Postcards from New Zealand

Words by Dalene Heck / Photography by Dalene & Pete Heck
In many ways, visiting New Zealand felt like visiting home.On our first day after landing in Queenstown, when we were wandering the shores of Lake Wakatipu before traveling to our housesit in Wanaka, we kept remarking how much it reminded us of interior British Columbia. Mount Cook felt like Jasper National Park. Franz Josef Glacier has similarities to Lake Louise.

After awhile, exploring New Zealand made us terribly homesick.

The South Island is as stunning as everyone says, and the fact that a single day’s drive through mountain ranges took us from one craggy coast to another of dense rainforest is quite unique and astounding. But overall, and please trust us when we say we mean this with no disrespect whatsoever, we have seen much of it before. Maybe not in such a tiny little exciting package, but for us, the quote in the sidebar of this post is bang on.

The upshot is that because we love and are proud of our own country’s beauty, that means we left New Zealand with a lot of admiration as well.

Because as you can tell through the postcards below, what’s not to love?

“New Zealand feels like you took all the best bits of Canada and squished them onto a tiny island.” ~ Evangeline Lilly
Road to Mount Cook

Road to Mount Cook

Mount Cook Reflections

Hooker Valley Track

New Zealand Roads



Wanaka Tree Sunrise

Sky on Fire

Wanaka New Zealand

Blue Pools

Roys Peak

New Zealand Rivers

Purakaunui WaterFalls

West Coast Road

Hamner Springs

Kaikoura Landscape

Kohaihai Track to Scotts Beach

Blue Pools

Gemstone Beach

Gemstone Beach

Pancake Rocks

Brighton Rocks

Brighton Rocks

Kayaking Mapourika Lake

Kayaking Mapourika Lake with Glacier Country Kayaks


Still water kayak with Glacier Country Kayaks

Franz Josef Glacier

Inside Franz Josef Glacier, heli-hiking with The Helicopter Line.

Franz Josef

A view of Franz Josef Glacier, from The Helicopter Line.

how to do it

We thoroughly enjoyed both of our big excursions by helicopter and by kayak while staying in Franz Josef (the last four photos above). It was our first heli-hike ever with The Helicopter Line, and it was really fun to stomp around on a glacier for a couple of hours. And you know us, any day in a kayak is a most excellent one, and we cruised with our guide from Glacier Country Kayaks on the glassy surface of Lake Mapourika.And one more shout out to Maui Motorhomes who enabled so much of our exploration with the complimentary use of their Ultima camper van. And now they are offering a discount to our readers – use the code GOBYCAMPER when booking to get 5% off of your rental!

While some of our excursions were provided complimentary, as always, all opinions are our own.

13 Comments... Read them below or add one of your own
  • Victoria | Girl Tries Life
    November 9 2015

    I had the exact same feeling traveling through NZ! I kept thinking how similar it was to so many different parts of Canada that I’d seen, particularly the Rockies and BC. Not just in scenery, but in spirit as well. I felt that the adventurous spirit, the laid back nature, it had a very Canadian feel to it. OR… we have a very New Zealand feel to us? Either/or, it’s a stunning country and felt very much like home. On the plus side, travel distances were phenomenally shorter!

    • Pete
      November 11 2015

      Definitely shorter travel distances! Agreed that it is definitely stunning for scenery, just nothing really unfamiliar for us. Thanks Victoria!

  • November 9 2015

    I agree that the South Island looks very much like the Rockies and that NZ and Canada have a very similar vibe with similar people. For Canadians I would actually recommend the North Island over the South as it is quite different to Canada with the sub tropical north, white sand beaches and volcanic activity – I hope you guys make it there next time (I was just back in the South Island for 10 days after six years away and it made me feel very homesick for the Rockies after living there for six weeks this summer)
    Katie recently posted..Overcoming my fears on a Denali flightseeing tour

    • Pete
      November 11 2015

      We haven’t even been to the north island, but funny enough I would recommend the same (unless said Canadian had never been to Alberta or BC) 🙂

  • November 10 2015

    Hamner Springs and Pancake Rocks! Neither of these were on my radar at all before seeing these postcards. Staggeringly gorgeous. Can’t wait to see more from NZ!
    Katie recently posted..Trading Sunsets for Moonrises: The Staircase to the Moon

    • Pete
      November 11 2015

      Excellent, there’s a track just before the pancake rocks (north) that is worth checking out. I forget the name of it, but if you make it there pop into the visitor center and they will tell you.

      • Jackie
        December 2 2015

        Amazing postcards 🙂 I haven’t been to Hanmer springs either, but just fyi.. you have it spelled wrong 😉

  • These photos are beyond incredible. Can we borrow Pete for our next journey to take pictures? We promise to feed him.


    Larissa and Michael
    Michael @ Changes in Longitude recently posted..Passports with Purpose: Help a worthy cause, get a chance at a Ranch Vacation!

    • Pete
      November 11 2015

      You should be careful, I can eat a lot 😉

  • November 10 2015

    Wow, it is very reminiscent of the Canadian Rockies (brought back memories from our trip). I can see why it made you homesick…what a beautiful destination!
    Nikki recently posted..Our Gas RV – Reducing Squeaks, Rattles & Engine Noise

  • November 18 2015

    Simply AWESOME! I want to pack my bags and go to New Zealand right now!!
    Arti (@artisdiary) recently posted..Top 7 highlights from BNLF 2015 | IndiBlogger, Mumbai.

  • November 18 2015

    Well, your photos certainly make a compelling argument for visiting! Stunning!
    Leigh recently posted..11 Days of Grand Canyon Whitewater

  • November 20 2015

    Wow Pete, you’re a very talented photographer. I love your photograph of Hooker Valley, it’s a place I’ve yet to explore… Thank you for inspiring me 🙂
    Annabella Dean recently posted..Driving Itinerary: New Zealand’s South Island In 14 Days – Part 1

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