9-Day Wildlife Photography Tour in 2021 with New Zealand Photography Workshops
Duration: 9 Day
Location: Otago Peninsula, Stewart Island
Price: $8,600 (NZD)2021 - Fully Booked : Book now for 2022
15th - 23rd May 2021
This tour will explore some of the best spots in New Zealand for wildlife photography. Starting at Otago Peninsula, know as the wildlife capital of New Zealand, we also visit the Catlins and Stewart Island. Some of the species of note are, New Zealand sea lions and fur seals, as well as a host of rare bird species, such as the yellow-eyed penguin, northern royal albatross, Stewart Island kiwi, Stewart Island weka, Stewart Island robin, rifleman. A highlight will be staying at the famous Larnach Castle as well as Stewart Island Lodge.
The first 4-days of the tour will be based on the Otago Peninsula and takes in our Wildlife Masterclass Workshop, designed to perfect the techniques of shooting coastal wildlife, coastal birds and coastal landscape photography; with dedicated tuition sessions and notes on these subjects. The workshop concludes with a processing printing two of your best images as 16x22" fine art prints using the latest Epson SC-P800 printer. We will also have a number of Tamron 150-600mm lenses along with some additional Nikon cameras & lenses available for shared use during the workshop to help you capture some amazing close up wildlife images.
Then we travel to Stewart Island, a unique gem of New Zealand. Exploring the coastline by boat and a trip to predator-free Ulva Island gives us the chance to photograph some of New Zealand’s bird species, some of which are only found on Stewart Island. We spend our time on Stewart Island exploring the forests, bays and beaches where these species live.
Meeting at Dunedin airport to be picked up from the early-morning flights, we drive out to our accommodation for the next three nights, Larnach Castle. We will run through our introductory programme for the finer points of capturing amazing wildlife images and advanced settings for wildlife photography. The afternoon will see us heading out for our first wildlife shoot, to photograph the magnificent New Zealand sea lion, which breeds along the rugged coastline of the Peninsula area.
Day 2 - OTAGO PENINSULA
Today we head further afield to photograph the forest birds at Orokonui, which is also home to New Zealand’s tuatara, a relic from the dinosaur age. Spending the whole morning in the reserve will offer us the chance to photograph several rare birds including South Island Kākā and the Takahē. This afternoon we head out to photograph Yellow-eyed penguins on a private beach as they return from a day out at sea, with luck we also likely find a few more sea lions to photograph on the same beach.
Day 3 - OTAGO PENINSULA
After sunrise to capture wading birds silhouetted in the morning light, 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 of wildlife your images. This afternoon we take a boat charter to photograph many species of birds from the sea. We will also visit the world’s only mainland breeding colony of Northern Royal Albatross. We end the day by returning to Larnach Castle for dinner (included) which will be the culinary highlight of the tour, eating a three-course meal in the castle’s grand dining room.
Day 4 - OTAGO PENINSULA - CATLINS
This morning we will capture the sunrise from an exclusive location on private land which offers unparalleled views across the Peninsula. 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. We will have some time today to explore inside Larnach Castle if we have not already had the chance and maybe one final wildlife shoot. Departing Dunedin, we head east towards the Catlins.
Day 5 - CATLINS
In the Catlins, we will see the spectacular coastline of Nugget Point at sunrise, where a lighthouse, wind-ruffled native shrubs, and off-shore islands make a photogenic scene. Today we will spend time exploring some of the coastlines wild beaches to hopefully spend some more time photographing Sea Lions that have once again made this area their home. 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.
Day 6 - INVERCARGILL - STEWART ISLAND
After meeting in Invercargill this morning, we fly to Stewart Island. The rest of the day will be spent exploring the island from our comfortable base at Stewart Island Lodge in Oban.
Day 7 - STEWART ISLAND
Today, we head out to Ulva island to photograph its abundant birdlife. If we are lucky, we will get the chance to see a kiwi in the wild this evening. This experience is not easy to come by on mainland New Zealand.
Day 8 - STEWART ISLAND
This morning, we will explore Paterson Inlet by boat, capturing its bays and historic sites. We will also head out further from the coast to try to photograph some of the marine birds—including albatross—that can be found fishing in the waters around Stewart Island. In the afternoon, we will explore some of the forest tracks close to Oban, including the start of the Rakiura great walk.
Day 8 - STEWART ISLAND - INVERCARGILL
We have the morning to explore more locations close to Oban, including beautiful bays and another forest walk. This brings us to the end of our tour, and we fly back to Invercargill in time to meet late afternoon flights out to the main centres.
Please note: We keep the workshop itinerary flexible to allow for the best shooting and the order of each day's shoot may be changed due to weather, but we try and get to all of the locations over the 9 days.
Limited numbers with a maximum group size of 6. 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.
We will meet the group at Dunedin Airport at the start of the workshop and provide transport to the whole workshop and return you to Invercargill airport at the end of the tour.
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.
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.
A minimum level of physical activity is necessary to enjoy the workshop. All locations we shoot will be within an easy walk along the coastline, but sometimes over rocky beaches carrying your own equipment. One beach has a downhill walk to assess it. 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.
Ideally, you will have a basic knowledge of photography and be comfortable adjusting camera settings such as aperture and shutter speed. The aim of our masterclass workshops is to cover more advanced creative camera control and help you to further develop your own style and vision.
If you are yet to master the basics, perhaps check out our 1-day Photo School workshops in Auckland and Wellington.
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$1200 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.