360 Panoramas at Castle Hill

Back in February of 2011 we traveled from Christchurch up through the mountain passes northwest of Christchurch (read more about it here). This is a beautiful area of mountain alps with giant boulders, beautiful valleys, rocky streams, countless mountain tarns and lakes, and beautiful evergreen trees. The entire time, you feel like you are going through the set of the movies “Lord of the Rings” – with good reason.

Along the way between Arthur’s Pass and Christchurch we came across some beautiful huge boulders on the side of a valley. There was a large parking lot off the road, as this is a popular stop known as Castle Hill. It’s a great place to stop and stretch your legs and walk out to the boulders and climb around them. Stupendous views of the rocks, the valley, and the surrounding mountains. The Castle Hill area is actually known for a scene shot near there for “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”.

As we arrived some clouds moved through the area and robbed us of some of the sunshine. The first 360 I took shortly after we arrived as we were climbing up the main boulders. I took this one without a tripod on the side of a path up through the boulders. The seven or eight shots I took stitched together pretty well and really captures the sense of majesty of these boulders and the scenery around us. And, the sun was still out a bit at this point.

Going Up at Castle Rock in New Zealand in New Zealand

There was an area in the main grouping of boulders, at the top of the main cliff, which was relatively flat. I put the tripod as close to the edge of the cliff as I felt comfortable and took this second panorama. It was cloudier then. You can see the cows in the pasture below, and the parking lot in the distance near the copse of trees along the path. I would love to go back and shoot more photos here on a sunny day. Definitely worth the visit!

Atop Castle Rock in New Zealand

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2 Responses to 360 Panoramas at Castle Hill

  1. Been following your travels since well before you made it to NZ, and enjoyed seeing you enjoy the country here. We’ve built a log holiday house at Castle Hill Village, and with all the rock-climbing, mountain-biking, skiing, hiking, fishing etc on offer, the Castle Hill Basin is an awesome place for anyone to chill out.
    The reserve you took your photos in is called Kura Tawhiti Conservation Area, and has quite an extensive Maori history behind the beauty.
    The beautiful evergreen trees are not actually native to New Zealand, and indeed pose a threat to the sensitive high country eco-systems in the foothills of the Southern Alps.
    Keep posting about your travels, and hopefully your eye continues to improve.

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