So you’re heading to New Zealand’s South Island but not sure exactly where to go? I’ve visited enough times this year to raise some alarm bells at customs, memorise the AirNZ safety vids and make a few mates at the local supermarkets. With that in mind I feel like I am only scratching the surface of what this country has to offer but if there was one place I’d have to choose to visit time and time again I couldn’t pass up the Mackenzie District.
So where is the Mackenzie district? Well it’s a part of the greater Canterbury region but the Mackenzie district itself is a bountiful patch of classic NZ goodness located close to the centre of the island.
One thing I miss back here in Australia is the mountains and I think that’s why this area is one of my favourites. Call me crazy but I’m just a sucker for long roads, bright blue lakes and cloud piercing mountains. The highlights of the region are without a doubt Lake Tekapo, Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park and Lake Pukaki.
I think the main thing I particularly love about this area is the real sense of vast wilderness and untouched beauty to be discovered. When I’m here, I really do feel like I am worlds away from anything and anywhere else in life.
In this fast paced, hi-tech age we live in, being surrounded by expansive mountains with no other humans in sight is certainly good for the soul. I know that I for one need moments like this.
Both Tekapo and Aoraki NP are not overly populated at all so the landscapes really speak for themselves with little to no distractions. And although I often have a camera in hand, it’s the moments between frames that stick with me the most and carry me through to the next visit.
On my latest trip I had the privilege of hearing and seeing some small scale avalanches thunder down the mountains above Meuller Lake as well as spotting some wild tahr exploring the snow capped country side. In Tekapo the skies were clear allowing the stars to dominate the night sky and come morning the sun painted the landscape gold.
Getting to the Mackenzie district is easy and is a nice scenic 3hr drive from either Christchurch or Queenstown airport. If you come over, do yourself a favour and allow plenty of time to switch off from civilisation and absorb the simplicity of the outdoors. It might feel a little strange at first but I can guarantee you won’t regret it.