21st April - 7th May 2018
Join Richard Young along with Rob Brown & Dave Buckton, on a 17-day photography tour showcasing some of the South Island’s most iconic landscape including Milford Sound and the Moeraki Boulders along with some of the country's exceptional coastal wildlife. Timing is planned to make the most of New Zealand’s most settled season in autumn. We will catch the best of the autumn colours in Central Otago, as we travel through the classic southern man landscapes covered in golden colours.
Starting in Central Otago, the tour is timed for the month of April when the Autumn colours are at their best. With landscape photographers Rob Brown and Richard Young as your guides and utilising comfortable 4WD vehicles, we will be able to take you into some of the most interesting and photogenic places of Central Otago.
We will then drive south to the untouched wilderness of Fiordland and on to Milford and Doubtful Sounds. The most northerly part of Fiordland’s many sounds, Milford, is famed as one of the world’s most spectacular landscapes. Doubtful Sound is far more remote and scenic than the well-known Milford Sound. It offers a true wilderness experience. We overnight on a boat here.
After arriving in the southernmost city of Invercargill, the tour the travels through the Catlins Coastal Rainforest Park, with opportunities to photograph the area’s waterfalls, rainforest, penguins and sea lions. North of the Catlins, we explore the Otago Peninsula, known as New Zealand’s wildlife capital. We photograph southern Royal Albatross and stay at Larnach Castle. Beyond, tour highlights include the Moeraki Boulders and then continuing on to Mt Cook National Park to photograph some of the amazing alpine scenery around New Zealand’s highest peak.
Day 1 – Queenstown / Wanaka
The Tour starts with a short briefing on the next few days and a morning classroom session to get everyone up to speed before we explore some autumn locations around Central Otago. In the late afternoon, we head out to the high country around Wanaka.
Day 2 - Nevis Valley
A pre-dawn start sees us heading into the Nevis Valley for sunrise. We spend all day driving through the Nevis and finish with a sunset shoot around Alexander before heading back to Wanaka.
Day 3 - Central Otago
We head up into the autumn colours of Alexandra in the morning before finishing at a highland location in the Central Otago mountains. The landscape here is quite different to what we have experienced around Wanaka, and there is always the chance of being able to photograph New Zealand falcons at one the locations we choose for sunset.
Day 4 - Wanaka
After an early morning sunrise shoot around Wanaka, we spend some time reviewing photographs from the previous four days and work on some post-processing techniques, before traveling Queenstown.
Day 5 – Queenstown
Today you have a free day in Queenstown to catch up with downloading or post-processing some of the many shots you have already captured. For those wishing to explore the area more, there are many excursions available here. A great option for sunset tonight is to take a breathtaking ascent up Bob’s Peak on the Skyline Gondola. The top offers some wonderful panoramic views over Queenstown.
Day 6 – Milford Sound
From Queenstown, heading to Te Anau, we take the Milford Highway up the Eglinton Valley. Winding through the mountains; past dark, brooding lakes and mossy beech forests, perched at impossibly steep slopes, we arrive at Milford Sound. Milford Sound is one of the country's most iconic locations, granite peaks soar more than a mile above the dark waters of the fjord. Huge waterfalls tumble down into the sea giving the area a scale and grandeur that has to be seen to be believed. A night here provide the chances to capture a dramatic light over Mitre Peak at both sunrise and sunset, from a variety of locations.
Day 7 – Te Anau
Today we will head back to Te Anau to spend a night. We walk the tranquil shores of Lake Te Anau, the South Island’s largest lake, on an easy path at the start of the Kepler Track. We photograph the sunset over the lake, with a vast array of mountains beyond.
Day 8 – Doubtful Sound
This morning we transfer to Pearl Harbour, Manapouri. We will cruise across picturesque Lake Manapouri to West Arm before travelling through the dense rainforest across Wilmot Pass. Once at Deep Cove we board our boat for an overnight cruise of beautiful Doubtful Sound. On board, there are excellent photo opportunities of waterfalls, rainforest and mountains as we head into a truly untouched part of the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Area.
Day 9 – Doubtful Sound / Invercargill
Waking up on the boat sheltered in the wilderness of Doubtful Sound, we cruise through some of the fjord’s most stunning scenery, No matter what the weather, Fiordland is always spectacular. After arriving back to Pearl Harbour, we will continue south to New Zealand’s southernmost city; Invercargill.
Day 10 – Invercargill
Today you have a free day in the city of Invercargill, with time for an optional day trip (not included in tour price) to Stewart Island/Rakiura, the third-largest island of New Zealand - a haven for rare New Zealand Wildlife including Kiwi.
Day 11 – The Catlins
Today we head east towards the Catlins. En route we visit the South Island’s most southerly point, Waipapa and its well-known lighthouse. We move on to a beach in the Catlins Coastal Rainforest Park where a low tide reveals long fingers of fossilised forest, some 160 million years old and now exposed by tide and time. From here we travel inland to explore the waterfalls of the Catlins. These may not be high, but have a subtle beauty all of their own.
Day 12 - The Catlins / Otago Peninsula
Heading north through the Catlins, we take in sunrise at the spectacular coastline of Nugget Point, where a lighthouse, wind-ruffled native shrubs and off-shore islands combine in a photogenic scene. Along the Catlins coast, we will hopefully get the chance to photograph penguins and the magnificent New Zealand sea lion, which in recent decades has begun breeding again in the Catlins area. The day ends at Larnach Castle, one of New Zealand’s most stately buildings, set on the crest of the Otago Peninsula near Dunedin. Dinner here will be a culinary highlight of the tour, eating in the castle’s grand dining room.
Day 13 - Otago Peninsula
The Otago Peninsula; home to penguins, albatross and sea lions, is often called the wildlife capital of New Zealand. We take a boat charter to view many of these species from the sea, visit the world’s only mainland breeding colony of Southern Royal Albatross. We end the day photographing sunset over the ridges and estuaries of the peninsula.
Day 14 - Moeraki
Heading north along the East Coast we stop to photograph the forest birds at Orokonui, which is home to New Zealand’s tuatara, a relic from the dinosaur age. The day also includes photographing a colony of shags along the coastline here. Then we head out into the last light of the day to photograph Yellow-eyed penguins at a coastal reserve on their return from a day out at sea. Tonight we stay near Moeraki, south of Oamaru.
Day 15 - Moeraki / Mt Cook
An early start to photograph sunrise over the famed Moeraki Boulders which are curiously round rocks known as ‘concretions,’ set into a scenic beachscape. Further north at historic Oamaru, we have the opportunity to photograph the whitestone buildings of this heritage town. W then head inland towards Mt Cook. After assembling at the Hermitage Hotel, our home for the next two nights, we will head out to explore locations in the park and then an evening shoot in the Tasman Valley.
Day 16 - Mt Cook
This morning we will have the option to do some aerial photography (optional extra) we will take a flight over Mt Cook and land for an hour with a guide to photography the glacier. The rest of the day will be taken up alternating between locations in the park. We will capture the panoramic views of the Tasman and Hooker valleys, including alpine lakes, sweeping river vistas, and views of New Zealand’s highest peaks. All the locations we visit are within easy walks along well-graded tracks on the valley floors.
Day 17 - Mt Cook / Christchurch
The day begins with the option for some pre-dawn astrophotography and sunrise shoot before heading back to the hotel for breakfast. We then leave Mt Cook and drive North to photograph around Lake Tekapo. In the afternoon we travel to Christchurch, stopping en route to capture the last of the autumn colours, arriving in time to meet flights or for your onward travel.
- Tuition by Richard Young – whole tour
- Tuition by Rob Brown – days 1-4
- Tuition by Dave Buckton – days 6-17
- 4x4 transport in Central Otago
- Overnight cruise on Doubtful Sound
- Boat trip on Lake Manapouri
- Boat trip on the Otago Peninsula
- Entry to Orokonui Ecosanctuary
- 16 nights hotel accommodation (twin share, single upgrade available)
- 16 breakfasts
- 2 dinners - Larnach Castle & Doubtful Sound
- Stay and entry to Larnach Castle
- Transport during the tour
- DOC concession fees
- Copy of Pocket Guide to Landscape Photography