New Zealand South Island Photography Tour (2018)

New Zealand’s South Island is a land of remarkable beauty and breathtaking majesty. Vibrant blue alpine lakes fringed by rugged, snow-capped peaks; mysterious primal landscapes that have served as exotic locations for Hollywood blockbusters; wildernesses aglow with the burnished gold of autumn. This tour will take you to some of the most iconic, inspiring and incredible photographic locations in the South Island!

Lake Wanaka, New Zealand

Tour dates: 9 April – 20 April 2018
Tour length: 12 days
Minimum 6 guests. Maximum 10 guests. This tour is suitable for photographers of all levels.
Pace: Easy to moderate. Some locations will require hiking (along graded tracks) of between 20 minutes to 50 minutes each way.


This tour is your passport to photograph in some of the best locations the South Island has to offer. We will be visiting New Zealand in autumn, where the change of season brings brilliant, blazing golden foliage for you to photograph. You’ll be fully chauffeured by a professional New Zealand driver in a comfortable and roomy 16-seater coach, with plenty of space for your luggage and photography equipment. We will be maximising photographic opportunities by “chasing the light” from sun up to sun down at breathtaking locations. Unlike other photography tours where you may be shown a location and left to your own devices, Seng will be available to help you make the most of your experience and to show you how you can refine your camera craft to shoot the best images you can get both in-camera and in post-production. We want you to be completely fulfilled photographically in this tour!

We know that travel is more than just photography; it’s also about enjoying the experience and getting to know the country in a more personally enriching way. So, we have included a carefully selected range of experiences for you, including a trip up the Queenstown Skyline to Bob’s Peak, an early morning cruise in remarkable Milford Sound, a cruise on Lake Tasman to view the glacial icebergs up close, a hot springs soak at Lake Tekapo and a great group dinner in Christchurch at the end of the tour! You’ll also have leisure time to explore the places we visit – taking in the views or shopping, or receiving image critique and post-processing tips from Seng.


Tour Highlights

Day 1 – 2: Queenstown and Glenorchy

Our tour begins with your stay in central Queenstown and access to some of the most beautiful settings that Queenstown has to offer. We’ll be taking the Skyline Gondola to Bob’s Peak high above Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu to photograph the vista at sunset and enjoy an early sunrise shoot on the shores of Lake Wakatipu. We will also use Queenstown as our base to explore the region around Wakatipu, particularly the village of Glenorchy (the home of the famed water willows) and stunning Moke Lake and its sunset reflections.

Queenstown view
Glenorchy Willows

Day 3 – 4: Milford Sound

We leave Queenstown for Milford Sound, one of the most stunning and dramatic locations in the South Island for landscape photography. Our trip to Milford Sound will also afford us a photographic stop at Eglinton Valley with views across the expansive valley to the surrounding peaks.

We have two nights at Milford Sound, and our time here will see us chasing the changing light and incredible scenery in a landscape that seems to have emerged out of prehistoric times. We will enjoy a morning cruise of the Sound, where we can view the incredibly steep cliffs of the surrounding mountains up close and photograph the majestic waterfalls that cascade from their heights. We will also take the opportunity to visit The Chasm, a thunderous gorge through which a swift flowing river plummets and Marian Falls, a powerful series of cascades surrounded by lush temperate rainforest. If we’re lucky, meet the infamous kea, the mountain parrot known for their character and cheekiness.

Milford Sound Dusk
Milford Sound Sunset
Stirling Falls at Milford Sound

Day 5: Wanaka

We leave Milford Sound and drive through the plains of Otago and up the Crown Range Road towards Wanaka, the home of the iconic and much-loved Wanaka tree and beautiful Lake Wanaka. Our time here will be devoted to sunrise and sunset photography at the lake while we enjoy the vibrant buzz of the town itself.

Lake Wanaka Tree

Day 6 – 7: Mount Cook

From Wanaka, we take the road north traveling through the awe-inspiring Lindis Pass to Mount Cook and the impossibly blue waters of Lake Pukaki. We’ll be based in the Mount Cook region for two nights, which gives us plenty of opportunity to explore and photograph the mountains from various vantage points, including Peter’s Lookout, which provides a view towards the mountains across the gorgeous expanse of Lake Pukaki, White Horse Hill Campsite and the Hooker Valley Track, where you’ll be able to photography Mount Cook across the roaring Hooker River. Mount Cook is also a “dark sky” region, which means that there will be opportunities for us to look for and photograph the Milky Way in the mountains.

We will also embark on a thrilling small boat cruise out to the Tasman Glacier Terminal Lake, where you’ll be able to view the icebergs on the lake, the result of ice calving from the glacier terminus. You’ll develop a real appreciation for the geological history of this place, where eons of moving ice have carved remarkable landscapes from rock.

Lake Pukaki and Mount Cook
Hooker Valley view, Mount Cook
Mount Cook sunrise

Day 8 – 9: Lake Tekapo

Our next destination is the beautiful setting of Lake Tekapo in the Mackenzie Basin. Our photographic itinerary here includes a visit to lakeside and Church of the Good Shepherd for some iconic photography at late afternoon and sunset, as well as photography from Mount John, for a truly epic view of Lake Tekapo, shimmering brilliant blue below. We will also explore the highland trails above the lakes for perfect vantage points. You’ll also have an afternoon free to soak in the Tekapo Hot Springs and relax. Lake Tekapo resides in a Dark Sky area so, weather permitting, we will embark on some night sky photography here too.

Lake Tekapo Moonlight
Lake Alexandrina from Mt JohnView over Lake Tekapo

Day 10: Arthur’s Pass

We leave Lake Tekapo and head up to the alpine region of Arthur’s Pass, a land of craggy mountains, amazing waterfalls and rugged valleys lined with the golden blaze of autumn foliage. Our time at Arthur’s Pass will be spent photographing the Devil’s Punchbowl Waterfall, a dramatic waterfall fringed by primeval forests, and exploring the alpine landscape of the highlands. Arthur’s Pass is also home to the Kea, and we might spot some of these cheeky birds at play while we are here.

New Zealand Kea
Devil's Punchbowl Falls
Road to Arthur's Pass

Day 11: Christchurch

We spend the morning immersed in photography in Arthur’s Pass and the highland lakes before transferring to Christchurch, where we can relax in our hotel before our group dinner that evening.

Lake Pearson

Day 12: Depart Christchurch

We bid each other goodbye, with incredible memories of our photographic tour in New Zealand, to catch our flight home or onwards to our next adventure.


“I have just spent an EPIC 10 days on a tour of New Zealand’s South Island with Seng Mah and Stephen Humpleby from Venture Photography. If you haven’t yet joined a tour or workshop run by Venture Photography I suggest you do so. You will learn all about your camera and how to take your best images with it. Seng always makes all aspects of photography simple and easy to understand and use. Thanks Seng and Stephen, as always I had a wonderful time and learned so much. This was my 5th adVENTURE with Seng and his team and I will be back for more.”
Taryn Johnn


What’s included:

  • Land transport in a comfortable 16-seater coach with a professional New Zealand driver.
  • All national park fees and concessions.
  • All accommodation during the tour.
  • All photographic tuition and guidance during the tour.
  • Queenstown Skyline Gondola entry.
  • Milford Sound cruise.
  • Tasman Glacier Terminal Lake boat cruise.
  • Lake Tekapo Hot Springs entry.
  • Farewell dinner at Christchurch (alcohol not included).
  • Tasty snacks and water during the tour.



  • Flights to Queenstown and departing Christchurch.
  • Transfers to/from airports.
  • Meals and drinks (except the farewell dinner).
  • Travel insurance. All participants are required to take comprehensive travel insurance for this tour. You will need to show proof of travel insurance as a condition of participating in this tour.
  • Insurance for your photographic equipment while on tour.
  • Photographic equipment. You will need to bring/supply your own cameras, lenses, tripods, batteries, filters, memory cards and so on.
  • Personal expenses, including laundry, wi-fi, medication and incidental meals.
  • Any transport or tips outside of the tour itinerary.


Price of Tour

  • AUD$5740* twin share for guests travelling with a friend or partner who is also a paying guest and participating photographer. Non-photographer friends/partners are welcome: If your accompanying friend or partner is a non-photographer, please contact us for the special price for non-photographers.
  • A single supplement of AUD$1130* for guests requesting their own room or who are not travelling with another paying guest.


Book your Place

A deposit of AUD$900* will secure you a place on this tour. This deposit is refundable if the tour does not go ahead (we require a minimum of 6 guests to run this tour).

A second payment of AUD$1500* by 30 October 2017. This amount if full refundable if the tour does not go ahead.

Final payment of the balance by 30 January 2018.

Bookings close 30 October 2017.

* Please note that a credit card service fee of 2.6% will be charged if you’re paying via credit card (Visa or Mastercard only)

For details of the Terms and Conditions of our tours, including cancellation charges, please read our Photography Tours Terms and Conditions.

To join this tour or contact us with your questions, please use the form below or email seng [at] or telephone 0417 604 614.


Enquiry Form

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