Student travels New Zealand in a Gandalf costume and Instagrams about it

New Zealand, with its starry nights, rolling hills and picturesque beaches, provides photographers with an endless bounty of amazing photo opportunities.

Indeed, the country Kiwis call their humble home is a photographer's paradise. But what sets one photo of the Wanaka Tree apart from the 100,000 others? Hasn't everyone stood on Roys Peak at sunset?

That's what Akhil Suhas wondered when he was planning his six-month road trip across New Zealand. The 21-year-old who had just finished his degree at the University of Auckland when he took off on a tiki tour of the North and South Island.

A budding photographer, Suhas, originally from India, wanted to set a recurring theme throughout his photos to set himself apart from all the other snap-happy tourists.

"I was watching the Lord of the Rings for the fifth time and figured that New Zealand is famous for two things - its landscapes and Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies, so why not combine the two by having Gandalf in the landscapes?" he said.

After finding the perfect costume online, Suhas set off on his 15,000km tour of the country, snapping photos of the famous wizard in stunning locations including Glenorchy, Hokitika, Wanaka and the Coromandel. 

However, photographing himself in costume didn't come without its problems, he says.


hold on to your wizard hat cos it's a tad windy at cathedral cove #GandalfTheGuide

A post shared by photographer ╳ new zealand (@akhilsuhas) on


"Once I started my road trip, I realised that I was travelling solo and wondered who would dress up, since I wanted to take the pictures.

"I tried the camera on a tripod with a timer shot, which didn't work since the wizard hat needed careful adjustment because it's flimsy."

Luckily he met some obliging tourists along the way who agreed to wear the costume while he took the shot because, "who doesn't want to dress up as Gandalf?"

With more than 5000 followers on Instagram, Suhas' favourite photo of New Zealand doesn't feature the wizard but is one he took of Mt Taranaki "that went viral". And his favourite place?  Pouakai Tarns.


proof that god used photoshop to design this country!

A post shared by photographer ╳ new zealand (@akhilsuhas) on

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