Duration: 18 days
Location: Otago - Fiordland - Catlins - Mt Cook
Price: $15,500 (NZD)Filling Fast! : Book now - $15,500 (NZD)

22nd April - 9th May 2021

Join Richard Young, Ken Wright & Shaun Barnett, on an 18-day photography tour showcasing some of the South Island’s most iconic landscape including Milford Sound and the Moeraki Boulders along with some of the country's exceptional coastal wildlife. Timing is planned to make the most of New Zealand’s most settled season in autumn. We will catch the best of the autumn colours in Central Otago, as we travel through the classic southern landscapes covered in golden colours.
For the first four days of our tour will be based in Wanaka and takes in our Autumn Masterclass Workshop, designed to perfect your techniques of shooting autumn landscapes, autumn abstracts and panoramic landscape photography. The workshop offers a mixture of both tuition and post-processing sessions combined with 4WD trips into some remote area to capture the best autumn colours. It will leave you with refined skills to help create some stunning photographs for the rest of the tour.
The following part of the tour will see us drive East to the Catlins Coastal Rainforest Park, with opportunities to photograph the area’s coastline, waterfalls and rainforests. North of the Catlins, we explore the Otago Peninsula, known as New Zealand’s wildlife capital. We photograph Southern royal albatross, penguins and sea lions while staying at Larnach Castle. Beyond, tour highlights include the Moeraki Boulders and then continuing on to Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park to photograph some of the amazing alpine scenery around New Zealand’s highest peak.
After our time at Aoraki/Mt Cook, we travel to the untouched wilderness of Fiordland and on to Milford and Doubtful Sounds. The most northerly part of Fiordland’s many sounds, Milford, is famed as one of the world’s most spectacular landscapes. Doubtful Sound is far more remote and scenic than the well-known Milford Sound, offering a true wilderness experience. We will stay overnight here on a boat.

HIGHLIGHTS

Queenstown - Queenstown

  • Wanaka & Central Otago
  • The Catlins Coast
  • Otago Peninsula
  • Moeraki Boulders
  • Aoraki/Mt Cook
  • Milford & Doubtful Sound

ITINERARY

  • Day 1 – Queenstown - Wanaka

    Departing Queenstown we drive to Wanaka, the tour starts with a short briefing on the next few days and a morning classroom session to get everyone up to speed before we explore some autumn locations around Central Otago. In the late afternoon, we head out to the high country around Wanaka.
  • Day 2 - Nevis Valley

    A pre-dawn start sees us heading out in 4WD to the Nevis Valley for sunrise. We will then spend the rest of the morning exploring the Nevis and capturing the best of the colours in this remote valley. This afternoon we will explore some of the stunning autumn scenes around Alexandra before heading back to Wanaka for sunset.
  • Day 3 - Central Otago

    This morning's sunrise will be at the famous Wanaka tree, capturing its autumn colours against the backdrop of snowy mountains. After sunrise, we will spend the morning in the hotel conference room to offer some group critique of the photographs from the last days and in-depth post-production to bring out the best autumn colours in your photographs. This afternoon we will head out in 4WD’s to a remote location high above Lake Wanaka of a private station, we will stay here for sunset capturing the last light across the tussock covered landscape and panoramic views of the lake.
  • Day 4 - Wanaka

    Today will start with an early morning sunrise shoot, hopefully capturing some beautiful mist that forms within river valleys in Autumn. After sunrise, we will help you finish processing your best two images from the workshop and produce a finished 16x22" fine art prints of these to take home. This afternoon we will return to Queenstown, stopping en route to capture a few more autumn colours shots.
  • Day 5 – Queenstown

    Today you have a free day in Queenstown to catch up with downloading or post-processing some of the many shots you have already captured. For those wishing to explore the area more, there are many excursions available here. A great option for sunset tonight is to take a breathtaking ascent up Bob’s Peak on the Skyline Gondola. The top offers some wonderful panoramic views over Queenstown.
  • Day 6 – Queenstown - The Catlins

    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 7 - 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 8 - 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 9 - 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 10 - Moeraki -Aoraki/Mt Cook

    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 11 - 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 12 - 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 13 – 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 14 – 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. Two nights here provides the chances to capture Mitre Peak at both sunrise and sunset, from a variety of locations.
  • Day 15 – Milford Sound

    This morning we shot sunrise over Milford Sound. From there we spend the rest of the day exploring around the area and taking a boat trip out on the water to photograph some of the awe-inspiring waterfalls that pour into the Sound. We will end the day shooting sunset over a vista of Fiordland’s dramatic peaks.
  • Day 16 – Milford Sound - Te Anau

    After shooting sunrise over Mitre Peak we will spend the day exploring some more locations along the Milford road that we missed on the way in, 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 17 – Te Anau - 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 18 – 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.
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 PRICE INCLUDES

  • 18-days photography guiding & tuition
  • 17 nights hotel accommodation (twin-share, single upgrade available) in mostly 4✩
  • Luxury accommodation at Milford Lodge, Larnach Castle and Mt Cook
  • 17 breakfasts
  • Overnight cruise on Doubtful Sound
  • Boat trip on Lake Manapouri
  • Boat trip on Milford Sound
  • Boat charter on the Otago Peninsula
  • 2 backcountry 4WD tours
  • Private Yellow-eyed Penguin trip
  • Entry to Orokonui Ecosanctuary
  • Entry to Larnach Castle
  • Three-course at Larnach Castle and Doubtful Sound
  • Two 16x22" Fine-Art Prints
  • Transport during the tour
  • DOC (National Park) concession fees
  • Copy of our Pocket Guide to Landscape & Wildlife Photography and E-books
  • Donation to our Conservation Fund
  • Native tree planting to Carbon Offset your tour

 FURTHER INFORMATION

  • 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 & 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 Queenstown Airport (or hotel drop off) at 3 pm to meet flights after 4 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 $1,600 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.

 TUTORS

Richard Young & Ken Wright: days 1-4 Ken Wright & Shaun Branett: days 8-12 Richard Young & Ken Wright: days 13-18