The Road to Aoraki/Mt Cook

The road to the impressive Aoraki/Mt Cook, State Highway 80 is one of the most beautiful drives in NZ. New Zealand photography by Laurie Winter.

The road to the Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park is one of the most beautiful tourist drives in New Zealand, officially known as State Highway 80. The first part of the road runs parallel to the stunning aquamarine Lake Pukaki and very quickly offers multiple glimpses of the majestic Mt Cook at the end. About half way, the lake ends and you drive alongside the Tasman River, with views of both Aoraki and the Tasman Valley. Along the drive there are multiple locations to stop and take in the impressive views of the mountains. It is not uncommon to see cars pulled to the side of the road, with arms waving cameras out the window. 

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This view is taken about fifteen minutes before you arrive at Mt Cook Village. I always feel such anticipation driving towards Mt Cook, knowing that adventures await. The perspective is achieved by using a long lens (otherwise known as a zoom). When zoomed in, such a lens will compress the perceived distance between the foreground and the rear of the image, creating a wonderful sense of scale that wide angle lenses (and iPhones!) are just not able to capture. I love this photo for the feeling of enormity it provides along, with the leading line to the mountain. Taken in the late afternoon when the low sun began to colour the peaks and ice shelves of Mt Cook in golden tones. 

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