Join Shaun Barnett and Richard Young on this exceptional seven-day photography tour of the South Island’s wild West Coast. Timed during 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 primeaval rainforests, with the high peaks and glaciers of the Southern Alps rising beyond.
6 nights hotel accommodation in a twin room with another person from the workshop. If you wish, there is the option to upgrade to a private hotel room at extra cost
Transport for 7 days during the tour
Tuition by Shaun Barnett and Richard Young
Printed notes covering special techniques, settings and tips
After meeting mid-morning at Queenstown Airport, we drive to 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.
Day 2 – Queenstown / Haast
We drive over the Crown Range, stop in Wanaka, 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-metere cascade in stately beech forest. That night we capture our first West Coast sunset.
Day 3 – Haast / Fox Glacier
On the third morning of the West Coast Photography Tour, we 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 / Franz Josef Glacier
In the morning we photograph sunrise at Lake Matheson, capturing the often-perfect reflections of Aoraki/Mt Cook and Mt Tasman – New Zealand’s highest mountains. In the right weather, you 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. After our snow landing, or some extra time exploring around Fox Glacier, we head to Franz Josef. Sunset at either the Okarito Lagoon or the Okarito viewpoint offers panoramic views of the Southern Alps, rising beyond a vast extent of rainforest.
Day 5 – Franz Josef Glacier / Punakaiki
After an early start to capture a misty morning sunrise over Lake Mapourika, we drive up the West Coast, with several stops en route, include the turquoise waters of the Whataroa River and the Hokitika Gorge. We reach Punakaiki and its famous Punakaiki rock formations in time for sunset photography.
Day 6 – Punakaiki / Arthur’s Pass
In the morning we walk up the Fox or Pororari Rivers to explore the exquisite limestone landscapes of Paparoa National Park. After lunch, we drive up the Otira Gorge, and over the Southern Alps to the delightful alpine village of Arthur’s Pass, where we stay and photograph the Waimakariri River.
Day 7 – Arthur’s Pass / Christchurch
After exploring some short walks in Arthur’s Pass National Park, we head to Castle Hill to photograph the distinctive limestone boulder formations here. We then head to Christchurch to connect with late afternoon flights.
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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 tour instructing and shooting, often from before dawn until after dark. At some point during the tour 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.
7 days transport is included in the tour, we will pick up/drop off at the airport for the recommended flights, or from a centrally located hotel. Transport or flights before/after the tour are not included, however, we are happy to help you arrange transport.
A minimum level of physical activity is necessary to enjoy the workshop. Most locations from where we shoot will be within an hour’s easy walk but sometimes over rocky or muddy tracks and up gentle to moderate hills 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 this tour. The remaining balance is due 30 days prior to the start of the tour. You may pay in full at time of booking, the balance (minus the deposit) will remain fully refundable until 30 days before the tour.
Booking and Cancellation Policy: Please click here for our booking and cancellation policy.