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Obelia McCormack

Designer, photographer, PicTrax app founder, lover of good coffee and real experiences

Uncovering New Zealand’s Hidden Treasures with PicTrax: A Traveler’s Guide

Get ready to explore the uncharted wonders of New Zealand, where pristine beauty and lesser-known destinations await your curiosity. From the enchanting Waitomo Glow Worm Caves to the majestic splendour of Milford Sound, this extraordinary land is a treasure trove of hidden gems. So, pack your bags, fuel your wanderlust, and join us as we embark on an unforgettable journey through the heart of Aotearoa!

Waitomo Caves exit

Waitomo Glow Worm Caves: A Subterranean Spectacle

Waitomo Glow Worm Caves, on the North Island are a must do for any adventurous soul where every step is a journey into enchantment. Step into the heart of the Waitomo Glow Worm Caves, and you'll find yourself transported to a world that seems plucked from the pages of a fairy tale. Here, underground rivers wind their way through ancient chambers, creating a labyrinth of subterranean wonders waiting to be discovered. As you meander along the subterranean rivers on a guided tour, the air becomes filled with a sense of mystery and anticipation. The echoes of the underground waters create a soothing soundtrack, guiding you deeper into the heart of the cave system. It's a place where the very Earth itself seems to whisper its secrets. Yet, the real magic of Waitomo lies above, on the cave ceilings. Thousands upon thousands of tiny bioluminescent creatures, known as Arachnocampa luminosa or simply glow worms, call this underground oasis home. As you gaze upward, it's as if you've been transported to a starlit night sky. The glow worms' radiance creates a tapestry of light, resembling a galaxy of stars.

Rotorua: Where Maori Culture Meets Geothermal Marvels

Journey into the heart of Rotorua, a captivating fusion of Maori culture and the surreal landscapes created by Mother Earth herself. Here, you'll be spellbound by the mesmerising theater of nature's forces in action. You'll witness the Earth's raw power on full display.
Bubbling mud pools, like pots of ancient stew, simmer and gurgle, offering a glimpse into the fiery belly of our planet. Erupting geysers send plumes of steam and hot water soaring into the sky, a reminder that the Earth beneath our feet is very much alive. Vibrant thermal springs, painted in surreal hues of turquoise and emerald, beckon you to immerse yourself in their rejuvenating waters. These natural spas are a testament to the geothermal heartbeat that pulses beneath Rotorua's surface.
Rotorua is a cultural crossroads where history comes to life through immersive Maori traditions. You'll have the privilege of savoring a traditional Hangi feast, where food is cooked to perfection beneath the Earth's surface using the geothermal heat. The tantalising aroma and flavors of this culinary experience will linger in your memory. As you explore the vibrant Maori arts and crafts scene, you'll encounter intricate wood carvings that tell stories of ancient legends and cultural significance. These masterpieces are not merely decorative; they are a living connection to the Maori heritage and their enduring presence in this land.s

Cathedral Cove: Nature's Coastal Masterpiece

Transport yourself to a realm of unparalleled beauty and coastal marvels as we venture to Cathedral Cove. Nestled within the Coromandel Peninsula, this natural wonder showcases the ocean's artistic prowess. Traverse a lush forest and descend onto golden sands, where the monumental Cathedral Cove arch awaits—a testament to the unyielding embrace of waves. Step through the arch and enter a hidden cove where turquoise waters gently caress the shore. Towering cliffs create an ambiance of serene grandeur. For the adventurous, kayak through the clear waters, approaching the cove from the sea—a thrilling perspective that enhances the experience. As sunlight bathes the cove in its golden glow, Cathedral Cove's allure becomes undeniable.

Hot Water Beach: Your Personal Geothermal Spa

Imagine crafting your own hot tub in the sands of a pristine beach. Welcome to Hot Water Beach, a geothermal spa experience created by nature. Nestled on the Coromandel Peninsula, this unique beach lets you harness the Earth's warmth for your relaxation. Whether it's dawn or dusk, a soak in these natural hot pools promises rejuvenation like no other.

Wellington: A Cozy Capital with Creative Spirit

New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington, exudes a delightful blend of art, culture, and warm charm. Explore Te Papa Tongarewa, the national museum, offering a captivating journey through the nation’s history. Wander the vibrant lanes of Cuba Street adorned with street art and unique boutiques. Seek solace in the Botanic Garden or ascend the Wellington Cable Car for breathtaking city views. With a thriving culinary scene and a welcoming atmosphere, Wellington invites you with open arms.

Cape Foulwind: Untamed Natural Beauty

Embrace the untamed beauty of Cape Foulwind, a coastal haven where seabirds soar and salty breezes tell tales of the sea. Traverse clifftop trails while savoring panoramic views of the Tasman Sea. Keep an eye out for fur seals lounging on the rocks below as the rhythmic crash of waves creates a mesmerising tableau of nature’s power and beauty.

Punakaiki blowhole

Punakaiki: Witnessing the Evolution of the Earth Itself

As you embark on a self-drive adventure along New Zealand's West Coast, make sure to include a stop at Punakaiki in your itinerary. This hidden gem offers a captivating experience that beautifully complements the rugged beauty of this region. Journeying to Punakaiki, you'll find yourself in the midst of a natural spectacle that defies imagination. The Pancake Rocks and Blowholes are the main attraction here, and they are nothing short of extraordinary. These rock formations, resembling stacks of pancakes, have been meticulously sculpted by the relentless forces of the ocean over countless millennia. As you walk along the well-maintained trails, you'll marvel at the intricacy of these formations and gain a profound appreciation for the raw power of nature. At high tide, the sea surges into blowholes, creating geysers that shoot water high into the air, a breathtaking display of nature's force.

The Blue Pools: Crystal Waters

Nestled deep within the heart of New Zealand's South Island, the Blue Pools are a hidden treasure that beckons travelers to embark on a journey of wonder and serenity. These pristine pools, tucked away amidst lush forests and snow-capped peaks, offer an otherworldly experience that seems straight out of a dream. As you make your way to the Blue Pools, you'll find yourself immersed in the stunning natural beauty of the South Island. The pools themselves are a masterpiece of nature's artistry. Fed by the crystal-clear waters of the Makarora River, they take on a mesmerizing shade of blue that seems almost too vibrant to be real. The waters are so clear that you can see right to the bottom, where smooth stones and pebbles create a mosaic of colors beneath the surface. To reach the Blue Pools, you'll follow a serene forest walk that winds its way through ancient beech trees. As you walk, the forest's hush envelops you, broken only by the sounds of birdsong and the gentle murmur of the river. It's a place where time slows down, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature. Upon arriving at the Blue Pools, you'll be greeted by a sight that is nothing short of enchanting. Many visitors can't resist the temptation to take a refreshing dip in the pools, although the water's chilly temperatures can be invigorating.

Franz Josef Glacier: The Meeting of Ice and Rainforest

Prepare to stand in awe before the majestic Franz Josef Glacier, a breathtaking spectacle where the passage of time is etched in every crevice and icy facet. As you step onto this frozen wonderland, you're entering a realm where ancient ice collides with lush rainforests, creating a surreal and captivating landscape. Take helicopter tour or a guided glacier hike, where you'll don crampons and follow an experienced guide into the heart of this glacial realm. Here, you'll have the unique opportunity to explore ice caves that seem like nature's own hidden chambers, carved out over millennia by the glacier's inexorable movement. Peer into crevasses that plunge deep into the glacier's icy core, revealing the astonishing blue hues that glint within. As you traverse the glacier's surface, you'll encounter dazzling ice formations, sculpted by wind and water, that seem almost otherworldly in their elegance and complexity. What sets Franz Josef Glacier apart is the stunning contrast between the glacial blue and the vibrant green of the surrounding rainforest. This dynamic interplay of colors is reflected in the mirror-like surface of Lake Matheson.

Bungee jumping near Queenstown New Zealand

Queenstown: The Epicenter of Adventure

Queenstown offers a medley of exhilarating experiences. For the fearless, there's the iconic Kawarau Bridge, where you can take the ultimate leap of faith in a bungee jump that will leave your heart racing and your spirits soaring. As you dangle over the turquoise river, the rush of adrenaline is matched only by the breathtaking scenery that surrounds you.
Queenstown's scenic gondola ride offers a breathtaking perspective of the landscape. As you ascend, the panorama unfolds before your eyes, revealing the grandeur of the Southern Alps and Lake Wakatipu. Just a short drive away lies Arrowtown, a historic gold-mining town frozen in time. Stroll down its quaint streets, lined with rustic cottages and heritage buildings, and you'll feel like you've stepped into a bygone era.
In winter, Queenstown undergoes a magical transformation. The surrounding mountains are blanketed in snow, and the town becomes a haven for skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts. The crisp mountain air and pristine slopes create a winter wonderland that's perfect for those seeking the thrill of the downhill rush.

Huka Falls: A Harmony of Power and Beauty

The thundering roar of Huka Falls is a symphony of nature’s might and beauty. Located near Taupo, these falls are a mesmerizing sight as the Waikato River surges through a narrow gorge. Turquoise waters and mist-filled air create an ethereal atmosphere that leaves you breathless. Whether viewed from a bridge or experienced on a thrilling jet boat ride, Huka Falls promises an unforgettable experience.

Milford Sound screenshot on phone

Milford Sound: Nature's Crown Jewel

Nestled within New Zealand's Fiordland National Park lies Milford Sound, a realm where nature's grandeur is on full display. Towering cliffs rise dramatically from emerald waters, bearing the marks of centuries of wind and water's relentless caress. These colossal formations are humbling, testaments to the Earth's enduring power. Milford Sound's waterfalls are equally breathtaking. From delicate streams trickling down moss-draped rocks to thundering giants plummeting from dizzying heights, each cascade is a sensory delight. Earning its reputation as the "Eighth Wonder of the World" comes as no surprise. Its sheer scale and the intricate details of its natural architecture are awe-inspiring, as if sculpted by a divine hand. Mitre Peak, the fjord's iconic symbol, rises nearly a mile from the water's surface. Its distinctive shape, a testament to millennia of geological forces, defies description and must be seen to be believed. As mist weaves through the landscape, you're enveloped in an enchanting aura. It's a sensation of time standing still, nature's wonders taking center stage.

Explore and Share Your Discoveries with PicTrax

Discover New Zealand’s hidden treasures and share your own unique travel finds with PicTrax—a platform designed for intrepid explorers. With advanced search and filtering capabilities, PicTrax allows you to curate bespoke travel itineraries and connect with a global community of adventurers. Every destination mentioned here can be found and pinned on the PicTrax map. As you traverse New Zealand’s breathtaking landscapes, remember that treasures await at every turn.

From the luminescent marvels of Waitomo Glow Worm Caves to the splendid majesty of Milford Sound, each destination weaves a distinctive chapter in your Kiwi adventure. Embrace the allure of the unknown, let curiosity lead your way, and prepare to unveil the enchantment that transforms New Zealand into a realm of wonder.

Happy explorations, dear adventurers! And remember to capture and share your own New Zealand discoveries on PicTrax, adding your unique chapter to the ongoing narrative of exploration and wonder.

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Learn the PicTrax basics, upload images, create and share collections, navigate to destinations and more.


Frequently asked questions - PicTrax

Here you’ll find the answers to several frequently asked questions, designed to help you learn more about PicTrax and how to get the most from it. This section will grow as more questions are added, so if you don’t see an answer to a question you have, ask us in in our contact form at the bottom of this page and we will do our best to answer you.

Upload images to PicTrax from your mobile device:
1/ Tap on the ‘upload’ icon (plus button). You will find this button in the centre of the bottom navigation bar. PicTrax should open your mobile phone or tablet’s gallery.
NOTE: PicTrax may open your phone’s file structure. If that occurs, simply navigate to your device’s image gallery and album or sub folder.

2/ Tap on the image you wish to upload.
NOTE: We suggest ‘favouriting’ or ‘liking’ images in your gallery or saving to a specific folder for easy location. This helps save time later.

3/ If the selected image contains GPS metadata, the image will automatically be pinned to the capture location. If the GPS metadata is missing or incorrect, you can search for a landmark close to the capture location, and navigate to where you were standing by standard pinch zoom control. When the capture location has been found, tap the map to pin the location.

4/ Fill in the required info fields, or you may choose to change the image.

5/ When the upload form is complete, hit  ‘Save’ and your image will be uploaded to the private or public location as chosen.

NOTE: Navigating away from this window during the upload process may cause the upload to break.

6/ You will then be taken to your image’s ‘detail view’ where you may check the image, mapped location and info for accuracy, edit the information, make public (or private) or delete the image, or leave it as is.

Make money from PicTrax in three easy steps:

  1. Upload a travel pic you’ve taken of a worthwhile destination to PicTrax.
    NOTE: Images with embedded GPS metadata will be automatically pinned to their GPS capture location. If this is incorrect or not available, you can manually pin the image by navigating to the place you were when you took the pic, and tapping the map to pin the image.
  2. Tel friends and family to like your pics. Encouraging follows will increase likes.
  3. Go to your profile and you will see that your earnings have increased by the current ‘Like Action Value’. This will vary from time to time. You can check the current ‘Like Action Value’ here.

When your credits reach (AUD)$20 you can cash it in from the redeem your earnings page.

What can you do to increase your earnings further?

Encourage friends and family to follow you in PicTrax and like your pix. Each time a unique user likes one of your pix, your earnings grow. During promo events, the Like Action Value will increase. It will be particularly beneficial to gain as many likes as you can during bonus promo events!

Absolutely not! At PicTrax, we are ‘Team You’. The platform was built to assist people in the following ways;

  1. Increased awareness of the world and where to find amazing destinations.
  2. Making money from ‘Like Actions’.
  3. Opening an avenue for personal image sales to a potential global audience – via the ability to include a URL to your own online presence in the comments section.

PicTrax has no interest in claiming ownership of user uploaded images, however one or more user images may be seen in on screen video and screenshots taken for promotional purposes.

At PicTrax, we have taken steps to protect your rights by:

  1. Preventing images from being copied, downloaded or taken by screenshot. Images taken via screenshot will have a PicTrax watermark that will prevent the image from being used commercially.
  2. Requiring the uploading user to declare they have copyrights to the image.
  3. Allowing an avenue for reporting in the case that a user does upload an image that they do not have copyrights to.

If you would like to crop, enhance or otherwise edit an image prior to uploading to PicTrax, it is worth noting that some image editing apps will erase the GPS metadata.

We consistently use Snapseed for image enhancement prior to upload as this app retains the GPS metadata AND saves enhanced pix to a created Snapseed gallery folder/album, which allows for easy retrieval in the upload process.

There may be many other image editing apps that retain GPS metadata – please test on one image before committing to any specific image editing app.

Your personal information will not be retained by PicTrax so therefore it cannot be sold to a third party.

PicTrax does serve advertising. In some instances the advertising platform may match your device ID and match it with ad content that it considers relevant to your profile in their existing records.

PicTrax may use your email address to;

  • Communicate system information – you cannot unsubscribe from this as these communications may be required by law, i.e. updated terms of service notification in compliance with changes in legislation.

PicTrax may also use your email address to;

  • Advise of bonus ‘Like Action Value’ periods, or milestones in earnings, likes or other user to user activity.
  • PicTrax may also use your email address to communicate new developed features.

You will of course be able to unsubscribe from these emails.

If you are attempting to upload content in a low or intermittent data environment, the upload may break, showing a partial upload. If this occurs, please delete the image and try again at a later date, in a stronger data environment.

If the uploading device is disrupted through; going into ‘sleep mode’, moving away from the upload screen during upload, accepting a call during upload, the image may fail to upload correctly.

If this does occur, please open the image to detail view and use the elipsis menu in the top right of the image pane to delete the image, and attempt upload at another time.

Yes, in both iOS and Android devices, you will have the ability to apply a ‘heart’ to, or ‘favourite’ an image.

This will place the image in a ‘favourites’ folder which will be much easier to access than scrolling through years’ of photos to find the one you wish to upload.

Using the Snapseed app to enhance your images is a great way to separate your enhanced pix from the rest as Snapseed can save the enhanced pix to a Snapseed folder or album.

Manually moving images to a new folder for upload is another way to separate the images you wish to upload to PicTrax.

Many professional photographers have beautiful images they may wish to share on the PicTrax app.

In order to upload these images to PicTrax, the user must be able to get the images onto their mobile phone or tablet. Here are a few methods we can endorse:

Google Drive and or Dropbox: Upload images to Google Drive or Dropbox from your desktop and download to your phone’s gallery using the Google Drive or Dropbox app.

Direct connection: Connect your phone to your computer via USB or Bluetooth and transfer files to your device’s image gallery files.

Digital SLR WiFi: Many modern cameras, such as Canon, have apps that allow WiFi connection to the camera for remote camera control and image transfer. Check to see if such a method exists for your Digital SLR camera make and model.

Note: We advise saving images to a new folder/album created to receive these images or it may be difficult to locate them within your phone’s image collection.

Users may only delete any images that they themselves have uploaded.

You will find all images you have uploaded in your profile page. Your images can also be found in the main view by filtering on ‘my pix’. Pics that have been uploaded by the logged in user will be distinguishable by a small white dot in the bottom right of the thumbnail.

To delete any of your images, open any ‘owned’ image to ‘detail view’. To access detail view, tap on any image thumbnail in your profile’s ‘All’, ‘Public’ or ‘Private’ image tabs. Users may delete that image by hitting the on-image vertical ellipses icon (…) and selecting ‘delete’ from the resulting drop down menu. The ellipsis menu will be found in the top right corner of any image uploaded by the logged in user when seen in detail view.

NOTE: This will immediately and permanently delete images from the PicTrax platform and cannot be undone.

Users may make an image public or private at any time after upload, or during the upload process.

You will final all images you have uploaded in your profile page. Your images can also be found in the main view by filtering on ‘my pix’. Pics that have been uploaded by the logged in user will be distinguished by a small white dot in the bottom right of the thumbnail.

To change the public/private status of any of your images, open any ‘owned’ image in ‘detail view’. To access detail view, tap on any image thumbnail in your profile’s ‘All’, ‘Public’ or ‘Private’ image tabs. Tap on the on-image vertical ellipses icon (…) and select the correct status from the resulting drop down menu. The ellipsis menu will be found in the top right corner of any image uploaded by the logged in user when seen in detail view.

NOTE: No further action need be taken – the image will now be accessible in the public or private domain as stipulated.

Collections have been created to allow users to save and group their own, and other users’ pix together under a common destination, theme or topic. Creating collections will help when planning a trip, recording past journeys, or just categorizing your favorite images. You can create collections in one of two ways: #1 Create collections from Profile view 1/ Tap on the profile icon in the navigation bar at the bottom of the screen. 2/ In profile view, you will see your collections grouped together under the first tab, labelled ‘Collections’. You will find an empty collection, ready to be named. 3/ Name the collection and when done, hit the ‘tick’ icon to save. 4/ Your newly created collection will now be available under the default, unnamed collection. #2 Create collections from detail view and adding a single image 1/ After tapping on an image you want to collect, you will be taken to ‘detail view’. 2/ Tap on the ‘collect’ (bookmark) icon in the under-image tool bar. 3/ Name your collection and hit ‘done’. You have now created a new collection and added the image to your new collection.

Save an image to one or more collections from detail view
1/ After tapping the on-map thumbnail of an iamge you want to collect, you will be taken to ‘detail view’.
2/ Tap on the ‘collect’ (bookmark) icon in the under-image tool bar.
3/ Name your collection or select and existing collection and hit ‘done’. You have now added the image to your collection.

You can edit your profile details by hitting the settings ‘gear’ icon. This icon can be found in the top right corner of your profile page.
Here you can:

  • Upload or change your profile photo
  • Tap in the editable fields and make changes to your details.

NOTE: Changing username may not be permitted if the username has been taken by another user.

Your image’s GPS meta data may be incorrect due to a number of factors such as;

  • Satellite coverage may have been insufficient at the time of capture, causing the mobile phone or GPS-enabled digital SLR camera to record incorrect data.
  • Your mobile phone’s position may have been determined by mobile phone towers which may have used a ‘triangulation’ method to determine your position at time of capture. This method of location mapping is less accurate than satellite positioning and any resultant images may not be placed correctly on the map.

NOTE: PicTrax advises users to routinely check their images info to make sure the image placement is accurate while in the field to ensure images captured will be placed correctly when uploading to PicTrax.

If your image is not automatically pinned on the the map on upload , it generally means your image’s GPS meta data may be missing or the uploading device’s privacy settings may prevent pinning. This can happen due to a number of factors such as;

  • The image has been saved to a device instead of having been taken with the device.
  • The device may have GPS location services disabled or may not be capable of capturing GPS location data.
  • The image has been saved from a social media account may have had the information erased in submitting to that platform.
  • The image is not an appropriate file type and has been removed by PicTrax admin staff.
  • The image is a screenshot and not an original capture.
  • The metadata may have been stripped by an image editing app such as Photoshop or Lightroom

Inappropriate content
If your image was reported for inappropriate content, your image will be reviewed by PicTrax admin staff and either removed from the platform if the image fails to meet PicTrax’s acceptable publishing standards, or made private, if deemed to be inappropriate for public viewing.
NOTE: No user action is required and no correspondence will be entered into after PicTrax admin action has been taken.

Breach of copyright
If your image was reported for breach of copyright, PicTrax admin staff will investigate the matter.
NOTE: To protect users from ‘internet trolls’, repeated and unfounded reporting may result in the reporting user’s account being deleted.

NOTE: PicTrax admin staff may contact both the user and the reporter to determine the most likely image copyright ownership status. Once PicTrax – through any investigative method deemed appropriate or necessary within Australian law – has determined the most likely owner, the image in question will be removed from the non-owner’s account and no further correspondence will be entered into.

Inaccurate location
If your image was reported for inaccurate location, your image may be made private to ensure other PicTrax users are not directed to wrong locations.
NOTE: No user action is required and no correspondence will be entered into after PicTrax admin action has been taken.
NOTE: No user action is required and no correspondence will be entered into after PicTrax admin action has been taken.

Poor quality or composition
If your image was reported for poor quality or composition, your image may be made private so that you may continue to enjoy your image while maintaining an enjoyable in-app experience for other PicTrax users.
NOTE: No user action is required and no correspondence will be entered into after PicTrax admin action has been taken.
NOTE: PicTrax users, through the acceptance of PicTrax Terms of Service, have agreed to abide by PicTrax acceptable use parameters and multiple breaches or numerous nuisance reporting as well as multiple breaches of PicTrax usage guidelines may see that users’ profile deleted from the platform and potentially banned from PicTrax with no further correspondence being entered into.

PicTrax needs the GPS location data (automatically stored in many digital images taken on mobile phones and or cameras) in order to plot the image on the global map so that others may discover the location for themselves, or so that you can plot your private journeys on a global map.

This is the true purpose of PicTrax and images that are not of destination specific subject matter may be removed from the platform.

What data does PicTrax collect from digital images?

PicTrax will access and use the following info from images you upload to the platform to help other users be able to find the location and replicate the image’s capture conditions. These include:

  • Time of capture
  • Date of capture
  • Device used (mobile phone or digital SLR make and model)
  • Device photographic settings at time of capture, ISO, f stop etc.
  • GPS Longitude recorded at time of capture
  • GPS Latitude recorded at time of capture
  • Device orientation at time of capture

There are several reasons an image may be removed from PicTrax after upload. These can include;
1/ Lack of copyright
2/ Inappropriate or explicit content
3/ Poor composition
4/ Non destination specific subject matter

Note: This platform differs from Instagram in its destination specific nature. For this reason, uploaded pictures of people, food, animals or objects that are not destination specific and do not add to the travel and photographic exploration experience for other users may be deleted from the platform.