New Zealand

South Island Explorer

dETAILS

Exciting News – Richard Tatti (World Renowned Astro Photographer with 76,000 You Tube Followers) will be joining and Co-Hosting this tour. As a result, the tour now has a focus on Astro Nightscape Photography and has been replanned to take advantage of these amazing night locations. This is a rare opportunity to see the best of New Zealand with two of the best Landscape, Seascape and Astro photographer guides around.

On the east coast you’ll have the opportunity of full moon rises over Moeraki Boulders and The Nuggets and later in the week, awesome panorama’s of the horizontal Milky Way arch over Wanaka, Mt Cook and Lake Tekapo. 

This unique and special tour will honestly fill fast so enquire now!

New Zealand
South Island Explorer

14th October - 24th October 2024

Welcome aboard the combined Rare View Photography and Nightscape Images New Zealand South Island Tour. I’ve combined the best daytime and night astro locations into this very unique and rare tour. You’ll be supported with hands on tuition and education from Richard Tatti and myself (Levin Barrett) as we go. 

Departing Christchurch, we head south along the coast to the mysterious Moeraki Boulders and The Nuggets. We then head inland to Te Anau as our base for the stunning Milford Sound before following Lake Wakatipu to Queenstown, Glenorchy and Kinloch. We then head north to Wanaka, Mt Cook (Aoraki) and Lake Tekapo before finishing back in Christchurch. 

Along the way, you’ll do a cruise to the Glow Worm Caves of Te Anau, a scenic cruise around Milford Sound and an optional specially organised scenic ski plane flight around Mt Cook including landing on the glacier for 45 minutes! 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 do  a Lake Tekapo Dark Sky Summit Tour.

That’s 11 Days and 10 Nights of stunning locations, superb accommodation, most meals and countless memories and photos from one of the most stunning locations on earth! 

The cost will include everything except lunch, drinks, airfares and the optional Glacier Flight. It is a small group of up to 10 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. For couples sharing accommodation, contact me directly for an amended price. 

The tour focuses on landscape, seascape, nightscape photography and having a good time. 

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

Departing Christchurch around 9am, we drive south along the coast visiting the Omaru Victorian Precinct and the amazing Steam Punk HQ. After lunch we continue south to the famous Moeraki Boulders. They are one of natures miracles and to photograph them at dusk and 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 it’s into your own bed in your own room for the night.

 

Day 2

Up early to again photograph the nuggets which are best at dawn.  After breakfast we’ll drop into Katiki Point and check out the New Zealand Fur seals. Then it’s south again with lunch at Dunedin before we reach “The Nuggets”, a series of rocky outcrops below Nugget Point Lighthouse. This is the northern end of the Caitlins and is a spectacular coastline. Hopefully we’ll be able to catch the 92% moonrise over the Nuggets about 2 hours before sunset which could make a great image. 

Day 3

Up early to photograph The Nuggets again. This is when the Nuggets are at their best and can be a spectacular sunrise on the right morning.

After breakfast in Balclutha, it’s inland to Te Anau. This is fairly long drive of about 3 yrs but we break it up with a few enroute stops.

There’s a lovely little jetty we can photograph right in Te Anau for sunset but it’s an early night as we have a big day tomorrow.

Day 4

This morning we drive the stunning road to Milford Sound with lots of stops along the way to explore some stunning forests, streams 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’ll then stay and explore the area until sunset and then make our way back to Te Anau. While the road is mostly reliable this time of year, it’s always subject to landslides after heavy rain. If conditions prevent our day to Milford Sound, there is a backup plan to visit some stunning local lakes. 

Day 5

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 breakfast, we head to Queenstown with lots of little stops along the way. We have 2 nights here while we visit the local area.

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. We then go back to Glenorchy for some astro and if the weather holds, I want to take you a stunning little lake for some of the best reflections of the Milkyway in New Zealand. It’s a long day but eventually we go home to Queenstown for a well earned sleep.

Day 7

A bit of a sleep in today before breakfast and a look around at Arrowtown. We then make our way to the famous Cardrona Pub for lunch before leisurely drive to Wanaka.  The afternoon is at your leisure to explore Wanaka. 

The bucket list item of Wanaka is “The Wanaka Tree” which is only 200 meters down from our lakefront hotel. After a sunset shoot there, it’s in to town for dinner and then I have a great place in mind for an awesome Milky Way panorama.

Day 8

Up early for a short stroll to the Wanaka Tree for a dawn shoot.  After breakfast, we hit the road via Lindus Pass, Twizel and Lake Pukaki to our destination of Mt Cook (Aoraki). Our accommodation is at the famous Hermitage Hotel for the next 2 nights. Their breakfast and dinner buffet’s are to die for. 

We’ll do the 30 minute walk to Tasman Lake for a usually amazing sunset shoot. 

Day 9

Up early for the optional amazing Glacier Flight that includes landing on the glacier itself (weather permitting). Because it is just our group only, we get to spend nearly an hour on the glacier and enjoy the serenity and mesmerising photography before continuing our scenic flight back to Mt Cook. The cost of this flight is an additional $550 and requires a minimum of 5 people. This is a truly spectacular and memorable experience and one that I strongly recommend. 

It’s a lazy afternoon to catch your breath and a bit of sleep if you want. In the evening, we head back to Tasman Lake for the sunset. Tonight we have several options for astro that we will decide at the time.

Day 10

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 the morning shoot and breakfast, we depart and follow the western edge of Lake Pukaki to the stunning Lake Tekapo. This afternoon we’ll do the Sunset at the famous Church of the Good Shepherd. After dinner, we head up to Mt John for some star gazing and photos on the Dark Sky Summit Experience Tour to the observatory.

Day 11

A final dawn shoot (maybe, depending on how late last night went), breakfast and then we depart for Christchurch with a stop at Rakaia Gorge for our final shoot on the river. 

 

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). It does not include the optional Mt Cook Glacier flight which is an optional extra. 
  • 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 (2/9/24).
  • 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, Summit Sky Experience, Milford Sound and Te Anau  boat cruises.
  • The Mt Cook scenic flight is optional extra at an additional cost of $550 per person. It requires a minimum of 5 people before the flight can take go ahead. The 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, 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 but 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.

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