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!
Tour dates: 10 April – 21 April 2018
Tour length: 12 days
Minimum 6 guests. Maximum 8 guests. This tour has sold out. If you’d like to be considered in the event of a late cancellation, please contact us.
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 minibus, 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 beginning 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.
“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 (2017 Tour Guest)
We begin the tour with a casual get together at our hotel in Christchurch, followed by a group dinner (included in the price of the tour) so what we can all get to know one another and look forward to a fantastic time ahead exploring the wonderful landscapes of New Zealand!
We leave Christchurch 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.
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.
From Lake Tekapo, we take the road north traveling through the awe-inspiring alpine landscape 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.
We take the road from Mount Cook to beautiful 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. Our journey here will take us through magnificent Lindis Pass, which presents dramatic landscapes for us to enjoy photographing.
We leave Wanaka and drive along the scenic Crown Range Road to Central Otago. We’ll stop for lunch at a beautiful winery overlooking the rocky landscapes of Bannockburn, before continuing our way to Queenstown, on the shores of Lake Wakatipu. Here, we will access some of the most beautiful settings that Queenstown has to offer, including a ride up the Skyline Gondola to Bob’s Peak above Queenstown, to photograph the vista at sunset. We will also enjoy an early sunrise shoot on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and explore the magnificent surrounds of the Lake, including the village of Glenorchy (home of the water willows) and Moke Lake for its sunset reflections.
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.
On the final day of our tour, we leave Milford Sound and make the trip back to Queenstown. 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.
My Trip to New Zealand with Seng was my first photography tour, so I had a little hesitation in that I didn’t know what to expect. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience! Seng is not only a great photographer and teacher, he is a great person and fun to be around. An added bonus to the trip is that Seng knows what good food is, so a recommendation from him never disappointed. New Zealand is a beautiful country, Seng taught me how to add that bit extra to my photography, so my images captured both the beauty and the feeling you had being there. I can’t wait to travel with Seng again.”
Marina Fort (2016 Tour Guest)
“My first visit to the South Island of New Zealand was met with the same excitement level of a kid on Christmas Eve. Will it meet my expectations? Hell bloody yes!! Coming from a city as flat and featureless as Perth we get pretty excited with a cloud in the sky sometimes. Don’t get me wrong I love Perth, but when the grand designer was putting it together he was not thinking about landscape photographers.
The first thing that struck me as the plane descended into Queenstown was; ‘Oh so that is what mountains actually look like.’ The size and scope of the scenery can only be described as epic and I knew as my foot stepped onto the chilly tarmac this was going to be a great tour. I had never been to New Zealand before and now I have, I want … no, need more!
Michael Lee, 2016 Tour Guest)
A deposit of AUD$900* will secure you a place on this tour. This deposit is refundable if the tour is cancelled by the organiser (we require a minimum of 6 guests to run this tour).
A second payment of AUD$1500* by 30 October 2017. This amount is fully refundable if the tour is cancelled by the organiser.
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] venturephotography.com.au or telephone 0417 604 614.