- Day 1 - Auckland / Bay of Islands
The tour starts with an early morning flight from Auckland to Whangarei (included). After meeting you in Whangarei, we drive to Russell, our home for the next three nights in the picturesque Bay of Islands. During European colonisation, Russell was briefly the capital of New Zealand, and features many historic sites. Once at our hotel we will start our introductory session, covering some of the finer points of working in manual mode and capturing long exposure photographs for use over this tour. The day ends with a sunset shoot over the coastline.
- Day 2 - Bay of Islands
An early start enables a sunrise shoot before we head back to the hotel for breakfast. A chartered boat enables us to explore the Bay of Islands by sea, including parts of the coastline not accessible by road.
- Day 3 - Hokianga
Today we will venture further afield to explore more of the beautiful Hokianga Harbour. Rugged coastlines and picturesque jetties well suit black and white ‘fine art style’ photographs. We also capture images of intriguing round boulders, similar to those found in the south island at Moeraki.
- Day 4 - Bay of Islands / Auckland
Another early morning sunrise shoot across the Bay of Islands allows you to hone your field technique. A post production session covers processing of long exposure, black and white images and merging HDR shots. In the afternoon, we drive back to Whangarei for a return flight (included) to Auckland.
- Day 5 - Auckland / Rangitoto
Today you have free day to explore to Auckland, with the inclusion for a return ferry ticket out to explore the volcanic landscape Rangitoto Island, a pest-free island that sits in the Hauraki Gulf near Auckland. It is the youngest volcano in New Zealand and offers some great photography opportunities from old lava flow and beautiful Pohutukawa trees.
- Day 6 - Auckland / Coromandel
This morning we depart Auckland for Hahei on the Coromandel Peninsula, passing through the lush rolling farmland of the Waikato en route. The Coromandel Peninsula is a mountainous finger of land, formed from old volcanoes, and separated from Auckland by the Firth of Thames, a shallow expanse of sea home to many wading seabirds.
- Day 7 - Coromandel Peninsula
The day starts with a sunrise shoot over Cathedral Cove, famous as the location of Cair Paravel in the Narnia films, ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’, and ‘Prince Caspian.’ After photographing the cove and its impressive arch, we head back to the hotel for breakfast. We spend the whole day driving north to photograph the beaches, forests and waterfalls of the Coromandel Peninsula. With the terrain rising steeply to mountains, many of the area’s stream boast photogenic waterfalls. Sunset will be spent at one of the Coromandel’s bays.
- Day 8 - Coromandel Peninsula / Rotorua
East of the Coromandel Peninsula stretches the broad expanse of the Bay of Plenty, an area famed for its harbours, long beaches and prospering towns, through which we pass early. The bay boasts several islands, including White Island/Whakaari. Lying 49 km offshore, this island is the tip of a large underwater volcano, with the crater exposed above sea level. A tour around the island offers much of photographic interest, including active steam vents, the brilliant colours of the sulphur, and the surreal textures of this constantly-changing landscape.
- Day 9 - Rotorua / Tongariro
This morning we head out to photograph a geothermal reserve close to Rotorua. South of Rotorua, we head to Taupo, visiting Huka Falls en route. Although not particularly high, these falls are one of the most voluminous in New Zealand, where the entire Waikato River (New Zealand’s longest river) plunges over an ignimbrite cliffs. Afterwards, we journey south past Lake Taupo, New Zealand’s largest lake, and the site of its greatest ever recorded eruption - in 186AD - an event noted by both the Chinese and Romans. After arriving at Tongariro National Park, we hike to some of the park’s sublime waterfalls, including Tawhai and Taranaki Falls. We spend the evening photographing the sunset over Mt Ruapehu, at 2797m the highest mountain in the North Island, and the country’s loftiest volcano.
- Day 10 - Tongariro / Taranaki
Mts Tongariro and Ngauruhoe offer striking subjects for a sunrise shoot. Both are active volcanoes, with Ngauruhoe having the distinctive classic volcano shape. Afterwards, we travel to Taranaki on the Forgotten World Highway, a snaking route that passes through some of the most remote and verdant forest of the North Island. En route we photograph the North Island’s second highest waterfall. The rustic town, known as the Republic of Whangamomona, makes for a memorable shoot along the highway. We arrive in Taranaki in time to photograph the sunset over the dramatic coastline, which includes former volcanoes, now eroded into offshore islands.
- Day 11 - Taranaki
If any New Zealand volcano has the perfect shape, it is Mt Taranaki, which at 2518 m is the second-highest peak in the North Island. It forms the centrepiece of Egmont National Park, one of the country’s oldest national parks. Wonderfully stunted forest and shapely waterfalls flowing over old lava escarpments offer some excellent photography. Journeying south, we round the North Island’s western-most point at Cape Egmont, well known for its iconic lighthouse with Mt Taranaki rising behind it.
- Day 12 - Taranaki / Wellington
As we head south towards New Zealand’s capital city, we pass through several small towns and pause to capture the landscapes of the Rangitikei Gorge. Flowing from the Kaimanawa Ranges, this important river carves its way through pale cliffs made of papa, a type of mudstone that creates impressive features. During the afternoon we take a 4WD trip across private farmland to visit set of unusual round boulders in a forest. On the final drive south Wellington, we pass the Kapiti Coast, where Kapiti Island appears offshore, then around the edge of sea and across to Wellington Harbour, one of the world’s best anchorages. Tucked into the edge of the harbour, and dwarfed by the surrounding hills, Wellington is an attractive city, with an extensive green belt.