15th - 26th September 2017
12-day photography tour capturing landscape of the Te Wahipounamu, UNESCO World Heritage area and 6 national parks. Lead by Richard Young along with Shaun Barnett and Rob Brown, the tour offers a chance to explore some of New Zealand's finest Alpine, coastal and forest landscape from Mt Cook to along West Coast.
Starting in Queenstown the tour will first head to Mt Cook National Park to photograph some of the amazing alpine scenery around New Zealand’s highest peak. We will cross back through Central Otago to the South Island’s West Coast. With excellent opportunities to capture the wild beaches of the area, its forests and waterfalls, as well as views of the snow-covered Southern Alps. The South Island’s West Coast boasts more forests, mountains and protected lands than any other region of New Zealand. Here, wild and remote coastlines are flanked by primeval rainforests, with the high peaks and glaciers of the Southern Alps rising beyond.
Day 1 – Queenstown / Mt Cook
An early morning departure from Queenstown will see us arriving at Mt Cook before lunch. After assembling at Mt Cook Village, our home for the next three nights, we will spend the morning running through an introductory programme for the finer points of working in manual mode and advanced settings for landscape photography, before heading out for an evening shoot in the Tasman Valley.
Day 2 – Mt Cook
The day begins early with some pre-dawn astrophotography before heading back to the hotel for breakfast. The rest of the day will be taken up alternating between locations in the park and covering a whole range of techniques for advancing your photography.
Day 3 – Mt Cook
Today we will venture further afield to explore more of the beautiful Mackenzie Country. Should the weather allow, for those wanting to do some aerial photography there will be an opportunity to do a flight over Mt Cook (on demand and not included in the list price.)
Day 4 – Mt Cook / Wanaka
After an early morning sunrise shoot in the Tasman Valley we spend some time reviewing photographs from the previous four days and covering post processing. We will depart Mt Cook after lunch, crossing over Lindis Pass to Wanaka, stopping on the way to capture the tall, tussock-covered mountains here. We will arrive in Wanaka in time for a sunset over a very famous willow tree which sits in the lake here.
Day 5 - Wanaka
Today you will have a free day in Wanaka, with the option (at additional cost) of joining one of our tutors on a 4×4 trip across the Wanaka high country, or a pre-dawn heli- flight high into the mountains, landing overlooking Lake Wanaka for the sunrise.
Day 6 – Wanaka / Queenstown
This morning we drive to Queenstown then onto Glenorchy, capturing en route the beauty of tranquil Lake Wakatipu with its surrounding snow-capped mountains. The day finishes by photographing sunset over the lake Wakatipu.
Day 7 - Queenstown / Haast
Today we drive over the Crown Range then climb up to Haast Pass, the gateway to the West Coast, where we stay overnight. Along the way we photograph a number of extraordinary waterfalls, including a beautiful 30-metre cascade in stately beech forest. Tonight we capture our first West Coast sunset.
Day 8 - Haast / Fox Glacier
We travel along the West Coast exploring some of the magnificent rainforest of the Te Wahipounamu, a UNESCO World Heritage area, before heading to Fox Glacier. At sunset, we visit a remote West Coast beach which offers panoramic views of the snow-covered peaks of the Southern Alps.
Day 9 - Fox Glacier
This morning we photograph sunrise at Lake Matheson, capturing the often-perfect reflections of Aoraki/Mt Cook and Mt Tasman - New Zealand’s highest mountains. If the weather is right you will have the option (at additional cost) to take a helicopter flight onto the vast upper neve of the Fox Glacier for some unparalleled photo opportunities. Sunset tonight will see us heading out to Okarito Lagoon offering panoramic views of the Southern Alps, rising beyond a vast extent of rainforest.
Day 10 - Fox Glacier / Punakaiki
This morning we drive up the coast to Whataroa, stopping here for a jet boat trip up the Whataroa river, the only way to access the Waitangiroto Nature Reserve. Here we will photograph the country's only nesting site for the beautiful White Herons (Kotuku) along with the Royal Spoonbill. After this we drive further up the West Coast, with several stops en route, including the turquoise waters of the Hokitika Gorge. We reach Punakaiki and its famous Punakaiki rock formations in time for sunset photography.
Day 11 - Punakaiki
This morning we explore the exquisite limestone and river landscapes of Paparoa National Park. We will spend the rest of the day exploring the exceptional coastline in this area, sunset will see us heading out onto stunning beaches to capture the last light hitting the coastline and huge breaking waves.
Day 12 -Punakaiki / Nelson
Today we will head away from the West Coast, following the Buller River to its source at the first of the two National Parks we visit today, Nelson Lakes. After some time spent photographing the beautiful lake and mountain backdrops we then head on to our second park of the day, Kahurangi. Here we will walk out of a short track to capture beautiful beech-forested valleys of one of New Zealand’s largest untouched wildernesses. We then arrive at the top of the South Island in the city of Nelson to connect with late afternoon flights.
- Tuition by Richard Young - whole tour
- Tuition by Rob Brown - days 1-4
- Tuition by Shaun Barnett - days 6-12
- 11 nights hotel accommodation (twin share, single upgrade available)
- 11 breakfasts
- Whataroa Jet boat
- Transport during the tour
- Queenstown pickup
- Nelson dropoff
- DOC concession fees
- Printed notes