February 22 is the one month anniversary of the devastating earthquake that hit Christchurch, New Zealand. This week travel bloggers from all over the world are banding together to help New Zealand get back to the business of welcoming travellers and tourists to their incredibly beautiful country. I’m proud to do my part in getting the word out about New Zealand and how you can help. While some areas of the country were badly damaged and lives were lost, New Zealanders are a courageous and resilient people who are not afraid to roll up their sleeves, and get their country back in shape. But pride and courage are not enough, and New Zealand needs your help.
Here is what you can do:
Make a donation by credit card to the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal
New Zealand Red Cross online donation
We’ve all heard the bad news about the earthquake, and we all feel a sense of sadness and loss when something terrible happens to a friend or family member. Today I feel a kinship with my brothers and sisters in New Zealand, and I’m going to accentuate the positive side of this most beautiful of countries. The earthquake hit the area of Christchurch, however the rest of the country is largely unaffected by the quake. Many people think that the whole country is in ruins because of what they saw on the news, this is just not so! I’m here to tell you that the people of New Zealand are ready to welcome you with open arms right now. It was my experience that New Zealand is not just the most naturally beautiful place I have ever been fortunate enough to visit, but the people were so kind and welcoming, that I felt right at home from the moment I landed in Christchurch back in 2006.
Where else in the world other than New Zealand can you see so much diversity in the landscape, in such a short amount of time? Within a few hours of driving, you can see, beaches, snow capped mountains, glacier fed lakes, fjords, volcanoes, wine country in the valleys, glaciers, hot springs, and the list goes on, and on. This is truly one of the world’s most incredible places and I feel so fortunate to have been able to visit. I was only there for a short time, but in the 5 days I had, I drove well over 2000 kilometres, just to be able to see as much as I possibly could. Was it enough? No way! I know that one day I’ll be back for an extended trip that will allow me the chance to photograph so much more than I was able to during my first visit. I remember having this feeling of absolute awe on so many occasions and in so many places during my road trip. The feeling I got when standing alone in such magnificent places, just like New Zealand itself, defies description. I wonder if New Zealanders realize just how lucky they are, to live in what I consider to be the most beautiful place in the world.
The main thing I want to convey today, besides that New Zealand is a stunningly beautiful place, is the fact that New Zealand is ready to welcome you and all travellers right now. If New Zealand is not on the top of your list of countries that you want to visit, it should be, trust me. Tourism plays a big part in the economy in New Zealand, and one of the best ways to help the country in their recovery efforts, is to take that trip of a lifetime to Aotearoa, which is the Maori name for the country, and means Land of the Long White Cloud. Not only are in in for the time of your life when you visit New Zealand, but you’re also helping our Kiwi friends when they really need it. Good on ya!
New Zealand is open for business!
Here are some great resources to help you plan your trip to New Zealand
Airlines that fly to New Zealand
National Geographic New Zealand Guide
100 Maori words every New Zealander should know
Hei konā rā
Enjoy more travel photos and stories:
art lover says
What beauty in your pictures. What love in your discourse. I wanna visit “Aotearoa”.—–And what fun the Maori language. Stupendous, versatile and informative blog.
Having travelled those roads it is amazing to see them through your eyes. I have family and friends in Christchurch – Im at the bottom of NZ – so thank you for this beautiful post!
Nice to see New Zealand love here Ken! Lake Tekapo is my favourite place.
John in France says
Your photos and comments are breath-taking! It’s as though I’m looking at a selection of amazing paintings! Thanks for this.
South America ME says
My wife and I spent a month in the South Island and there was still a lot more we could have seen and done.
Love the photos, bring back memories.
Carlos Garcia says
Informative and helpful blog Ken! These images are fantastic! Beautifully framed and rendered. I think I saw a Hobbit!
I have always wanted to go and these photos are only rekindling a travel desire. Beautiful images for a wonderful cause. Thank you.
Ken Kaminesky says
Art, you’d love it there. New Zealand is almost too good to be true.
Julie, How lucky you are to live in such a beautiful part of the world!
John, thanks to you for all your efforts in putting together the whole Blog4NZ campaign. A great cause for a wonderful land and people.
South, I concur, one month is barely enough. I’d love to live there for a year, maybe more :)
Carlos, Hobbits abound everywhere! ;) I hope that you and your family get the chance to visit NZ one day. It’s like heaven on earth :)
Roxanne, I’m sure you’ll get there one day. As a world traveller , you owe it to yourself to see this incredible country. :)
You r awesome! and i bet nz is too… or so it looks like
Fantastic work! These shots actually remind me a lot of California’s landscape, which I love. Can’t wait to make it to New Zealand.
Lacy Morris says
Beautiful Blog! Here is our go at Blog4NZ: http://blogs.away.com/travel/2011/03/christchurch-and-japan-earthquakes-how-travelers-can-help.html
Yet another beautiful post Ken!! I particularly love the very last image of the grapevines.
jill- Jack and Jill Travel The World says
Beautiful pics. Heard nothing but good things about this country — can’t wait to visit it.
Siddhartha Joshi says
This is a very appropriate gesture ken, especially since you visited and enjoyed the place so much…
Lovely pictures as usual…
Ken, thanks for sharing these stunning pictures! I love the Otago vineyards!
Lorna - the roamantics says
gosh this is all so beautiful!!! fab picks as usual sure to inspire new travelers (like me!) to NZ :)
Dave and Deb says
You know what is funny is that just 2 days ago we stopped at the exact same lookout and I took almost the same photos! I guess great minds do think alike:-)
We are in Wanaka right now and I have a sneaking suspicion that that vineyard is right around the corner fro where we are staying.
Pretty cool and great images as usual!
Ken Kaminesky says
Dave & Deb, I remember that lookout so vividly. It was one of those moments that I had in NZ, where I just felt like everything was properly aligned in the universe. New Zealand has a way of making me feel like that. I’m so jealous of all your cool adventures down there, hope to get back myself one day soon!
Ha! I have pretty much the same shot of the Lake County lookout from when I was there in April 2009! :) I went back this past January and spent one month on the North Island and I have to say, it truly is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. There is something so natural and it seems to have an unscathed beauty that hasn’t been ruined by overpopulation and urbanization. I think as a Canadian I feel right at home in the country because both Canada and New Zealand seem to have little brother syndrome when it comes to our national mentality constantly being compared to our bigger, badder country next door. New Zealanders are some of the most kind and hospitable people I’ve encountered in my travels.
Two weeks after I left for Australia, Christchurch was hit by the big earthquake that killed nearly 200 people, I had two backpacking friends that were in the city and they lost everything they owned and were lucky to be alive. Months later, I continue to keep Christchurch in my heart, and hope that when I return in the new year, I can visit and do my part to help out.
I plan to visit New Zealand in the foreseeable future for vacation as well as a photo shoot the images that were captured here are stunning. The background is a Landscape Photographer Paradise the beauty in each image.
I wish I’ll visit these places once…