Duration: 20 Days
Location: Mt Cook - West Coast - Golden Bay - Kaikoura
Price: $14,590 (NZD)Join Waiting List / 2021 : Join Waiting List / 2021
Archway Islands

10th - 29th September 2020

20-day New Zealand photography tour capturing some of the country’s best untouched wilderness and the Te Wāhipounamu world heritage area. This tour will be lead with Richard Young along with three other top New Zealand landscape photographers throughout different parts; Rob Brown, Shaun Barnett and Dave Buckton. You will photograph a total of 6 of the country's finest national parks.
Starting in Queenstown the first four days of the tour will feature our Landscape Masterclass. This workshop is designed to develop your landscape photography skills and make the most of the beautiful alpine scenery around Mt Cook/Aoraki, New Zealand’s highest peak.
We will head out to the South Island’s wild West Coast. Timed at the end of winter, when the light is crisp and low, we will have many opportunities to capture the area’s wild beaches, forests and waterfalls, and 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 primaeval rainforests, with the high peaks and glaciers of the Southern Alps rising beyond.
Arriving at the top of the South Island we will explore a variety of fantastic and easily-accessible photography locations from stunning limestone formations, lush native forests, ever-changing sand dunes. You will spend multiple days exploring photographic locations and marine wildlife by boat in the world-famous Abel Tasman National Park, Marlborough Sounds, and the Kaikoura Coast. Travelling by boat allows us to access beaches and bays that take days to access on foot; on this tour, the most secluded and stunning spots are right at our fingertips.


  • Ski-plane over Mt Cook
  • Te Wāhipounamu World Heritage
  • Jetboat into the Waitangiroto Reserve
  • Boat trip in Abel Tasman National Park
  • Boat trip in the Marlborough Sounds
  • Boat trip in Kaikoura

Queenstown - Christchurch

  • Aoraki/Mt Cook
  • Lake Matheson
  • Punakaiki Pancake Rocks
  • Nelson Lakes National Park
  • Westland National Park
  • Paparoa National Park
  • Abel Tasman National Park
  • Archway Islands
  • Marlborough Sounds
  • Kaikoura


  • Day 1 – Queenstown - Aoraki/Mt Cook

    An early morning departure from Queenstown will see us arriving at Aoraki/Mt Cook before lunch. After assembling at Mt Cook Village, our home for the next three nights, we will spend the morning running through an introductory programme for the finer points of working in manual mode and advanced settings for landscape photography, before heading out for an evening shoot in the Tasman Valley.
  • Day 2 – Aoraki/Mt Cook

    The day begins early with some pre-dawn astrophotography before heading back to the hotel for breakfast. The rest of the day will be taken up alternating between locations in the park and covering a whole range of techniques for advancing your photography.
  • Day 3 – Aoraki/Mt Cook

    Today we will venture further afield to explore more of the beautiful Mackenzie Country. This afternoon we will do a ski-plane flight (included in the price) over Aoraki/Mt Cook to learn the basics of aerial photography.
  • Day 4 – Aoraki/Mt Cook - Queenstown

    After an early morning sunrise shoot in the Tasman Valley we spend some time reviewing photographs from the previous four days and covering post processing. We will depart Aoraki/Mt Cook after lunch, crossing over Lindis Pass to head back to Queenstown, stopping on the way to capture the tall, tussock-covered mountains here. We will arrive in Queenstown in time for a sunset over Lake Wakatipu.
  • Day 5 - Queenstown (optional Milford Sounds trip

    Today you will have a free day in Queenstown to enjoy the lakeside town and catch up on some processing. Today there is also the option to take various day trips from Queenstown including a day trip to Milford Sound.
  • Day 6 – Wanaka - Queenstown - Fox Glacier

    This morning we drive over the Crown Range to Wanaka and climb up to Haast Pass—the gateway to the west coast. 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. We travel along the coast, exploring the magnificent rainforest of the Te Wāhipounamu (a UNESCO World Heritage area), before heading to Fox Glacier. At sunset, we visit a remote west coast beach offering panoramic views of the snow-covered peaks of the Southern Alps.
  • Day 7 - 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 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, with panoramic views of the Southern Alps rising beyond a sweeping extent of rainforest.
  • Day 8 - Fox Glacier - Punakaiki

    This morning, we drive up the coast to Whataroa, stopping for a jet boat trip up the Whataroa river; this is 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. Following this, we drive further up the 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 9 - Punakaiki

    The day begins with an exploration of the exquisite limestone and river landscapes of Paparoa National Park. We will spend the rest of the day exploring the exceptional coastline and sunset sees us heading out onto stunning beaches to capture the last light hitting the coastline and huge breaking waves.
  • Day 10 - Punakaiki - Karamea

    From Punakaiki, we drive north along the west coast, headed for the area’s northernmost town, Karamea. En route, we stop at the impressive Ngakawau Gorge for a walk up the river, following the line of an old mining railway. If the weather allows, we also have the opportunity to visit the fascinating former coal-mining township of Dennistoun, high in the mountains. We end the day at Karamea, photographing the sunset over the tranquil Karamea River estuary.
  • Day 11 - Karamea and Kahurangi National Park

    Kahurangi National Park is famous for its geological diversity. At the secluded Oparara Valley, sub-tropical rainforest mixes with impressive limestone arches. We will spend our morning here, moving on to photograph the Kohaihai River mouth in the afternoon. The river mouth marks the start of the famous Heaphy Track, renowned for its striking nikau palms and fine coastal scenery. We finish the day with a sunset shoot over the coast.
  • Day 12 - Karamea - Nelson

    On the last day of the tour, we turn away from the west coast for somewhat of a long drive to Nelson, peppered with outstanding photo stops. These include the mighty Buller River from Hawke’s Crag, Maruia Falls, and the jetty and mountains at Lake Rotoiti, Nelson Lakes National Park. Today we end up in Nelson, the main city at the top of the South Island.
  • Day 13 - Nelson

    Today you will have a free day in Nelson to explore the city, or catch up with some downloading and editing of photographs. There is also the option (at additional cost) to join one of our tutors to fly into the heart of Kahurangi National Park.The flight lands on the top of Mount Owen to capture the view from the highest peak in the park, in stunning morning light.
  • Day 14 - Nelson - Golden Bay

    From Nelson, we drive over to Golden Bay, heading inland over Takaka Hill and stopping to photograph the limestone formations and beech forests of this area. The day finishes with our first sunset shoot at one of Golden Bay’s many stunning beaches.
  • Day 15 - Golden Bay

    We will spend today exploring Golden Bay, taking opportunities to photograph the stunning coastline of Wharariki Beach and Farewell Spit. Our day ends with a sunset shoot over the iconic Archway Islands.
  • Day 16 - Abel Tasman National Park

    We have an early start to photograph the sunrise before boarding our private charter boat, where we will spend the day photographing Abel Tasman National Park. You will discover the most photogenic areas of the park, and there will be plenty of opportunities to head ashore to take in the pristine bays and beaches along this stunning coastline. This afternoon, we travel onwards to a beautiful lodge in the Marlborough Sounds that is only accessible by boat.
  • Day 17 - Golden Bay - Marlborough Sounds

    Today, we will spend the day exploring the Marlborough Sounds by water taxi, capturing some lovely coastal vistas as well as brilliant wildlife, etc. The Sounds are a haven for bird and marine life: visitors often spot rays, orca, dolphins, and numerous bird species.
  • Day 18 - Marlborough Sounds

    We continue to photograph the Marlborough Sounds today, walking out on a small section of the Queen Charlotte track to capture forest birds, native forest, and waterfalls. Tonight offers another chance to shoot sunset from our lodge, looking out over the Marlborough Sounds
  • Day 19 - Marlborough Sounds - Kaikoura

    Following an early rise to capture the sunrise, we travel from the Marlborough Sounds to Kaikoura—where the mountains meet the sea. This region is home to incredible coastal photography and marine life, including New Zealand fur seals. Tonight, we will capture a truly spectacular sunset, with the Kaikoura ranges rising from the sea.
  • Day 20 - Kaikoura - Christchurch

    This morning, we head out on a boat to photograph some of Kaikoura's local wildlife and royal albatross before travelling on to Christchurch to meet with late afternoon flights.
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  • 20 days Photography Tuition
  • Stay at a lodge in the Marlborough Sounds
  • 19 nights hotel accommodation (twin-share, single upgrade available)
  • 19 breakfasts
  • Ski-plane over Mt Cook
  • Whataroa Jet boat
  • Private charter boat in Abel Tasman
  • Private chartered boat in Marlborough Sounds
  • Boat trip and Albatross Encounter in Kaikoura
  • Transport during the tour
  • Queenstown pickup / Christchurch drop off
  • DOC concession fees
  • Copy of our Pocket Guide to Landscape & Wildlife Photography
  • Donation to our Conservation Fund
  • Native tree planting to Carbon Offset your tour


  • Class Size

    This tour runs with a maximum group size of 8 and 2 tutors, offering 1:4 ratio of tutors to guests. Limiting group sizes ensure we provide you with expert guidance, instruction, and personal attention according to your learning style. Smaller groups of up to 4 may only be led by one tutor.
  • Itinerary

    Our exact schedule each day will be determined according to the weather to allow for the best shooting, we may choose to swap out locations for other that are better suited to the conditions and we keep a flexible itinerary to accommodate this. We focus on spending as much time as possible out shooting, often from before dawn until sunset. During the tour, we will make time for some image review and processing session, we will fit these around times that are not optimum for shooting.
  • Transport

    Queenstown pick up & Christchurch drop off: We will pick you up early (approx 8 am) from any central location in Queenstown on the first day and provide transport to the whole tour. The tour will finish at Christchurch Airport (or hotel drop off) at 4 pm to meet flights after 5 pm to the main cities.
  • Accommodation & Food

    Accommodation Type: Our tours use a standard of 4-4+ star hotel/lodge accommodation and we try where possible to stay 2 nights at each hotel. We sometimes will book a 1-night stay at a 3-star motel to be close to a place where we are shooting for sunrise/sunset at a location that does not have any other options.
    Single Room Upgrades: All our tour prices are based on twin/double share rooms. If you are travelling alone you can book a single room upgrade for $1,900 or we can try and pair you with another traveller for all/part of the tour. If we can not pair you with another traveller for all/part of the tour you may need to pay for a single room upgrade.
    Food: The price tour includes breakfast each morning, this is normally at the hotel but sometimes a local cafe. Lunches and dinner (apart from any listed as being included) are at your own expense. We will stop at a cafe/shop for lunch and book a table for the group for dinner each day at a local restaurant. Sometimes evening meal times might be early/late to fit around the time of sunset. New Zealand had great food and caters well for any preferences like allergies, vegetarian etc.
  • Physical Difficulty

    A minimum level of physical activity is necessary to enjoy this tour. All locations we shoot will be within a short walk along the forest tracks or the coastline. These are sometimes uphill, over uneven ground, or rocky beaches and you will be carrying your own equipment. On this tour, there may be a couple of longer walk options (30-45 min one way) but if these are difficult for the group, we do have the option to split the group at these locations. If your fitness or mobility is an issue please let us know.
  • 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 this tour is to get you to the best locations, in the best light. While providing you on-location help from our experienced tutors, to come away with the hero shots of your own personal vision. We will have a brief session at the start of the tour, covering camera settings and controls, to be sure everyone is up to speed.
  • Equipment

    Camera Equipment: Our tours focus on how to use your camera, not your type of camera. A basic list of recommended camera equipment can be found here Clothing: A list of recommended clothing to bing on the tour can be found here
  • Booking & Payment

    A non-refundable deposit of NZD$1500.00 is required to reserve your space for the workshop. The remaining balance is due 45 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 45 days before the workshop.
    Booking and Cancellation Policy: Please click here for our booking and cancellation policy.


Richard Young & Ken Wright: days 1-5 Ken Wright & Shaun Branett: days 6-13 Richard Young & Shaun Branett: days 14-20