New Zealand on Film

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Shots from Piha

New Zealand on Film

Capturing New Zealand is magical on film. The landscape, the city, the beaches, the waterfalls, everything that I have pretty much captured on film was beautiful. If you haven’t been to New Zealand yet, I highly recommend you visit. I never really had a strong desire to visit this country before but New Zealand exceeded my expectations. I’ve only been to the North Island but I’ve heard many good things about South Island. Guess you know what that means (I need to go back to New Zealand). But until then, enjoy some film shots I took while road tripping around the North Island.

Roads

Wander Hour - New Zealand Film

Wander Hour - New Zealand Film

Driving through the countryside

It is without question that New Zealand must be explored through a rental car. If you have the means to do it, I highly recommend that you do. It can be slightly nerve wracking to be driving on the left side of the road and with the steering wheel on the right (plus the whole windshield wipers and turn signals switched) it’s not too bad at all. Though, I really can’t say much as I had Charles driving the entire time (thanks, babe!). But yes, to completely explore the North Island, one must rent a car. From the long drive to Tongariro National Park (a 5 or so hours from Auckland) to the much shorter drive to Piha (about 45 to an hour from Auckland), a car is a necessity.

Waterfalls and Piha

Wander Hour - New Zealand Film

Wander Hour - New Zealand Film

Hunua Falls, Karekare Falls, and Piha Beach

Just a short drive to Auckland, Charles and I managed to knocked down two waterfalls in one day on our second day in New Zealand. Hunua Falls is about 48 minutes from Auckland and the “hike” (or track as they say in NZ) to the waterfall was short and easy. Shortly after, we took an hour and a half drive up north then west of Auckland to Piha. I’ve always wanted to visit Piha but was deterred by the winding roads. After experiencing some cliff hugging drives not only in New Zealand but in Maui passed the town of Hana in the past, I figured it was time that I visited Piha. The drive to Karekare Falls was nerve wracking. The road becomes  a one-lane road which requires one to pull over to the side to let oncoming traffic through. But despite that, there were some Kiwis driving rather fast for our liking.

Anyway, Karekare Falls was also a short walk from the parking lot. This waterfall, was by far, Charles’ favorite waterfall between the two. After the waterfall, we headed to Piha Beach which is famous for it’s surf.

Te Puia

Wander Hour - New Zealand Film

Wander Hour - New Zealand Film

Te Puia

The next morning, Charles and I drove to Rotorua. It rained the entire three hour drive and up until the afternoon. Prior to our drive to Rotorua, everyone in Auckland had asked what we had planned for the week. We responded that we were going to Rotorua and was met with a lot of, “Rotorua is absolutely beautiful.” We booked the hotel in Rotorua soon after and while reading reviews, I read about a “rotten egg” smell in Rotorua. No one that we talked to mentioned that smell. Not sure what we were expecting but that rotten egg smell did hit us in the face as soon as we got out of the car.

Okay, so don’t let that smell deter you at all because Roturua is beautiful as everyone told us. The reason for the smell is because of the many (and I mean a lot) geysers and hot springs found throughout Rotorua. These hot springs and geysers have a high amount of sulphur in it which gives off the rotten egg smell. We found that the smell made us laugh and giggle while walking around town.

In the afternoon, we headed to Te Puia near our hotel (Millennium Hotel Rotorua). There’s an admission fee and Charles didn’t feel like spending money on admission so I went by myself. It was windy and rainy which made it hard for me to take photos between both the DSLR and the SLR while also holding an umbrella. Surprisingly, these shots turned out well! And the blue from the pool was captured a hundred times better in film than it did with my DSLR.

Wai-O-Tapu

Wander Hour - New Zealand Film

Wander Hour - New Zealand Film

Wander Hour - New Zealand Film

Inside the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland

In the morning, Charles and I headed to Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland (which also has an admission fee). You can spend quite awhile here as there are various walking trails around the park. The Champagne Pool would have to be my favorite part of Wai-O-Tapu. The orange and blue from the Champagne Pool was fascinating to see in person. The view did get repetitive as you go through the park (and the smell can get a little nauseating if you’re not used to it by now) but I think it’s worth it to view the Champagne Pool as well as the the Devil’s Bath which the water has an insane color of green that I have ever seen. I wish I captured it in film but I’ll share a photo on another post of a photo I took with my iPhone and DSLR. If I had to pick between Te Puia or Wai-O-Tapu, I would pick the latter hands down. Te Puia is smaller and the views are pretty much the same throughout.

Putaruru Blue Spring

Wander Hour - New Zealand Film

Wander Hour - New Zealand Film

Putaruru Blue Spring

After Wai-O-Tapu, we headed back to Auckland but stopped at the Putaruru Blue Spring. Because it rained during our drive to Rotorua, we didn’t really get to see the beauty of New Zealand’s scenic views. The drive to Putaruru Blue Spring was gorgeous and everything I remembered from my time in New Zealand last year: lush hills and so much green. We ended up at a track where it was a small walk to the blue lagoon part. It wasn’t as blue as the pictures I’ve seen on Instagram BUT it had been pouring rain the day before so I had attributed that to the less than stellar color. It was super clear and I should say that the water here supplies most of the bottled water in New Zealand!

Hamilton Gardens

Wander Hour - New Zealand Film

Wander Hour - New Zealand Film

After Putaruru, we headed to Hamilton Gardens. The cherry blossom trees weren’t in bloom as much as they were the last time I was there in 2016 but Charles and I enjoyed walking through the camellia gardens. We also took this time to grab a bite to eat after a 45 minute drive from Putaruru. They have a cafe inside but the food is mediocre at best.

Auckland

Wander Hour - New Zealand Film

Wander Hour - New Zealand Film

Wander Hour - New Zealand Film

Wander Hour - New Zealand Film

Wander Hour - New Zealand Film

Wander Hour - New Zealand Film

Wander Hour - New Zealand Film

Our last full day was spent in Auckland: walking around the CBD (Central Business District), walking up Mount Eden to catch a view of the city, and stopping by the Auckland Domain to check out the Wintergarden. One of my favorite stops in the CBD is Scarecrow in Auckland. Some of the most beautiful flower arrangements can be found here and it certainly inspires my taste in flowers whenever I visit. I’m drawn to how moody the arrangements are here and gave me ideas for my future wedding (in the near future!).

Going up Mount Eden to see the view of CBD is one of my favorite things to do in Auckland. I love a good view of a city so it was imperative that we made a stop here.

Last but not least, we stopped at Auckland Domain to one of my favorite gardens: the Wintergarden. The one time I went in May would be my favorite visit to the Wintergaredens as there were flowers EVERYWHERE. Not so much during winter but it’s still worth a visit.

Writing up this film photo diary has given me the feels. I’m a city girl at heart and New Zealand is FAR from a bustling city such as Tokyo (a favorite of mine) or New York City but the lifestyle in New Zealand is similar, if not exactly, like the lifestyle in Hawaii: super chill and nature-oriented which is something I have grown accustomed to while living in Hawaii. But having only visited the North Island, I am so eager to visit New Zealand again to see the South Island as the photos look amazing. From Aoraki/Mount Cook to Milford Sound, South Island looks like a dream!

Hope you guys enjoyed my New Zealand film photo diary!

 

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New Zealand on Film

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A shot of Sky Tower and books near Silo Park

New Zealand on Film

Shooting in film is my newest hobby at the moment, albeit an expensive hobby, it’s given me confidence in my work that I have been lacking through digital. There’s something about being able to take a photo without knowing if it’s good or not but having it developed and falling in love with it. That is what makes shooting in film so special.

After receiving my film scans, I wish I had taken more photos in film while in New Zealand. Note to self: shoot in film, at least 50% of the time.

Ortolana

Wander Hour - New Zealand on Film

brunch at Ortolana

On our first full day in New Zealand, Charles and I had brunch at Ortolana, one of my favorite restaurants in New Zealand. Ordered a mochaccino as well as a brassica, chorizo, caramelized onion puree, and fried egg. Such a delicious dish with some of the finest ingredients using produce from their farms as well as other local farms.

Along the Water

Wander Hour - New Zealand
Wander Hour - New Zealand

Wander Hour - New Zealand

After brunch, we headed next to the sea for a stroll and burn off some calories. Doesn’t film make these shots dreamy? Can’t wait to share the rest of my film scans from New Zealand as well as Maui from my weekend trip with Charles’ family over Labor Day Weekend! Have a great week!

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Taranaki Falls

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Taranaki Falls

The trail to Taranaki Falls is a beautiful trail inside the Tongariro National Park in New Zealand. This is the hike we decided to do while we were there. I was looking for something scenic, beautiful, unusual, and a waterfall was an absolute must. Taranaki Falls fit that description.

Wander Hour - Taranaki Falls

The start of the trail with a view of Mount Ngauruhoe

The start of the trail is located right behind the Chateau Tongariro in Whakakapapa Village (this is the hotel we stayed at while we were in Tongariro National Park and I’ll do a separate post soon) and because the trail is a loop, you will find two entrances. We took the first one.

On the way to the waterfalls, you will be able to see Mount Tongariro, Mount Ngauruhoe (Mount Doom for Lord of the Rings fans), and Mount Ruapehu. Amazing sight for sure. The trail can get muddy so wear appropriate footwear! I was wearing super these super comfortable boots I found at Nordstrom Rack for $27. They were leather and super comfortable! It just might be my “stylish” boots for hiking.

Wander Hour - Taranaki Falls

Tussocks everywhere

Wander Hour - Taranaki Falls

And more Tussocks

The hike will take you through a field of tussocks. I couldn’t stop taking photos of them as they were so beautiful and vibrant in color. Although it was winter in New Zealand, the colors of the landscape reminded me of autumn, one of my favorite seasons ever (followed by spring).

This part of the hike is exposed so if you do this during the day, make sure to put sunscreen!

Wander Hour - Taranaki Falls

The stream along the trail

 Soon after, you will walk through a forest and walk alongside a stream. It was mostly shaded during this part of the trail.

Wander Hour - Taranaki Falls

Beautiful plants and the bridge before the waterfall

Finally, you will cross a bridge and will see lava rocks on one side of you (depending on where you start as I mentioned that there were two entrances). This trail is a loop so you may see it on your right side or the left. Since we came from the first entrance, the lava rocks were on the right side.

Wander Hour - Taranaki Falls

Taranaki Falls

Absolutely stunning am I right? I have seen many waterfalls all over but Taranaki Falls could be one of my favorite waterfalls at the moment. Maybe it’s being in a different place, so faraway from home that made it so special.

Wander Hour - Taranaki Falls

At the falls

As we started this hike pretty late, we couldn’t spend too much time at the falls as I would have liked to. My mother already left after a few minutes at the waterfall and she walked back the same way instead of completing the loop. My brother and I just followed after her.

Wander Hour - Taranaki Falls

Golden hour

Because of the time we started the hike, I was able to look back while on the trail and see this beautiful sight. Golden hour is one on my favorite times to shoot and hiking the trail during golden hour was beautiful. Do keep in mind that it’s best to complete the hike before the sun goes down. It can get really cold during winter (about 40 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter) and it’s absolutely dark at night.

Wander Hour - Taranaki Falls

Chateau Tongariro from the trail

As you are walking back towards the hotel, you will be able to see Chateau Tongariro in the distance. This is the hotel we stayed at during our time at the Tongariro National Park. The hike is about 3.7 miles round trip. I’m sure that’s the length of the loop and I’m not sure how far we hiked as we went back the same way. I heard the waterfall is exactly half way so we may have completed the 3.7 miles!

I wish we had more time to spend at Tongariro National Park! If you head up Mount Ruapehu, you can ski up there and there’s cafe at the top that we didn’t get to chance to visit! Definitely want to head back here when I do go back to New Zealand!

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Around Auckland

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Around Auckland

Auckland is one of the largest cities in New Zealand. Despite it being the most populous city in the country, it’s quite small compared to other metropolis all over the world such as Los Angeles, Tokyo, Hong Kong, or even Seattle. You can quickly walk up and down and all over and tackle most of the Central Business District (CBD) in one day if you choose to do so.

Mojo Coffee

Wander Hour - Mojo Coffee

Interior and mochaccino

Before our long, four-hour drive to Tongariro National Park, my family stopped at Mojo Coffee on Durham St. to grab a mochaccino before our drive. This is my second time at Mojo as my brother and I visited their location in the Auckland Art Gallery. I love it as much as I love Starbucks (but what does that say about me? Haha). Mojo is somewhat of a chain in New Zealand and there are various Mojos in Auckland. This particular one was right be our hotel (Barclay Suites).

Wintergarden at the Auckland Domain

Wander Hour - Auckland Domain

You might have remembered my joy and excitement when I first visited the Wintergarden back in May. That joy may have subsided on my recent visit as the garden wasn’t as “dreamy” as it was in May. Still, it was beautiful to browse through their new “collection” of flowers I suppose.

Scarecrow

Wander Hour - Scarecrow

Beautiful blooms at Scarecrow and gorgeous anemones

Although the Wintergarden was a lackluster in the winter, the flowers at Scarecrow were just as beautiful as I remembered. One of the flowers that stood out to me from the rest was the beautiful white anemones. It was dark, eerie, and screamed autumn in every possible way.

Although New Zealand is known for it’s thrill-seeking activities (Zorbing, hiking, skiing, and what not), if you’re into the city like me, I highly recommend staying in Auckland for a few nights just to get a feel of the city and try the various restaurants there (Miss Moonshine’s, Giapo, Brothers Beer, Oaken, and Ortolana to name a few). Until then, looking forward to my next trip back to this beautiful country!

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Sky Tower

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Sky Tower

Victoria St W & Federal St

Auckland 1010

New Zealand

I am one to never say no to a view from an observation deck. I thrive in cities and seeing views from above is always a favorite activity wherever I go whether it be Top of the Rock in New York, Tokyo City View in Tokyo, or Skydeck in Chicago, I am always in awe of city views. Sky Tower in Auckland is no exception.

It was a beautiful and sunny winter day in Auckland when my family and I went up the Sky Tower. Although I had previously went the last time I was in New Zealand, it was absolutely beautiful the second time around. When the lift (elevator) operator noted to us that the sky was clear and visibility is as far out as the eyes can see (and all the way out to the Coromandel Peninsula), my eyes were in for a treat.

Wander Hour - Sky Tower

Looking over the central business district

I have not seen such a clear day such as this day. The details, the color, and the contrast were so visually stunning, I could not stop taking photos.

In fact, it was such a beautiful day, people were jumping off Sky Tower. If you’re looking for adrenaline-inducing activity, you can jump off the Sky Tower. I haven’t tried as my fear of heights always keeps me from doing such activities. But you can see them jump off and it’s pretty cool to see.

Wander Hour - Sky Tower

Panoramic view of the waterfront

There were two levels you can view from at the Sky Tower. The first level is wear you can see the people jump. This level also has small glass floors throughout the floor. Very reminiscent of Skydeck in Chicago! The second level is where you find the view from above: floor to ceiling windows, a favorite of mine.

What I particularly enjoyed about my time in Sky Tower was the emptiness. When I was there in May (it was autumn at the time), there were so many people. Not exactly crowded, but compared to my recent trip, there were a lot. This time, I was able to take this photo and many more for a long period of time.

Sky Tower is definitely an attraction to visit if you’re ever in New Zealand. Is it as grandeur as other observation decks around the world? Probably not. But I love the humbleness of Sky Tower (and New Zealand in general) I’d go back again and again.

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