Hooker Lake River Inlet AreaTwizel / Mt. Cook Area-43.68899, 170.103656:30 AM


7:30 AM
801 Dec 2023MTC002Aoraki from Valley Floor (Between Second and Third Swing Bridges)Twizel / Mt. Cook Area-43.695911610844064, 170.096555418060868:00 AM
901 Dec 2023MTC003Aoraki from After Second Swing BridgeTwizel / Mt. Cook Area-43.703518591039, 170.09837831787337:00 AM


8:30 AM
1030 Dec 2023
01 Dec 2023
MTC004Mount Cook Road #1Twizel / Mt. Cook Area-43.88522, 170.118486:30 PM


7:00 PM
1130 Nov 2023
01 Dec 2023
MTC005Tasman Valley and RiverTwizel / Mt. Cook Area-43.84917, 170.110726:30 PM


7:00 PM
1230 Nov 2023
01 Dec 2023
MTC006Mount Cook Road #2Twizel / Mt. Cook Area-43.82645, 170.108617:00 PM


7:30 PM
1301 Dec 2023MTC007Mount Cook Road #3Twizel / Mt. Cook Area-43.80117, 170.113757:30 PM
1401 Dec 2023MTC008Mount Cook Road #4Twizel / Mt. Cook Area-43.78916, 170.119477:45 PM
1501 Dec 2023
02 Dec 2023
MTC009Aoraki Mount Cook from Peters LookoutTwizel / Mt. Cook Area-44.08902, 170.135786:00 AM


5:30 PM
1602 Dec 2023TKP001Church of the Good ShepherdTekapo-44.00435, 170.480217:30 PM
1702 Dec 2023
03 Dec 2023
TKP002Lupins at TekapoTekapo-44.00665649393552, 170.489460999044986:30 AM
(Mt. John)

5:30 PM
(Two Thumb Range)
1803 Dec 2023TKP003Two Thumb RangeTekapo-43.98333, 170.46666No good timing as it will be high noon.
1903 Dec 2023TKP004The Lake and Two Thumb RangeTekapo-44.00257, 170.482277:30 PM

Mobile Captures from the South Island

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