Never Stop the Journey: A Queenstown adventure with Olympus

A sponsored post for Olympus

I was thrilled to be asked to be a part of a recent excursion to Queenstown with Olympus for the launch of their new OM-D E-M10 Mark III camera. Having never tried an Olympus camera before I was really excited to see how it worked and of course compare it to other cameras I have used and tried in the past. As someone who loves to take photos every single day and is pretty much self taught (making stuff up as I go and usually straight out of the camera without any editing) I knew for some time I wanted to up my ante and try and take better photos. I found that I just kind of winged it the whole time and would luck into the odd good photo. Bad habits continued to stay that way, mostly because I never knew how to fix them and as much as I could hassle Rob who is much better than me, I just kept on winging it.

I had become a lazy photographer with bad habits, who rarely changed lenses, didn’t have any clue about processing or editing my photos and had actually forgotten the actually basics of photography like exposure and aperture etc.

So to have the chance to go to somewhere as beautiful as Queenstown in New Zealand, use a brand spanking new camera and learn from some experts, well it took me all of 2.3 seconds to say MANY THANKS YES SIR!

I’m going to be doing a series of posts about this camera, showing you the ins and outs and capabilities and hopefully show you guys just how much I have learnt and how I ADORE this little pocket rocket of a camera. This is the first; showing you what we got up to and I’ll also go into more details about the camera and then have a crack at shooting video, which I have never really done before (hello videographer as a husband). It’s all been about professional development, getting out of my comfort zone and trying new things….and boy have I done ALL that and some. I can’t believe just how much I have learnt and I think how much better my photos have been because of it.

But first? The adventure!

We arrived Friday afternoon into the sublime Queenstown. Have you been? If not I urge you to think about it for your next adventure. The place is STUNNING. And under 3 hours from Sydney…to feel like you are literally in Europe, or the other side of the world? It’s a no brainer. BOOK IT IN ALREADY. We were staying at the gorgeous Rees Luxury Apartments and Hotel on beautiful Lake Wakatipu with it’s own beach and wharf the views from every single window were extraordinary. I was in a 1 bedroom apartment which was huge (kitchen, laundry, balcony, lounge room with fire place etc) and would definitely be back with the family as it’s so central to anywhere you needed to go.

We headed out Friday afternoon and evening for a boat trip on Lake Wakatipu for a drinks and dinner cruise…the scenery each moment changing and somehow becoming more and more beautiful. The light! The mountains! The lake! I squealed a lot, and frantically tried my best to try and capture it all. I couldn’t really….and lots of moments I just had to put the camera down and soak it up in my mind. Honestly, so beautiful.

Saturday morning saw us get an early workshop session in with Lisa from The Wandering Lens who was so generous with all her knowledge and set us up for our big day of shooting and exploring.

First stop was a helicopter ride to the top of The Remarkables for the most amazing view of Queenstown and surrounds. There was snow! Mountains to scramble up and down, so much to shoot and learn with the weather and light changing every few minutes. An unforgettable experience for sure.

Then it was back in the chopper and down the valley to Gibbston Valley Winery for some wine tasting in a cave and a wonderful tasting menu for lunch matched with some of their amazing pinots, roses and chardonnays. I may or may not have joined their wine club and will continue to enjoy their wines back home.

We then jumped into our bus and headed down towards Wanaka past green fields with leaping lambs to the Wanaka Lavender Farm. Whilst the lavender was not in bloom it was still a gorgeous place to visit with truly beautiful gardens and a pig who I became firm friends with.

From there we headed into Wanaka to the famous Wanaka Tree, New Zealand’s most photographed tree where we all had a crack at taking the best shot using lots of different techniques we had picked up from each other. I was also lucky enough to sample a few different lenses from the team at Olympus…what a treat to try them all out. They really do make some cracking lens.

Our drive home through Cardrona to Arrowtown was another breathtaking (and for some car sickness inducing) drive. We tried to stop along the way for some shots but the buffeting icy wind had us all retreating to the bus. Honestly, those views down the valley towards the airport are something else!

Arrowtown was a picture perfect town I would love to explore further at some stage, teeny tiny cottages with spring gardens in full bloom, babbling brooks and historic gold mines. Loved it here.

We then wearily drove back into Queenstown to the new QT Bazaar restaurant for dinner. This is on top of the current Rydges and will opening from Dec 2017. If you have been to the Gold Coast QT restaurant you will see much of the same great style and food here. We were all pretty exhausted so headed back to the hotel to collapse before Sunday.

After another morning workshop session, this time with Rachel Devine aka Sesame Ellis we headed back on the road to Glenorchy, to Lord of the Rings territory and some gorgeous windy roads around mountains on one side and the lake on the other. Another trip I won’t forget.

Then last stop? To Fergburger of course, a Queenstown institution made famous for its superior burgers. Dead set, just when you think things can’t get any better! I scoffed that down very quickly before heading back to the airport to head back home.

What a whirlwind adventure! I left with my head spinning, so many new friends made and a real improvement of my skills. I felt like I had a master class in photography, lens, techniques all with the most gorgeous scenery in the world to practice on. What a dream come true.

As I mentioned I will go into more technical information in my next post, and share some of the highlights of this camera and some of the new techniques and technologies I am using, but for now (if you are still with me after all these words and images!) I will say a HUGE thank you to Olympus for the wonderful opportunity; it was a gift I will not ever forget.

Have you been to Queenstown or visited any of these places?
Got anything specific you’d like to know about the camera or photos that I took?
What are your biggest frustrations with taking photos?
Equipment (size, weight etc)
Or skill?

You can check out (and purchase) the camera I used online here.

I was the very lucky guest of Olympus at this excursion and was gifted the new OM-D E-M10 Mark III camera.


  1. Oh Wow! Your photo’s are beautiful! Absolutely stunning scenery! No wonder you want to go back. What an opportunity. I’ll be following along to learn more about this camera and how you found it. I’ve been promising myself a decent camera for years but my skill level is ‘zero’ so I’ve just been plodding along with my iPhone camera. Can’t wait to see more of the amazing photos you snapped on the trip.

    • Thanks Sandra – have loved the size and weight of this little pocket rocket of a camera which is completely different to what I have used in the past. Thanks for following along x

  2. I always love your photos and couldn’t love this post more. Very emotional/poignant part of the world for me.

  3. We are lucky enough to live a 3 hour car drive from this beautiful area and quite often escape to there. Love it, especially Arrowtown, my fave wee town! Looks like you had an amazing trip.

  4. Oh man, I love New Zealand. AND I’ve always been such a fan of your killer skills with a camera. But my favourite part of this post would have to be the company. Can’t argue with that for a great time. 10/10. Haha.

  5. Dawn Walden says

    Thank you so much for the info. I too will be reading more about the Olympus. I’m in the market to buy a new camera that is easy to use and takes great photos. My last purchase if s much bigger camera really hadn’t worked. Loved all your photos.. and yes Queenstown and Arrow town certainly on my favourites list.

    • I am loving the size and weight of this little pocket rocket. The clarity of the lens is so good too – and as for NZ – take me back! Hope to get the kids back there some time soon. Need to explore Arrowtown further it was ADORABLE.

  6. Loved Queenstown, have some gorgeous shots of our own from Arrowtown (fabulous memories) and really LOVE THAT PIG!

  7. I loved following this trip, and was devo when I had to go somewhere and had to miss everyone’s IG stories for the day! We did a driving trip around the south island when the kids were babies and it was one of my favourite holidays ever. That drive over and through Cardrona is insane! I hurt my neck from craning out the windows for 10 days haha xx

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