Chasing Lupins

Today was spent wading through endless photos of lupins from Queenstown, and I sure hope you like them as much as I do! This blog post is about to be 90% lupin love.

On our first morning down south back in December, I decided to head out for an early solo trek to explore the paths near our rental house. I love getting out into the bush when everything is still quiet and the rest of the world hasn’t ventured forth yet. Only a couple minutes from the house, I was already crossing an epic bridge over a stream far below, surrounded by lush forest.



I didn’t have a specific destination in mind, but hoped to make it to the lakeshore so I could walk along it on my way back. As the path climbed up through the pines, I glimpsed views of a glassy Lake Wakatipu.


I emerged to a view of Fernhill, a stunning Queenstown suburb where I stayed with my family a couple years ago. This photo looks like it could be in the Swiss Alps somewhere.


Moments later, I almost shrieked with joy when I saw a field full of colorful lupins. I’ve seen so many photos of the South Island in bloom, featured on every tourist’s Instagram, but I’ve never made it to this region in late spring/early summer.


Needless to say, I couldn’t get enough, as you’ll see! Dew and long grass couldn’t stop me from exploring every possible of angle, as if lupins could possibly have a bad side.

I’ve seen the beautiful lupin known as the bluebonnet, the state flower of Texas, many times. It was something entirely different to see a rainbow of colors, though! In fact, this variety is known as the Russell lupin and was purposely bred to eliminate blue coloring.


I can’t gloss over the fact that these beautiful flowers are yet another invasive species in NZ. Introduced initially as a garden plant (from a North American variety brought over to NZ via the UK) and then sprinkled along roadsides in the 1950s, it’s since run rampant over the South Island. When in bloom, the seemingly endless lupins carpeting the region amidst soaring mountain ranges bring tourists and photographers from far and wide. I count myself amongst those who have felt the draw of their incredible beauty, and it’s hard not to appreciate them despite their status as non-natives. After all, I’m a North American transplant too!


After quite some time spent in this small field, I figured I should get moving. Little did I know how many more lupins lay ahead.

Walking down towards the lake through the streets of Fernhill, I got great views looking back toward the city.


Can’t say I’d mind living here, but I think Andy and I would probably have to win the lottery.


Another small path beckoned, and I found myself surrounded by lupins again. I couldn’t believe my luck – they were perfectly placed in front of a stunning backdrop of lake and mountains.


I had to climb into a very awkward spot to get these shots, but it was worth it. I love how the colors stand out against the cloudy lake.


I tore myself away yet again, and soon made it to the lakefront. Surprise – more blooms!


Across the water, NZ’s namesake long white cloud (Aotearoa, the Māori name for this country, translates to “land of the long white cloud”) made an appearance in front of Cecil Peak.




Of course, I had to get a photo of my own bluebonnet tattoo (in honor of my grandparents) with some real lupins. It’s only fitting this was all in view of Cecil Peak. My Grandpa Ann and Papa Cecil must be smiling down.


I came pretty close to falling over while trying to get these photos. Luckily, no one else was in view!

I thought I’d change it up with a photo of some foxgloves for variety:


Another invasive, yet beautiful, species.


This was my first time walking this part of the lakefront in Queenstown, and there were surprises around every corner. I’d love to go back when I have more time to explore, next time I’m down south.

Heading towards town, the path skirted alongside a rocky beach, and I was drawn to these tenacious clumps of lupins. I can see how they’ve taken root all over this region, as they can seemingly grow in any environment.



Purple paradise!

Just so you can see who was behind the lens all this time, here’s an “I flippin’ love this place” shot.


I’m sure you can see why.



I wanted to get a photo of both myself and my favorite subjects, but it wasn’t easy with them being so low to the ground. In the end, I prevailed.

Just after finishing up, I saw another woman walking towards me. I felt a little bit silly after crouching behind the flowers, but as I continued on the path, I looked back to see her stooping down to do the exact same thing. No shame in a good photo op!

The day was already warming up and the clouds dissipating, so it was time to head into town to meet the other ladies. More photos to come of our adventures both alongside and on a boat tour of the glorious Lake Wakatipu. 🙂

2 thoughts on “Chasing Lupins

  1. These may be your most stunningly beautiful photos yet. Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu are the perfect setting for lupine, and you captured all three in their full glory.


  2. You were most fortunate to find yourself adrift in a sea of lupin/lupine (wonder why the Yanks & Kiwis haven’t come to terms on the spelling) while in Queensland, Kelsey. Your photos are fantastic. Gorgeous flowers with drop-dead backdrops. Love the bit about the woman copying your technique!


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