New Zealand: Photo Gallery
Captions and photos by Jeffrey James
Above: I took this photo on Mt. Coronet during this year's Gay Ski Week NZ in Queenstown. Mike Sanford and Craig Lawson host the biggest gay and lesbian alpine party in the southern hemisphere, and queer ski bunnies take over the town and mountains all week. When sun sets, the party moves to the newly renovated Novotel Queenstown Lakeside Hotel for happy hour "Fag Tag" cocktails and warm spirits.
I took a week touring New Zealand before hitting the slopes. My first big stop was in Wellington, New Zealand's capital city. I took this shot down by the Wellington Waterfront on my way to the famous Te Papa Tongarewa Museum.
My next stop was in Nelson, down on the south island. I met up with artist Anna Leary on a wine and art tour and she and Noel Kennedy gave me the grand tour of her artwork, the countryside, and a taste of Patrick Stowe's unbelievable Pinot Noir at Rimu Grove Winery.
I woke up my second morning
in Nelson at couple Richard Hewetson and James Taylor's Te Puna Wai bed and
breakfast with the best view in town. James and Richard are my favorite
couple in New Zealand, so sweet and welcoming, their Te Puna Wai is the
perfect place to stay. I didn't know much about Nelson prior to my arrival and
was delighted to find it the perfect place to relax, visit artist's homes and
enjoy great local wine.
I couldn't have had a better host with Wilsons while exploring the Abel Tasman National Park. Craig Wilson is a local celebrity and former chef of Pavarotti and Paul McCartney. Craig and I took the Vista to the middle of the park and hiked for a few hours before enjoying an amazing homemade lunch on the cruise back .
I met up with Sofia Minson on a private tour with Melissa Crockett with Potiki Adventures in Auckland. Sofia is an incredible painter celebrating people, culture, and nature. She made me some banana bread and we hung out for an afternoon as she showed me some of her new work and shared stories of her Maori heritage.
I have to admit, I'm a big
Lord of the Rings nerd. Every place you go in New Zealand will boast
their connection to Peter Jackson's infamous trilogy. I opted for the
ultimate chance to experience the films first hand on the Flat Earth New
Zealand Experiences Tour in Wellington. This picture was taken in the
Shire, just down from the summit of Mount Victoria where Jackson filmed scenes
of Buckland Forest. I didn't run into any hobbits, but got my Lord of the
Rings fix and plenty of pictures to bring home.
On my last night in
Queenstown I had an amazing dinner at Fishbone Bar & Grill with
owners Mark Godden and Darren Lovell and was able to catch the sunset over Lake
Wakatipu. With the Remarkables on the left and the TSS Earnslaw ship on
the right, the view from town is the best spot to watch night fall on New
Zealand. New Zealand is a magical country full of adventure, breathtaking
views and friendly people.