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12 Days New Zealand Icons Photography Tour

Pricing From
$9600

South Island
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Overview

On this 12-day New Zealand Icons Photography Tour, join Richard Young & Dave Buckton for a journey to some of the most celebrated landscapes of the South Island, including the breathtaking Milford Sound and the curious Moeraki Boulders, along with a handful of the most extraordinary coastal wildlife of New Zealand. Autumn is the country’ most settled season, and the tour is timed to allow you to capture the last of the fall hues while still letting you experience the main southern landscapes when they burst into golden colours.

Leaving Queenstown, we make our way south to the pristine wilderness of Fiordland and move on to Milford and Doubtful Sounds. Renowned as one of the most stunning landscapes in the world, Milford is the most northerly part of the Fiordland’s many sounds and therefore more accessible than the scenic Doubtful Sound where we overnight on a boat. As Doubtful Sound is not as easily accessible, the reward is a true wilderness experience.

The less-travelled Catlins Coastal Rainforest Park comes next. Here you will have an opportunity to capture the rainforest and waterfalls, as well as the resident penguins and sea lions, that characterise the area. Up ahead, we continue on to the Otago Peninsula, celebrated as the wildlife capital of New Zealand. The Southern royal albatross call this area home, and you will have the chance to photograph them in their native surroundings. You also get to stay at the historic Larnach Castle before travelling farther north to the fascinating Moeraki Boulders and finally leaving for Aoraki/Mt. Cook National Park to photograph some of the most compelling alpine scenery surrounding New Zealand’s highest peak.

Highlights

  • Overnight cruise on Doubtful Sound
  • Amazing wildlife
  • Boat trip on the Otago Peninsula
  • Stay at Larnach Castle

New Zealand Icons Photography Tour

New Zealand Icons Photography Tour

New Zealand Icons Photography Tour

New Zealand Icons Photography Tour

New Zealand Icons Photography Tour

Itinerary

Open All
Day 1Milford Sound

From Queenstown, heading to Te Anau, 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 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. A night here provide the chances to capture a dramatic light over Mitre Peak at both sunrise and sunset, from a variety of locations.

Day 2Te Anau

Today we will head 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. We photograph the sunset over the lake, with a vast array of mountains beyond.

Day 3Doubtful Sound

This morning we transfer to Pearl Harbour, Manapouri. We will 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. On board, 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 4Doubtful Sound

Waking up on the boat sheltered in the wilderness of Doubtful Sound, we cruise through some of the fjord’s most stunning scenery, No matter what the weather, Fiordland is always spectacular. After arriving back to Pearl Harbour, we return to Queenstown.

Day 5Glenorchy

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 sunset over lake Wakatipu.

Day 6The Catlins

Today we head east towards the Catlins. En route we visit the South Island’s most southerly point, Waipapa and its well-known lighthouse. We move on to a beach in the Catlins Coastal Rainforest Park where a low tide reveals long fingers of fossilised forest, some 160 million years old and now exposed by tide and time. From here we travel inland to explore the waterfalls of the Catlins. These may not be high, but have a subtle beauty all of their own.

Day 7The Catlins/Otago Peninsula

Heading north through the Catlins, we take in sunrise at the spectacular coastline of Nugget Point, where a lighthouse, wind-ruffled native shrubs and off-shore islands combine in a photogenic scene. Along the Catlins coast, we will hopefully get the chance to photograph penguins and the magnificent New Zealand sea lion, which in recent decades has begun breeding again in the Catlins area. The day ends at Larnach Castle, one of New Zealand’s most stately buildings, set on the crest of the Otago Peninsula near Dunedin. Dinner here will be a culinary highlight of the tour, eating in the castle’s grand dining room.

Day 8Otago Peninsula

The Otago Peninsula; home to penguins, albatross and sea lions, is often called the wildlife capital of New Zealand. We take a boat charter to view many of these species from the sea, visit the world’s only mainland breeding colony of Southern Royal Albatross. We end the day photographing sunset over the ridges and estuaries of the peninsula.

Day 9Moeraki

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. The day also includes photographing a colony of shags along the coastline here. Then we head out into the last light of the day to photograph Yellow-eyed penguins at a coastal reserve on their return from a day out at sea. Tonight we stay near Moeraki, south of Oamaru.

Day 10Moeraki/Mt. Cook

An early start to photograph sunrise over the famed Moeraki Boulders which are curiously round rocks known as ‘concretions,’ set into a scenic beachscape. Further north at historic Oamaru, we have the opportunity to photograph the whitestone buildings of this heritage town. W then head inland towards 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 then an evening shoot in the Tasman Valley.

Day 11Mt. Cook

This morning we will have the option to do some aerial photography (optional extra) we will take a flight over Mt Cook and land for an hour with a guide to photography the glacier. The rest of the day will be taken up alternating between locations in the park. We will capture the panoramic views of 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 12Mt. Cook/Christchurch

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 Mt Cook and drive North to photograph around Lake Tekapo. In the afternoon we travel to Christchurch, stopping en route to capture the last of the autumn colours, arriving in time to meet flights or for your onward travel.

Itinerary

Open All
Day 1Milford Sound

From Queenstown, heading to Te Anau, 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 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. A night here provide the chances to capture a dramatic light over Mitre Peak at both sunrise and sunset, from a variety of locations.

Day 2Te Anau

Today we will head 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. We photograph the sunset over the lake, with a vast array of mountains beyond.

Day 3Doubtful Sound

This morning we transfer to Pearl Harbour, Manapouri. We will 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. On board, 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 4Doubtful Sound

Waking up on the boat sheltered in the wilderness of Doubtful Sound, we cruise through some of the fjord’s most stunning scenery, No matter what the weather, Fiordland is always spectacular. After arriving back to Pearl Harbour, we return to Queenstown.

Day 5Glenorchy

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 sunset over lake Wakatipu.

Day 6The Catlins

Today we head east towards the Catlins. En route we visit the South Island’s most southerly point, Waipapa and its well-known lighthouse. We move on to a beach in the Catlins Coastal Rainforest Park where a low tide reveals long fingers of fossilised forest, some 160 million years old and now exposed by tide and time. From here we travel inland to explore the waterfalls of the Catlins. These may not be high, but have a subtle beauty all of their own.

Day 7The Catlins/Otago Peninsula

Heading north through the Catlins, we take in sunrise at the spectacular coastline of Nugget Point, where a lighthouse, wind-ruffled native shrubs and off-shore islands combine in a photogenic scene. Along the Catlins coast, we will hopefully get the chance to photograph penguins and the magnificent New Zealand sea lion, which in recent decades has begun breeding again in the Catlins area. The day ends at Larnach Castle, one of New Zealand’s most stately buildings, set on the crest of the Otago Peninsula near Dunedin. Dinner here will be a culinary highlight of the tour, eating in the castle’s grand dining room.

Day 8Otago Peninsula

The Otago Peninsula; home to penguins, albatross and sea lions, is often called the wildlife capital of New Zealand. We take a boat charter to view many of these species from the sea, visit the world’s only mainland breeding colony of Southern Royal Albatross. We end the day photographing sunset over the ridges and estuaries of the peninsula.

Day 9Moeraki

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. The day also includes photographing a colony of shags along the coastline here. Then we head out into the last light of the day to photograph Yellow-eyed penguins at a coastal reserve on their return from a day out at sea. Tonight we stay near Moeraki, south of Oamaru.

Day 10Moeraki/Mt. Cook

An early start to photograph sunrise over the famed Moeraki Boulders which are curiously round rocks known as ‘concretions,’ set into a scenic beachscape. Further north at historic Oamaru, we have the opportunity to photograph the whitestone buildings of this heritage town. W then head inland towards 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 then an evening shoot in the Tasman Valley.

Day 11Mt. Cook

This morning we will have the option to do some aerial photography (optional extra) we will take a flight over Mt Cook and land for an hour with a guide to photography the glacier. The rest of the day will be taken up alternating between locations in the park. We will capture the panoramic views of 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 12Mt. Cook/Christchurch

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 Mt Cook and drive North to photograph around Lake Tekapo. In the afternoon we travel to Christchurch, stopping en route to capture the last of the autumn colours, arriving in time to meet flights or for your onward travel.

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