Our first international campaign shot on location just outside of Queenstown NZ…
Instantly falling for the rugged barren landscape scattered with soft pink grasses and wildflowers. It was the beginning of the love affair with the South Island, we went not knowing what we would find just with a few pictures from people we follow on Instagram and a determined vision for this campaign, and we found magic and beauty everywhere we looked.
The day before we arrived there had been a freak drop of snow on all the mountain peaks due to a cyclone passing through Wellington earlier in the week, nothing prepared me for the spectacular beauty of flying into Queenstown of the first time, over rugged mountains and glaciers we where all glued to the window or stretched over each other to get a better view.
We arrived the day before the shoot and only had 2.5 days to location scout shoot the campaign and then fly home so the pressure was on!
As soon as we landed Wade and I dropped the crew at our hotel and headed out to Lindis Pass in search of those expansive hills with their snow capped peaks and beautiful pink and brown grasses, after driving for nearly 2 hours through rich farmland full of lush green paddocks we started to wonder if we would find what we had come for, but finally the landscape started to climb and we came across exactly what we had hoped for.
This is the first shot we took that day and its still my fave.
When researching shooting around Queenstown we had come across pics of an abandoned hotel made from local schist and it was the perfect second location for the campaign, it ended u being a lot harder to find the old hotel site than we anticipated with our only directions being that it was 6ks down a bumpy dirt road called Old Faithful and no phone reception!
So after driving down several dirt tracks looking for it we decided to head back to Queenstown when out of the corner of my eye I see written on the back of a street sign in blue sharpie pen “Old Faithful” so we started to head down this windy bumpy boggy road thinking I hope we don’t get bogged and have to walk out of here, hahah, and along comes a ute with a couple of guys sitting in the back with shotguns and we are thinking ‘OMG I hope we haven’t wandered onto someone’s land’ but they just drove straight past us so we continued on and very happily found the ruins we had been searching for at the end of the road!
Lets just say I fell hard for the south island and ended up going back a month later with the family to stop at some of the places we had driven past and didn’t have time to stop at!
Here is my little guide to where we went:
While shooting the campaign we stayed in an apartment at The Rees which has views across Lake Wakatipu to the alpine panorama of the Remarkable Mountain range, the rooms where really nice & all had fireplaces.
On our second trip we stayed at an apartment in town which we booked last minute through A touch of spice they were amazingly helpful and have some stunning properties.
If we where to go again we would stay around the Lake Hayes area to be close to Amisfield and nearby Arrowtown which is like walking into another time.
We went in February and April.
The area surrounding Queenstown is scattered with beautiful wineries most have cellar doors where you can pop in for a glass of wine and a cheese platter or buy a whole case to be sent home.
Amisfield has a fine dining restaurant alongside the cellar door we had the “Trust the Chef” signature menu which offers a shared dining experience, with dishes selected by the chef based on fresh produce and ingredients available on the day and the food was next level, this was by far the best dining experience we had in the Queenstown region.
Just down the road you will find Wet Jacket cellar door, which is a bit more laid back.
If you head to Wanaka a trip to Rippon is a must a biodynamic winery overlooking lake Wanaka.
There are lots of roadside fruit stalls throughout the region and you depending on the season you can get delicious stone fruit, cherries and local fruits at a bargain price.
We spent our time chasing glaciers as Bodhi & I have never seen the snow we got so excited every time we turned a corner and saw a glacier in the distance although as hard as we tried we couldn’t get close enough to touch the ice.
We where lucky that the weather was warm enough to jump into the icy cold crystal clear lake at Wanaka we drove from Queenstown over the The Crown Range road it is the highest main road in New Zealand and although very windy and at times scary its stunningly beautiful with amazing views.
We spent most days driving around just exploring and taking whatever road looked interesting so we found some treasures that has left us wanting to go back and explore more.
Muse – Ellen Koivisto CHIC
Photographer – Wade Edwards
Art Direction – Rowie Moore
Stylist – Marisa Sidoti
Hair & Make-up – Angie Barton
Creative Direction – Maya Edin