Duration: 5 days
Location: Arthur's Pass National Park, Ashburton Lakes, Kura Tawhiti / Castle Hill
Price: $3,995 (NZD)

4th - 8th August 2021

Join Shaun Barnett and Glen Howey on this 5 day Winter Landscape adventure, on this trip, you will have the opportunity to capture Canturbury's High Country and the Southern Alps at its wintery best.
You will find yourself immersed in the majestic beauty of the Southern Alps, capturing snow-capped peaks from the famous Arthur's Pass. You'll experience the endless composition opportunities that present themselves at the magnificent limestone battlements and boulders of the Kura Tawhiti / Castle Hill Conservation Area. The itinerary then takes you through the Canterbury High Country, past Mount Somers, and further inland to the Ashburton Lakes. This is a remarkable area of placid lakes and high country wetlands, all set in the huge basin between the Rakaia and Rangitata Rivers, both of which drain the central Southern Alps.


  • The snow-covered mountains of the Southern Alps
  • The braided Waimakariri River
  • The limestone boulders of Castle Hill
  • The Devil’s Punchbowl Falls
  • Lakes Heron & Clearwater
  • Frosty high country landscapes

Christchurch - Christchurch

  • Arthur's Pass National Park
  • Ashburton Lakes
  • Kura Tawhiti /Castle Hill


  • Day 1 - Christchurch / Arthur's Pass

    After departing Christchurch, the tour heads along State Highway 73, headed for Arthur’s Pass and the Southern Alps. After crossing Porters Pass, the mountains of the Craigieburn and Torlesse Ranges rise above us, and here we enjoy our first photo stop at Kura Tawhiti / Castle Hill Conservation Area. A 20-minute uphill walk leads into this area of magnificent limestone battlements and boulders, where there is almost an infinite number of compositional possibilities. Afterwards, we travel into the Waimakariri Valley and to our hotel on the edge of Arthur’s Pass National Park. At sunset and sunrise we will photograph views over the Waimakariri braided river flats and the Southern Alps.
  • Day 2 - Arthur's Pass

    After our sunrise shoot, we return to the Hotel for breakfast. Following breakfast, we drive into Arthur’s Pass National Park to photograph the Devil’s Punchbowl waterfall, 131 meters high. The track crosses the Bealey River and Punchbowl Creek with the aid of two footbridges before zigzagging up steps (240 of them) through mountain beech forest to a viewing area just below the falls. In the afternoon drive across Arthur’s Pass, and descend towards the coast. This is a landscape of lush forests, many waterfalls and the impressive Otira Gorge. The tutors will decide which sunset location according to the weather conditions, but may be over alpine lake near Arthur’s Pass itself.
  • Day 3 - Arthur's Pass / Ashburton Lakes

    Another early start gives us a second opportunity to photograph the Waimakariri braided river flats and surrounding mountains. After breakfast, the tutors will run a review session, giving students an opportunity to have their work processed and critiqued. By late morning we depart Arthur’s Pass and head south towards Christchurch, with a late lunch at Springfield. Our itinerary takes us through the Canterbury High Country, past Mount Somers, and further inland to the Ashburton Lakes. This is a remarkable area of placid lakes and high country wetlands, all set in the huge basin between the Rakaia and Rangitata Rivers, both of which drain the central Southern Alps. Much of the area is protected as the Hakatere Conservation Park, and it is the home to such rare species as the Crested grebe and other wetland birds. Sunset will be spent photographing Lake Clearwater/Camp, arguably the finest of all the Ashburton Lakes. We drive back east for 30 minutes to our accommodation at Stonechrubie, where we will also have dinner.
  • Day 4 - Ashburton Lakes

    After an early breakfast, we return to the Ashburton Lakes, hoping for a good frost to photograph, and perhaps even some ice on the lakes. At sunset, we may visit Lake Heron, to photograph this large lake with the distinctive Mt Sugarloaf beyond it. We return to our hotel for dinner.
  • Day 5 - Ashburton Lakes / Christchurch

    Our last day sees us return once more to the Ashburton Lakes for sunrise and hopefully more icy landscapes. After breakfast at our hotel, we pack up, and have a last review session before making our way back towards Christchurch. If conditions are suitable, we may stop to capture local waterfalls en route. By late afternoon we arrive in Christchurch in time for people’s flights.
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  • 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 and light to allow for the best shooting. So please be aware that the tutors may choose to swap out locations for others that are better suited to the conditions. A flexible itinerary best allows us to make the most of the unpredictable weather and light. We aim to spend as much time as possible out shooting, often from before dawn until after sunset. During the tour, we will make time for some image review and processing session, but we endeavour to fit these around times that are not optimum for shooting. Photographing good light outside always takes precedence over inside tuition!
  • Transport

    Christchurch pick up & drop off: We will pick you up early (approx 9 am) from any central location in Christchurch on the first day and provide transport for the whole tour. The tour will finish at Christchurch Airport (or hotel drop off) at 4:00 pm to meet flights after 5:00 pm to the main cities.
  • Accommodation & Food

    Accommodation Type: This tour uses 3 star hotel accommodation and we have 2 nights at each hotel.
    Single Room Upgrade: All our tour prices are based on twin/double share rooms. If you are travelling alone you can book a single room upgrade for $600 or we can try and pair you with another traveller for all/part of the tour. If we cannot pair you with another traveller, you may need to pay for a single room upgrade.
    Food: The price tour includes breakfast each morning, normally eaten at the hotel but sometimes at 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 has excellent food and most places will cater for any dietary requirements including allergies, vegetarian etc.
  • Physical Difficulty

    Some physical fitness is necessary to enjoy this tour. All locations we shoot are less than an hour’s walk from the road, usually along the forest tracks or mountain paths. However, the walking is sometimes uphill, over uneven ground, or rocky terrain, and you need to have reasonable balance, as well as the strength to carry your own equipment. The steps to the Devil’s Punchbowl falls do require reasonable fitness, but if this is too difficult for anyone in the group, we can split the group at these locations. Please let us know if you have fitness, mobility or health issues, as it is vital your tutors are aware of these so they can best manage the safety and enjoyment of the whole group.
  • 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$700.00 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.