New Zealand

South Island Explorer


New Zealand
South Island Explorer

14th October - 24th October 2024

Departing Christchurch, we head south west to Lake Tekapo and Mt Cook (Aoraki) for 2 nights. Then down to Wanaka, Queenstown, Glenorchy and Kinloch. We then head further south to Te Anau and the stunning Milford Sound before turning east to The Nuggets and then north up the east coast to the mysterious Moeraki Boulders and finally finishing back in Christchurch. 

Along the way, you’ll do a specially organised scenic ski plane flight around Mt Cook including landing on the glacier for an hour! This glacier experience is specifically for our group only and scheduled for early morning so we get the best possible light. A few days later we have a scenic cruise around Milford Sound and another cruise to the Glow Worm Caves of Te Anau. 

That’s 11 Days and 10 Nights of stunning locations, superb accommodation, meals and countless memories and photos from one of the most stunning locations on earth! It is also mostly “no moon” nights so a great chance for Astro photography, weather permitting.

The cost will be advised shortly but will include everything except lunch, drinks and airfares. It is a small group of just 4 to 6 in our own comfortable transport. You will have your own separate bedroom every night, breakfast and dinner, National Park passes and fully guided with photographic tuition and education. The tour focuses on landscape, seascape, nightscape photography and having a good time. I will also run my astrophotography and composition workshops early in the tour, so you can take full advantage of this opportunity.

The tour is suitable for intermediate to advanced photographers who want to explore new and unique locations and gain further knowledge and experience with their photography. 

Day 1

Depart Christchurch around 9AM, and drive via Rakaia Gorge to Lake Tekapo for an afternoon and evening at the lake and The Church of the Good Shepherd. We’ll  hopefully do some Astro or I will run a workshop. Then it’s into your own bed in your own room.


Day 2

After a morning shoot at Lake Tekapo, we depart and follow the western edge of Lake Pukaki to the stunning Mt Cook (Aoraki) where we spend the next 2 nights. This afternoon we’ll do the Sunset walk to Lake Tasman followed by a sumptuous dinner and briefing on camera settings for the following days flight. 

Day 3

Up early for our amazing Glacier Flight that includes landing on the glacier itself (weather permitting). Because it is just our group only, we get to spend an hour on the glacier and enjoy the serenity and mesmerising photography before continuing our scenic flight back to Mt Cook. This is a truly spectacular and memorable experience. In the afternoon or evening, we head to Hooker Lake for the sunset and some astro photography.

Day 4

This will be our second opportunity for our ski plane flight if the weather the day before was not suitable. Otherwise, it’s back to Tasman Lake which is better known for it’s sunrise. After breakfast, we hit the road via Twizel, Lake Ruataniwha, Lindus Pass to our destination of Wanaka. We are staying right on the lake edge and only 200m walk from the famous Wanaka Tree. 

Day 5

Dawn shoot at the Tree, breakfast and then we make our way to Queenstown via the famous Cardrona Pub for a coffee and the stunning Arrowtown for lunch and a look around. The afternoon is at your leisure to explore Queenstown but if the weather is suitable, we’ll head to Moke Lake in the evening and hopefully capture a mirror reflection astro sky.

Day 6

Today we head to the quaint little town of Glenorchy, surrounded on either side by breath taking snow covered mountains. After lunch, we head to the little settlement of Kinloch where the Dart River flows into Lake Wakatipu for some spectacular images. This is a stunningly beautiful and remote location and we spend the night in the restored old Kinloch Lodge. 

Day 7

After breakfast, we head back through Queenstown for lunch and then on to Te Anau with lots of little stops along the way. We have 2 nights here while we visit Milford Sound (weather permitting).  


Day 8

After breakfast we drive the stunning road to Milford Sound with lots of stops along the way to explore some stunning forests and lakes. After lunch we embark on our 2 hour cruise. Hopefully we’ll see some local marine wildlife and take a shower under Stirling falls (if you’re game). We will then either stay and explore the area until sunset followed by a sumptuous dinner at Pio Pio OR leave Milford for Te Anau. This depends on the weather and road conditions and what the group wants.

Day 9

We begin today with a short cruise to the Te Anau Glow Worm Caves. This guided tour takes us into the  subterranean darkness past a flowing river and a small boat ride into the grotto of little glowing stars. After our return and lunch, it’s off to  Kaka Point on the east coast.


Day 10

Up early to explore and photograph sunrise over “The Nuggets”, a series of rocky outcrops below Nugget Point Lighthouse. This location can be spectacular on the right morning . This is the northern end of the Caitlins and is a spectacular coastline. After breakfast we head north along the coast to Dunedin for lunch and a look around before continuing to the famous Moeraki Boulders. 

We’ll also drop into Katiki Point and check out the New Zealand Fur seals.

Day 11

The Moeraki Boulders are one of natures miracles and to photograph them at dawn is a seascape photographers dream. This stretch of beach is littered with round boulders like marbles in a sand pit. It is such a unique location. 

After capturing these treasures we head further north visiting the Omaru Victorian Precinct and the amazing Steam Punk HQ. Lunch and a farewell beer and then it is sadly time to head back to Christchurch for the end of our tour.


If you come on board for this tour I will send through a full list of conditions, inclusions, exclusions, etc, but in a nutshell the pertinent ones are –

  • It is a requirement to have travel insurance prior to and for the duration of this tour. This is at your expense.
  • The price DOES NOT include airfares, airport transfers, lunch each day or drinks. (I have found most people prefer a light lunch of their choice as breakfast and dinner are so filling). The tour departs from and finishes at Christchurch New Zealand.
  • A $1000 deposit is required within 2 weeks of confirming. The balance in full is required 6 weeks before departure (4/4/23).
  • If you cancel more than 6 weeks prior to the tour – Full refund
  • If you cancel less than 6 weeks prior to the tour, I will re-advertise the position on the tour and if a replacement is found – full refund. If no replacement is found then NO REFUND is given. If I can rebook accommodation and cancel meals that reduces the overall cost then I will refund what I can, otherwise this is the purpose of the Travel Insurance. Please understand that this is a small group tour and this policy is necessary to give certainty to other group members.
  • If I cancel the tour – Full Refund or we try again later. In circumstances where the cancellation is due to external events outside my reasonable control, refunds will be less any unrecoverable costs.
  • The price does include all accommodation in your own bedroom, Breakfast and Dinner, Car Hire/Fuel, Mt Cook scenic flight, Milford Sound and Te Anau  boat cruises.
  • The Mt Cook scenic flight is weather dependant and if the airline advises that it is not suitable conditions, it may be necessary to cancel the landing on the glacier or the entire flight. I have allowed 2 opportunities for the flight to occur but mother nature will make the ultimate decision. Costs will be refunded if needed.
  • Due to possible road closures into Milford Sound during winter, I may not be able to provide this part of the tour. I will provide other suitable activities to my plan B destinations and will refund the boat cruise costs to you.
  • Due to the nature of landscape photography, a medium level of fitness and mobility are necessary. The vast majority of our short walks are relatively easy but there may be a need for some “boulder hopping” at various locations and if you choose to do one of the longer walks at Mt Cook, they can be challenging. 
  • I will record a confidential list of any relevant medical condition or medications that apply to you in case you need urgent medical attention during the tour. This will allow me to pass on relevant and critical information to medical authorities or practitioners if you are unable. This list will be destroyed at the completion of the tour.
  • Further conditions and information available upon request or booking.


Please complete the following details and an email will be sent to you on how to complete your booking. 

Note: Completing the details below is just an enquiry and if you are happy, will lead to a firm booking later.