- Day 1 – Queenstown - The Catlins
After an early morning departure from Queenstown, Departing Queenstown, we head east towards the Catlins. En route, we visit the South Island’s most southerly point, Waipapa and its well-known lighthouse. From here we travel inland to explore the waterfalls of the Catlins Coastal Rainforest Park, these may not be high, but have a subtle beauty all of their own. Today will finish with a sunset over beautiful beach looking out over the Southern Ocean.
- Day 2 - The Catlins - Otago Peninsula
Heading north through the Catlins, we take in the sunrise at the spectacular coastline of Nugget Point, where a lighthouse, wind-ruffled native shrubs, and off-shore islands make a photogenic scene. Travelling onward to the Otago Peninsula near Dunedin, we take a boat charter around the world's only mainland breeding colony of Northern Royal Albatross. We will photograph these majestic birds and other bird species from the sea. The day ends at Larnach Castle, one of New Zealand’s most stately buildings, dinner tonight, in the castle’s grand dining room, will be a culinary highlight of the tour.
- Day 3 - Otago Peninsula
We spend the day exploring the Otago Peninsula; home to penguins, albatross and sea lions, is often called the wildlife capital of New Zealand. This afternoon will see us heading out to a private beach to photograph Yellow-eyed penguins as they return from a day out at sea.
- Day 4 - Moeraki
This morning we capture a stunning panoramic vista across the peninsula from a high vantage point on private land. 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. Tonight we stay near Moeraki, famed Moeraki Boulders which are curiously round rocks known as ‘concretions’ set into a scenic beachscape where we will photograph the sunset.
- Day 5 - Moeraki - Lake Tekapo
An early start, returning to the Moeraki Boulders again for sunrise. Then we visit the historic town of Oamaru, having the opportunity to photograph the whitestone buildings of this heritage town, before heading inland towards Aoraki/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 have an evening shoot in the Tasman Valley.
- Day 6 - Aoraki/Mt Cook
This morning we will have the chance to do some aerial photography (see optional extras below), taking a flight over Aoraki/Mt Cook and landing on the Tasman glacier to capture high alpine views across the Southern Alps. The rest of the day will be taken up by visiting locations in 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 7 - Aoraki/Mt Cook - Queenstown
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 Aoraki/Mt Cook and drive South toward Twizel, stopping to capture some lesser-known location for high country scenes. In the afternoon we travel back to Queenstown.
- Day 8 – Glenorchy
This morning we drive to Glenorchy, capturing en route the beauty of tranquil Lake Wakatipu with its surrounding snow-capped mountains. The day finishes by photographing the sunset over lake Wakatipu.
- Day 9 – Queenstown - Milford Sound
We departing from Queenstown taking 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 provides the chances to capture a dramatic light over Mitre Peak at both sunrise and sunset, from a variety of locations.
- Day 10 – Te Anau
After shooting sunrise over Mitre Peak we will spend the day exploring some more locations along the Milford road that we missed yesterday before heading 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. This evening we photograph the sunset over the lake, with a vast array of mountains beyond.
- Day 11 – Doubtful Sound
This morning there will be an option for another sunrise over Lake Te Anau, to join an hour-long flight by helicopter (optional extra) over the Doubtful and Dusky Sounds to photograph atop the mountains that rise above. This extra offers sublime aerial photography opportunities of the mountains in the early morning light.
After sunrise, we transfer to Pearl Harbour in Manapouri, to 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. Onboard, 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 12 – Doubtful Sound - Queenstown
Waking up on the boat sheltered in the wilderness of Doubtful Sound, we cruise through some of the fiord’s most stunning scenery. No matter what the weather, Fiordland is always spectacular. After arriving back to Pearl Harbour, we can drop you off in Te Anau or provide travel back Queenstown to connect with late afternoon flights.