Join Shaun Barnett and Richard Young on this exceptional seven day photography tour of the South Island’s wild West Coast. Timed at the end of winter, when the light is crisp and low, the West Coast Photography Tour offers 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.
Amazing coastal sunsets
Lake Masterson sunrise
Jet boat into the Waitangiroto Reserve
Queenstown - Nelson
Mount Aspiring National park
Westland National park
Paparoa National park
Nelson Lakes National park
Kahurangi National park
Day 1 – 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 2 - 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 3 - 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 4 - 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 5 - 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 6 - 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 7 - 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 & Shaun Barnett
6 nights hotel accommodation (twin share, single upgrade available)
Whataroa Jet boat
Transport during the tour
DOC concession fees
Maximum group size of 8. Groups of 3-4 will be led by only one tutor and groups of 5-8 will be led by two tutors. Limiting class sizes ensures we provide you with the best learning environment possible, including expert guidance, instruction and personal attention, according to your learning style.
Our exact schedule will be determined according to the whole group’s photographic objectives and the weather. We keep a flexible itinerary to accommodate this. We will spend the workshop instructing and shooting, often from before dawn until after dark. At some point during the weekend the tutors will give a lecture on their photographic ability and how you can apply their systems and vision to develop your own unique style.
We will meet the group at Queenstown Airport at the start of the workshop and provide transport to the whole workshop and return you to Nelson at the end of the workshop.
A minimum level of physical activity is necessary to enjoy the workshop. All locations we shoot will be within an easy walk along the coastline, but sometimes over rocky beaches carrying your own equipment. If fitness or mobility is an issue please let us know - there are often locations which offer great shooting possibilities close to the road or our accommodation, or sometimes we also have the option to split the group.
Equipment & Experience
Ideally, you will have a basic knowledge of photography and be comfortable adjusting camera settings such as aperture and shutter speed. An aim of the workshop is to give you more confidence in the creative control of camera settings and shooting in manual mode. We will have a brief session at the start of the workshop, covering camera settings and controls, to be sure everyone is up to speed.
Camera Equipment: Our workshops focus on how to use your camera, not your type of camera. A basic list of recommended camera equipment can be found hereClothing:A list of recommended clothing to wear on the workshop can be found here
Booking & Payment
A non-refundable deposit of NZD$700.00 is required to reserve your space for the workshop. The remaining balance is due 30 days prior to the start of the workshop. You may pay in full at time of booking, the balance (minus the deposit) will remain fully refundable until 30 days before the workshop.
Booking and Cancellation Policy: Please click here for our booking and cancellation policy.