The South of South Island – Aotearoa’s Fiord-land

A photographic journey  –   by Philip Bell

Below us stretched a quilted  blanket of glacial lakes, valleys and craggy granite peaks wreathed in snow.  We were flying into Queenstown,  the centre of New Zealand’s South Island, from what the Kiwis call their ‘Western Island’ (and I know as  ‘Australia’). 

Aotearoa’s vast alpine plateau is marked on its West by deep fiords, some only accessible from the Tasman Sea, others by road from lakeside towns such as Queenstown and Te Anau. For the ambitious walker, the Milford or the Kepler Tracks offer the reward of alpine forests and glacial sounds as their destinations. Fiordland National Park is aptly named and literally hundreds of glaciers crease the South-West of the South Island below Milford Sound, itself perhaps the most visited landscape in the country. To the East lies the famed Otago Peninsua home to one of only a few protected Albatross breeding colonies.

I recently spent two weeks exploring and photographing some of this wonderfully diverse country.  This is a sample of some of the most arresting features of the South of the South Island.


Philip Bell is an Australian  friend of Denmark who has exhibited some of his landscapes in Copenhagen. The New Zealand images shown here  are available from Philip through his Gallery website,  or by e-mailing him at: