By Mark Clinton
The talented Mark Clinton is one of our all-time favourite photographers. He spends almost as much time here in Wanaka as he does in his home town of Sydney.
We asked him what it is about this place that keeps bringing him back?
My name is Mark Clinton, I’m currently living on the Northern Beaches of Sydney and I’m madly in love with Wanaka. By trade, I'm a commercial photographer which allows me the freedom of being my own boss and to work alongside like-minded creatives.
My first stint to New Zealand back in Winter13 I rented a camper and road tripped around the South Island, giving me a taster of the individual regions. Overall Wanaka’s gentle, yet modern pace sat well with me.
It wasn’t until the following year an autumn surf trip sent me across the ditch. We lucked into meeting a great local crew where I also met another keen local who would divide the year between Dunedin and Wanaka. He swore by the wintertime vibe that Wanaka gives off and invited me back. It was the following trip where I spent a couple of weeks immersed in the outgoing, outdoor lifestyle, after several days spent skiing, hiking and even surfing I was converted!
I’m now coming up to my 15th trip to Wanaka over this summer and still have a bunch of locations on my hit list. To be able to hop on a 3-hour flight from Sydney’s hustle and be transported to a region so remote and an open air lifestyle to match resonated very close to me. Being a fan of Lord Of The Rings didn’t hurt either…
During summer I’m a strong advocate for a morning activity then cool off in the lake afterwards. Notable mentions go out to the half day hikes out past the Matukituki and near Hawea, the riverwave, bike riding at Deans Bank or happy hour at Kai.
I was completely oblivious to Wanaka being trans-seasonal. Never did I expect to be baking by the lake in board shorts overlooking distant mountains still holding the remaining memories from winter. Oh, and that Wanaka has amazing coffee too!!!
Out towards Beacon Point by the lake at sunset is incredible although if you want more of a lively atmosphere then Kai Whakapai or Lake Bar for happy hour!
I tend to look no further than Kai Whakapai for the hangover pep talk. Spicy bean burrito or the big breakfast fills the tank. Also, the booths upstairs have enough direct sunlight to warrant wearing sunglasses inside too.