2023 - New Zealand Icons Photography Tour
- Duration: 13 Days (approx.)
- Product code: 13-ICON
Join Ken Wright & Shaun Barnett, on a 13-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. The whole tour will feature the stunning golden colours of the southern landscapes.
Starting in Queenstown, 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 2-nights here on a boat. We then travel on to Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park to photograph some of the amazing alpine scenery around New Zealand’s highest peak. The tour then takes us South, where we explore the Otago Peninsula, known as New Zealand’s wildlife capital. We photograph southern Royal Albatross and stay at Larnach Castle. We finish our week by travelling through the Catlins Coastal Rainforest Park, with opportunities to photograph the area’s waterfalls, rainforest, penguins and sea lions.
2x nights cruise on Doubtful Sound
Photograph penguins, albatross & sea lions
Boat trip on the Otago Peninsula
Stay at Larnach Castle
QUEENSTOWN - QUEENSTOWN
The Catlins Coast
Milford & Doubtful Sound
Day 1 – Queenstown - Milford
After departing from Queenstown, we take 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 soaring 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. We will end the day shooting sunset over a vista of Fiordland’s dramatic peaks.
Day 2 – Milford - 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 3 – Te Anau - Doubtful Sound
This morning there will be an option for sunrise over Lake Te Anau, or to join a one and a half 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 our time at the beautiful Doubtful Sound.
Day 4 – Doubtful Sound
Today will be spent cruising the Sound with excellent photo opportunities of waterfalls, rainforest and mountains as we head into a truly untouched part of the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Area.
Day 5 – Doubtful Sounds - 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 at Pearl Harbour, we make our way back to Queenstown where we will stay for 2 nights.
Day 6 – Queenstown
Today, you have another free day in Queenstown to catch up with downloading or post-processing some of the many shots or head out on a local excursion.
Day 7 - Queenstown - Aoraki/Mt Cook
Departing Queenstown, we head inland to the iconic Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park. 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 8 – 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 9 – Aoraki/Mt Cook - Otago Peninsula
The day begins with a sunrise shoot capturing the alpine glow on the summit of Aoraki/Mt Cook acoss a stunning glacier lake before heading back to the hotel for breakfast. We then leave Aoraki/Mt Cook and drive south towards the historic town of Oamaru, having the opportunity to photograph the whitestone buildings of this heritage town, before to the famed Moeraki Boulders which are curiously round rocks known as ‘concretions’ set into a scenic beachscape. 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 10 – Otago Peninsula
This morning we capture a stunning panoramic vista across the peninsula from a high vantage point on private land. We then 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 11 – Otago Peninsula - The Catlins
This morning we will capture some impressive coastal landscapes and then 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. We then head towards the Catlins. The Catlins is also known for its amazing wildlife and if we are lucky we might see sea lions hauling themselves out on the wild beaches along the coastline. Today will finish with a sunset over a beautiful beach looking out over the Southern Ocean.
Day 12 – The Catlins
This morning 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. 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.
Day 13 – The Catlins - Queenstown
For our last day of the tour, we head north back to Queenstown. En route, we will visit the South Island’s most southerly point, Waipapa and its well-known lighthouse and the world famous twisted Macrocarpa tree hedge. In the afternoon we travel back to Queenstown, arriving in time to meet late afternoon flights.
13-days photography guiding & tuition by Ken Wright & Shaun Barnett
12 nights hotel accommodation (twin-share, single upgrade available) in mostly 4✩
Luxury accommodation at Milford Sound Lodge, Larnach Castle and Mt Cook
2 night cruise on Doubtful Sound
Boat trip on Lake Manapouri
Boat charter on the Otago Peninsula
Private Yellow-eyed Penguin trip
3x Three course dinners (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