Queenstown Wedding Adventure : The Remarkables

When Mel & Mo asked me to be their wedding photographer, I knew it would come with a touch of adventure, they are both keen on the outdoors and love a good challenge, the Destination was atop the vast Mountain range “The Remarkables” where Mo had proposed to Mel.

With no helicopters, no snowmobiles, no chairlifts and just the boots on our feet our casual stroll came in at just under 2 hours each way.

In the snow.


We walked up the Calypso run then on to the Lookout point

Now I, being a wedding photographer based on the Gold Coast, rarely do I get a chance to hike up a Mountain, let alone in the snow, well now I’m out of my depth.

With some borrowed hiking boots ( thanks Mo) we met up a few days prior to the wedding set out for the peak of a breathtaking summit and all that encompasses The Remarkables.

With high spirits and low winds, & the help from a good friend Kim, we loaded our packs with snacks and champagne and traversed the icy track to a lookout point.

I love when two people find joy in the challenge of facing the elements, a true testament to a strong marriage.

We all knew it would be a bit challenging, walking up with all our gear and Mel and Mo doing a quick costume change at the top for their first ‘official’ wedding photos, but we agreed that if it all went pear-shaped at least a good story would come from the adventure itself.


The only other soul on the track at that time was the one running the groomer and he quickly disappeared up and out of site. It made for an amazing atmosphere, just the four of us with a bit of nervous excitement in the air.


We had all hit our stride and realised this was probably not going to be quite as tough as we thought, however by the halfway point the rest stops were getting more frequent and the legs were burning. 

Coming up to the last climb to the lookout the views were amazing but nothing like what was waiting for us at the top.


Once were reached the final ridge line we noticed how strong the wind was. Instructions were given that “if you get blown over, just fall flat on your face and hold on”. Hard to focus on when you have jaw-dropping views out across Lake Wakatipu with the sun setting over the mountain range beyond that.

Mel & Mo had plans for a relaxed midday wedding celebration, that was filled with great food, love, laughter, family, friends and a cheeky game of backyard cricket., something we were all looking forward to as the wind picked up and with it came blasting fragments of ice.

So, while I put more layers on Mel and Mo took layers off, swapping warm jackets for their wedding attire.

The wind did a great job of cutting through our gloves and giving us all the dexterity of a tree. I struggled to hit the camera shutter, It was at this point one of my cameras (along with my fingers) froze up, setting it down while putting on extra layers was enough for it to shut down. 

Now, I did have my second camera, but by this stage, time was of the essence, Mel and Mo had bared all to the elements.

There was no time to swap lenses or capture a few glorious video clips of the stunning views.

We just needed what we came for, a hand full of photos of the bride and groom to be, at the top of a mountain, where it all began.

And that’s what we got.

I think all up we were shooting for 2 minutes before the cold was unbearable

Luckily that was enough to get some amazing adventurous wedding photographs.

I think if we had come back down with only one image, everyone would have been happy. It wasn’t about getting hundreds of photos that looked pretty, it was about capturing that one shot, a memory of the adventure.

The fact that Mel and Mo now have a small but meaningful set of images from the top of The Remarkables, a place now truly special to both of them, made it all worthwhile.

Good friends, doing ridiculous things, for a good story and a good photo.

sam gilmore