Wander With Wonder – Discovering Wow Moments Around the World or Across the Street
Longing to visit New Zealand? Take a peek at the beautiful island country through the lens of our photographer’s camera. Join us for New Zealand in pictures.
I’ve been blessed with nine trips to New Zealand, as evidenced by the stamps on my passport. Starting with my honeymoon trip in 1997, I’ve made eight other trips, either solo or with family. My wife and I have traveled from the tip of the North Island as far south as Fiordland National Park on the South Island. Unfortunately, many of my early photos were only on film. Still, I have hundreds of more recent digital images from which I assembled New Zealand in pictures.
On our most recent trip in Oct/Nov 2022, my brother, his wife, and my sister joined us for a fabulous New Zealand journey covering four wine regions and parts of the North and South Islands. This recent trip reminded us why New Zealand is our favorite foreign destination for food, wine, culture, and adventure. Come along and see New Zealand through the lens of my cameras; it’s cheaper than airfare!
NOTE: All photos are by Kurt Jacobson.
The North Island and Waiheke Island, New Zealand in Pictures
New Zealand’s North Island is home to the international airport in Auckland. It is a vibrant city with diverse culture. A 40-minute ferry ride away is the island of Waiheke, filled with beaches, vineyards, and olive groves.
The Auckland Ferry Building was completed in 1912 and still stands proudly by the harbor. A trip to Auckland isn’t complete unless you can take a ferry ride to either Devonport or Waiheke Island from here.
After dinner at Mudbrick, I stepped outside to get some ‘Blue Hour’ photos and captured the gorgeous colored sky and diners inside and out. The views from this part of Waiheke Island are incredible.
Our guide, Tim, from Waiheke Executive Transport, told us Ki Māha was a popular restaurant. We didn’t have time to try it, but we can vouch for the great views overlooking Onetangi Beach.
On our most recent trip to Waiheke Island, we visited Batch Winery for wine tasting. We also liked Stoney Ridge for its views and wine.
Gisborne, New Zealand in Pictures
Gisborne is on the East Cape of New Zealand’s North Island, about a day’s drive southeast of Auckland.
There are three rivers that flow through Gisborne. Rowing is a favorite pastime of many residents and visitors.
This cool sculpture was a gift from one of its Chinese sister cities. You can find it by the rose gardens near the Marina, now called the Globe restaurant.
Colorful street art abounds in New Zealand. I loved this bird-themed mural near the i-SITE visitor center in Gisborne.
Zest was such a tasty breakfast stop in Gisborne we hit it twice. Don’t miss the morning items like the mini breakfast or the mushroom toast paired with a flat white coffee.
Statue of Young Nick, the cabin boy who was the first to spy land on Captain Cook’s first voyage to New Zealand. The statue can be found near Waikanae Beach in Gisborne.
Martinborough and the Wairarapa Wine Region, New Zealand in Pictures
Martinborough is in the southern part of New Zealand’s North Island. It sits about 90 minutes northeast of Wellington. Martinborough, located in the Wairarapa Wine Region, has almost two dozen wineries, most within walking distance of the village square.
I loved my first visit to Martinborough, near the southern tip of the North Island. These colorful villas are attached to Margrain Vineyards.
Margrain’s winemaker Strat Canning graciously agreed to an interview on my first trip to Martinborough. The guy makes great vino, and I loved his sparkling wine.
Karahui Restaurant in Martinborough is in the old Bank of New Zealand building. Even if you don’t dine here, stop in for a look at the gorgeous interior and have a glass of wine at their bar.
You’ll see sheep everywhere you travel outside of towns and cities in New Zealand. These sheep posed for my camera near Ata Rangi Winery.
While returning on foot to our cottage at Aylestone near Margrain Winery, I caught the sun blasting through the cloud cover. One of the best aspects of a trip to Martinborough is its pedestrian-friendly nature.
Poppies vineyard platter is one of the best we’ve had anywhere in the world. Poppy is a great winemaker and puts on quite a show when pouring wine at the tasting bar.
South of Martinborough, New Zealand in Pictures
As you head south out of Martinborough, you reach the Southern Coast. The ocean views make every stop here breathtaking.
Lake Ferry Hotel has been around since 1851. We stopped for a snack, a glass of wine, and a view.
Big ocean view from the road to Cape Palliser. On a clear day, the South Island is visible to the left, but not in this photo.
Get Wild at Mt Bruce
Mt Bruce Reserve is in the Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre. Forested trails let you take a bush walk through the reserve to see conservation in action. More than 2,300 acres of the reserve are home to various endangered birds, including brown kiwi and Kākā or bush parrots.
Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre/Mt Bruce is about 30 km north of Masterton. Plan on spending at least 45 minutes and time your visit to see the Kākā Circus. This lucky Kākā hitched a ride in the feed bucket and got a back scratching with its free ride.
I rarely miss a stop at a new bakery, and the French Baker in Greytown rewarded us with good pastries and pies on our way to Mt Bruce. They have a decent outdoor dining area for enjoying pastries and a flat white coffee.
Wellington, New Zealand in Pictures
Wellington, the country’s capital city, sits at the southern tip of the North Island. There is much to see and do while exploring this vibrant city on the coast.
Once again, street art begged for a shot. I got this photo while stopping at a downtown Welly light in an Uber ride. How many musical instruments can you see in the image on the right side?
A shot of Welly from the top of Mt Victoria. You can hike up this mountain, take a taxi/rideshare, or do the combo tram/walk. If you go, I hope you get a sunny day like I did.
One of our favorite things in Welly is to ride the tram from downtown to the museum stop and then walk to the Lady Norwood Rose Gardens. The conservatory is the place to be if the weather isn’t cooperating.
Zealandia is a re-wilding project seeking to restore native species. We loved the well-marked trails and saw lots of native flora and fauna. Don’t miss the Kaka feeding stations. Catch the free shuttle from downtown or the tram’s upper station.
Exploring The South Island of New Zealand in Pictures
New Zealand’s larger South Island is filled with spectacular natural landscapes and is home to more amazing New Zealand wines.
The Boathouse along the Avon River in Christchurch. I’ve stopped at the cafe next door several times for a glass of wine and a bite to eat.
Punting on The Avon River is popular with tourists. My wife and I took one of these rides on our first trip to Christchurch.
The Christchurch Botanic Gardens are a must-see attraction. We loved the rose gardens, big trees, and native birds on our walk.
I encountered this sculpture on two trips to the Christchurch Botanic Gardens. Such a thoughtful pose.
Take a ride on a vintage cable car in downtown Christchurch.
Waipara Hills winery is one of several I visited on a wine tour north of Christchurch.
Exploring Blenheim, New Zealand in Pictures
The town of Blenheim is the ideal place to call home while you sample local wines and foods. It is in the heart of the renowned Marlborough Wine Region.
A girl and her lamb at a North Island farm show.
Mountains and vines are looking good from St Clair winery in Blenheim.
One of many cute lambs we saw at the local farm show in Blenheim.
Nelson and Motueka, New Zealand in Pictures
Nelson, New Zealand, is the oldest city on the South Island and overlooks Tasman Bay. Continue following the coastline of Tasman Bay, and you’ll arrive in Motueka. Motueka is an artistic town filled with cafes. It’s a great stop before continuing to the Abel Tasman National Park.
The Miazu Gardens on the edge of Nelson is one of my favorite places for a long walk. I’ve seen and heard native tui and bellbirds singing in the gardens.
The art in the garden area of this now-defunct Motueka cafe added to the lunch experience. Motueka has a thriving arts scene.
Waikoropupu Springs near Golden Bay, South Island, is said to be the clearest spring water in the world.
The old fisheries building looked good when I took this photo in the late sun. Nelson has a few old buildings still standing like this one.
The Brook Sanctuary in Nelson is one of New Zealand’s premier re-wilding projects. Be sure and visit this park if you are in Nelson and have 1-3 hours to spare.
My sister couldn’t resist attempting to pet this baby lamb at a farm show near Blenheim.
Taking a Peek at Queenstown and Beyond
Queenstown, New Zealand, sits on the shores of Lake Wakatipu in the South Island. It is surrounded by mountains known as the Southern Alps. You can find great adventure sports here or places to meander if you’re not into adrenal-producing excitement.
A view of the Remarkables mountain range from the shores of Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown.
The TSS Earnslaw is a fun way to cruise Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown. Take a slow ride to the Walter Peak Farm and back if you have 2-3 hours to spare.
A humorous weather station at Walter Peak Farm.
I caught the Walter Peak Farmhouse on a good weather day. It was fun walking the farm and seeing the sheep show.
Articles Related to New Zealand In Pictures
- Exploring New Zealand
- Postcards As I Wander: Dizzying Heights Above Auckland
- Exploring Nelson, New Zealand