In April 2020 Andy Biggs will lead a private group of photographers to the South Island of New Zealand in order to photograph fall colors and its dramatic landscapes in varied locations. This landscape workshop combines some of the finest photography anywhere in the world with expert guiding, comfortable accommodations and a pace that is suited to having a great time. What makes New Zealand ideal for landscape photographers is how varied the shooting locations are with little distance between them. The photographic opportunities will happen at all times during the days, so be ready to jump out, take some thrilling photographs and do it again many many times throughout each day. We will shoot when the location and conditions are right, so grab your camera and tripod and join us in New Zealand in April.
We have chosen accommodations that will give us the best access to the locations, minimize long driving times and allow us to relax at the end of each day, after the sun sets and the cameras are put away. This is a vacation, after all.
This photo tour / workshop will be informal and fun and you will see so many different types of landscapes and scenes throughout the trip. From mountain tops and glaciers to rocky beaches and green meadows in between, this trip is all about seeing what the South Island of New Zealand is all about. And it is absolutely gorgeous.
Trip Highlights At A Glance
12 Nights / 13 Days, beginning and ending in Christchurch, New Zealand
We will have helicopter flights to take us to some of the most thrilling scenery in all of New Zealand
Visit photographic hot-spots, as well as less photographed wonders
Don’t worry about a thing. We have everything taken care of! All you need to do is arrive and we will take care of the rest
Is This Photographic Tour For You?
Here are some key points to help you decide:
We welcome photographers of all levels. This tour will be conducive to learning from one another and include instruction that will suit everyone’s photographic needs. No question is off limits, no inquiry too basic.
We love photographing in the field. We spend most our time and effort making great images. This is not a “classroom-intensive” trip, rather the outdoors is our classroom and we will be there at your side to make sure you are getting the images you need.
April 16, 2020; Crowne Plaza Christchurch, Christchurch
Today you will arrive at Christchurch Airport. You will be warmly welcomed and chauffeured to the Crowne Plaza Christchurch, where your room will be ready for an immediate check in on arrival.
This afternoon explore the city of Christchurch on foot, with a private walking tour of the city. Soak up the atmosphere and sights of Christchurch, from the Botanical Gardens and Arts Centre to Cathedral Square. Spend time seeing how the city is rebuilding after the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes.
Our stay is here is on Bed & Breakfast basis and we have arranged a welcome dinner this evening. Dinners are included each night for the remainder of the program. If you would like to arrive a day or two early, we can easily arrange for the extra nights at this hotel, as well as day tours of Christchurch and surrounds.
April 17, 2020; Punakaiki Resort, Punakaiki
This morning you will depart by road to the small town of Punakaiki and the Punakaiki Resort (approximately 4 hours drive).
View the dramatic changing landscapes as you travel from one side of the south island to the other. This allows time for unique photography spots as the scenes change from Mountain passes, Rivers, Lakes and unique geological features. Stop in Arthurs Pass National Park, known for its immense natural beauty and rare flora and fauna, before arriving to Punakaiki mid afternoon
In the late afternoon, at high tide make your way to the famous Pancake Rocks and Blowholes which are only a short drive from your hotel. These ancient formations are a true wonder of nature, formed 30 million years ago from minute fragments of dead marine creatures and walks about a mile below the surface. Immense water pressure caused the fragments to solidify in hard and soft layers and then gradual seismic action lifted the lime stone above the seabed.
April 18, 2020; Te Waonui Forest Retreat, Franz Josef
Sunrise this morning allows you to capture the Pancake Rocks and Blowholes in a different light.
This morning, embark on a scenic West Coast drive to Franz Josef Glacier(approximately 3.5 hours drive). The West Coast of New Zealand is an environmental treasure with ice age glaciers, swift flowing streams, plunging waterfalls and primeval forests, serene lakes, wild sea coasts bounded by the surging Tasman Sea and the high snowfields and cloud piercing peaks of the Southern Alps.
Make regular stops on route to take advance of the scenery and the lighting for the perfect photos.
Later in the afternoon or evening, we will arrive at Te Waonui Forest Retreat. This is a haven from the city rush, located in New Zealand’s pristine wilderness. Te Waonui takes pride in its cutting edge sustainable accommodation. Great care has been taken to ensure this exceptional forest retreat steps lightly upon the earth, from the organic cotton bedspread to its recycled local building materials. Depending on the amount of time we take to photograph along the coast today, we will photograph sunset at Lake Matheson, which sits near the base of the mountain range that houses Franz Josef Glacier.
April 19, 2020; Edgewater, Wanaka
Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers are the fastest growing of any glaciers in the world. Today after breakfast we will experience a helicopter flight to view and appreciate the incredible natural phenomenon, towering ice formations and vast size of the glaciers. Top it off with the thrill of a snow landing that sets you up for some spectacular photo opportunities.
Following our flight, embark on the scenic journey to Wanaka (approximately 4 hours drive). Stop en route for a short walk to the crystal clear Blue Pools. Nestled among mature beech and podocarp forest, these pools of deep, clear water flowing into the Makarora River offers pristine waters and dramatic views up the river gorge.
This afternoon arrive in Wanaka at sunset to photograph the most photographed tree in New Zealand, the lone tree of Lake Wanaka. Framed by the South Island’s stunning Southern Alps, the solitary tree has grown just off shore of Lake Wanaka. Spend the next two nights at the Edgewater in Wanaka, with views of the Southern Alps and the azure blue lake Wanaka.
April 20, 2020; Edgewater, Wanaka
An early start this morning, has you up for a sunrise shoot high in the mountains overlooking Lake Wanaka and beyond to the snow-capped peaks and glaciers of Mt Aspiring National Park. Take a 4WD journey through West Wanaka Station to shoot incredible landscapes far from the crowds showcasing the best private locations available in Wanaka. This is a private station (or oft referred to as a ranch elsewhere) and the photo opportunities are very unique.
Return to the Edgewater late morning by helicopter, taking in the spectacular views beneath you, landing on a glacier before landing back at the Edgewater.
This afternoon, enjoy lunch at the hotel and some time at leisure before reconvening mid afternoon for a sunset shoot. Travel to secret locations with your specialist local guide to capture the sun setting.
April 21, 2020; Distinction Te Anau, Te Anau
Today we will transfer over the Crown Range to Queenstown and on to Te Anau (approximately 3 hour drive). Stop at the Crown Range summit for remarkable views towards Queenstown and surrounds and other spectacular locations en route. The photo opportunities
Arrive in Te Anau later in the afternoon, enjoy some time at leisure before coming together for dinner.
The Distinction Te Anau is surrounded by extensive colouful gardens and overlooking the spectacular Lake Te Anau and the Fiordland Ranges.
April 22, 2020; Distinction Te Anau, Te Anau
After breakfast, embark on the scenic 2 hour drive to Milford Sound this morning. Described as the 8th Wonder of the World, Milford Sound is renowned for its towering mountains, lush rain forest and incredible wildlife.
Experience the fiord in all its glory aboard a private cruise. You’ll see the geological drama of sheer cliffs, massive waterfalls, glaciers and rainforest. Keep a look out for wildlife like seals basking on the rocks or dolphins.
This afternoon, return to Te Anau along the scenic highway, Milford Road and take the plentiful opportunities for photographs and scenic stops.
April 23, 2020; Fiordland Navigator, Doubtful Sound
This morning we will wake up to photograph the lake in the different lights, and enjoy a relaxed breakfast and time at leisure.
Often called the 'Sound of Silence' Doubtful Sound is the deepest (421 metres/1382 ft) and second longest (40 kilometres/24 miles) of the South Island's fiords.
This afternoon, get ready to create some lifelong memories as the Fiordland Navigator takes you through the ultimate Doubtful Sound experience. Your overnight cruise starts in Manapouri with a short cruise across Lake Manapouri. A coach then takes you across Wilmot Pass, travelling on a sub-alpine road through dense rainforest. Arriving at Deep Cove you’ll be met by your crew and the majestic Fiordland Navigator.
As you cruise through some of New Zealand’s most stunning scenery, our knowledgeable nature guides will provide commentary ensuring you miss nothing, be it the pod of resident dolphins, fur seals or rare penguins you might encounter. After dropping anchor in a sheltered cove, you can choose to explore the shoreline by kayak or tender boat – or to simply relax on board. For the adventurous (or very brave), there’s even a chance to go swimming.
April 24, 2020; Millbrook Resort, Arrowtown
Kick off the day with a spectacular sunrise and hearty cooked breakfast and get ready to enjoy the rest of the morning exploring other parts of the fiord before returning to Te Anau.
This afternoon, travel the scenic drive along the majestic shores of Lake Wakatipu back to Queenstown (approximately 2 hour drive). Take the many photography opportunities en route before arriving to Lake Hayes and Arrowtown to capture the beautiful surrounds of the area.
Millbrook Resort is set in a natural alpine amphitheatre against the backdrop of the Remarkables mountain range, the extensive colour palette is on full show at this time of year.
April 25, 2020; Highfield Mews, Oamaru
Depart Arrowtown this morning to Moeraki, famous for its boulders; mysteriously spherical stones scattered across a beach. Moeraki Boulders are geological marvels, exposed by erosion of sedimentary rocks laid down from 65 to 13 million years ago (approximately 3.5 hour drive).
Photograph these natural historical boulders at mid – high tide before continuing your 30 minute drive to Oamaru to overnight before returning to photograph tomorrow at sunrise.
This afternoon, enjoy a guided walk of the small town of Oamaru to see some of the best-preserved heritage buildings in New Zealand.
Highfield Mews is quiet and private in a village like setting. Close to the historic precinct of Oamaru, it is an ideal location for historic photography.
April 26, 2020; Hermitage Mount Cook, Mount Cook
Make your way back to Moeraki Boulders early this morning to capture a sunrise shot of the rocks. Late morning embark on the picturesque drive to Mount Cook (approximately 3 hour drive). Wander through the towering limestone rocks at Elephant Rocks en route, a geological wonder of the Waitaki. The formations vary from 1–10 metres (3–33 ft) across and are naturally scattered around a grass paddock on a gentle hillside over an area of about 200 metres (660 ft) across.
This afternoon we will arrive at Mount Cook, with the remainder of the afternoon at leisure, take some time to explore your glacial surroundings and see how the light changes throughout the afternoon. We will arrange an afternoon excursion to
Hermitage Mount Cook is nestled in the beautiful Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park, The Hermitage Hotel is the perfect base for your photography adventure. Recognised as part of the Te Wahipounamu UNESCO World Heritage Area, the National Park is a breath-taking environment of glaciers, terminal lakes, turbulent rivers and Australasia's tallest peak, the mighty Aoraki Mount Cook soaring above at 3,724 metres (12,218ft).
April 27, 2020; Hermitage Mount Cook, Mount Cook
Enjoy a scenic photography day today. We recommend a scenic light aircraft flight up the Tasman Valley over the breathtaking blue glacier lake (at additional cost). See the Hochstetter Icefall and the cloud-piercing Aoraki/Mount Cook before landing on the upper snowfields of the Tasman Glacier to take time to enjoy this unique alpine environment.
This evening convene for a final private dinner in house to celebrate your adventure.
This evening we recommend a night of star gazing. Enjoy the first part of the tour inside at the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre with a digital dome presentation at our planetarium, which includes a journey through the universe, our Milky Way Galaxy and an introduction to the southern night sky. Following your time in the planetarium, your guides take you on a short drive down the Starlight Highway to the outdoor stargazing viewing area within the Aoraki Mackenzie Dark Sky Reserve - the World's largest dark sky reserve, where you will enjoy a guided introduction of the southern night sky using your naked-eye along with telescopes and astro-binoculars.
April 28, 2020; Depart New Zealand
Farewell the Mackenzie Basin today as you make the scenic drive to Christchurch (approximately 4.5 hour drive. Stop and marvel at the pristine Lakes of Pukaki and Tekapo before continuing your drive to Christchurch where you will board your connecting international flights home.
The cost of this workshop is NZ$18,750 per person (Roughly USD$12,800). The same rate applies for each participant regardless of whether they are doing photography and participating in the workshop, or not. This fee includes all in-country ground transportation as well as hotel accommodation (double occupancy) and all meals. If you would like to have your own room for the duration of this trip the single supplement is NZ$2,500 (Roughly US$1,700).
Please note: We will attempt to adhere to this itinerary as much as possible. However, certain conditions (political, climatic, environmental, cultural, or wildlife migrations) may necessitate changes in the itinerary. We reserves the right to alter any itinerary at any time, if necessary. We will attempt to notify participants of changes as far in advance as possible. Costs incurred by such changes will be the responsibility of the participant.
What Do I Do Next?
Our groups are small, so space is limited. If this exciting trip has your name on it; if you're excited by the thought of becoming a member of this trip, then now is the time to register. Remember, there will be limited space available for this workshop. When they're spoken for, that's it. If you have any questions before registering, send us an e-mail with any inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trip Leader: Andy Biggs
Dates: April 16-28, 2020
Single supplement: NZ$2,500
12 nights’ accommodation as noted in the itinerary
All breakfasts, 13 lunches and 12 dinners
Activities as noted in the itinerary
Welcome gift, wifi, porterage and room drop
Non-alcoholic beverages with group lunches and select wine and beer with group dinners
What is Not Included?
International airfare and/or other transportation between your home and Christchurch, New Zealand