Slip into an enchanting world of epic scenery and extraordinary wildlife. New Zealand is a place of enthralling beauty. From magnificent coastal cliffs and headlands, to long sweeping beaches, extensive temperate rain forests, stunning waterfalls, forest fringed lakes and spectacular fjords, Aotearoa welcomes the photographer in you. This adventure is filled with amazing visual cues waiting around every corner.

Dates: 08-19 December 2017
Tour leader: Karim Sahai
Price: 3900 € (twin share)
Single supplement: 600 €
Deposit: 700 €
Group size: 10 max
Arrive: Dunedin, New Zealand
Depart: Queenstown, New Zealand
Accommodation: hotel, motel, back-country lodge
Meals: breakfast & dinner
Photography level: all levels

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New Zealand is a showcase of untouched natural splendor

With geography spanning white to black sand beaches, mountains, thermal mud pools and geysers, plains, forests, rivers and lakes, and volcanic plateaux, New Zealand’s scenery leaves nothing to the imagination. More than 30% of the land has been set aside in national parks, reserves and special heritage sites to preserve the country’s ecological heritage. New Zealand has 13 national parks featuring relatively untouched landscape, that are home to ancient forests and landforms, rare birds, and creatures that have survived since prehistoric times.

Stare in wonder at the towering peaks of Milford Sound as they seem to scrape the very sky. Then, marvel at the sheer cliff faces of the Otago Peninsula, where an abundance of world famous wildlife call home. Grab some action shots of Hector’s dolphins frolicking among the waves. Visit the remarkable gem that is the bird sanctuary of Ulva Island. Finally, let yourself be captivated by the sweeping cliffs of Rakiura and the spectacular natural splendor of the Catlins.

Accompany us on a journey of discovery.

New_zealand_wild_south_itinerary

Day 1 Airport Rendezvous – Otago Peninsula – Sandfly Bay. We will rendezvous at Dunedin airport. After getting to know each other, we’ll start our journey at the Otago Peninsula, the wildlife capital of New Zealand. This is home to the world’s only mainland colony of Northern Royal albatross, Hooker’s sea lions and Little Blue penguins.

This 3 hour hike along the Sandfly Bay coastal trail offers a bird-watchers’ hide, from where you can be witness to the fascinating Hoiho (Yellow-Eyed penguins) as they emerge from the sea with the sun setting in the background. Dinner will be provided for at our lodgings.

Day 2 Lanarch Castle – The Catlins. We’ll wake with the sun to enjoy a a sunrise walk past seascapes landscapes. Breakfast will be held at Lanarch Castle, which will afford you wonderful panoramic views of the Otago Peninsula and the Pacific Ocean. Here, you may experience the storied past of New Zealand’s only castle.

A two hour drive along the Southern Scenic Route will take us to the Catlins. Prepare yourself for rugged coastlines, rocky bays, wild sea-scapes, hidden lakes and stunning waterfalls. The Catlins is home to a variety of sea birds. You may spot the forest-dwelling tui, bellbird, native parakeets and even the rare mohua or yellowhead. 

Enjoy a short hike through the Catlins. Here, you’ll get a chance to see the 20 meter drop of the Purakaunui waterfall, watch waves compressed through an underground tunnel explode out of Jack’s Blowhole, walk through a 160 million year old petrified forest and delight in the amazing views at the Nugget Point Lighthouse. We will overnight at Surat Bay Lodge.

Day 3 Surat Bay – Stewart Island – Bragg’s Bay Beach. Another sunrise walk along Surat Bay will provide you with excellent opportunities to try your hand at landscape photography. This is a haven for sea lions, seals and native birds, all of which can be viewed in their natural environment.

Following the hike, we’ll embark on an afternoon drive through the Southern Scenic Highway. Then, we will board a ferry that will take us across the Forveaux Strait to Stewart Island. With it’s network of stunning bays, golden beaches and densely forested hills, this island known as Rakiura – The Isle of Glowing Skies-  has become a popular eco-tourist destination. Dinner will be had at the Southern Sea Hotel and we’ll spend the night at the Rakiura Retreat.

Day 4 Mason’s Bay – Ulva Island. After breakfast, we will head out to Mason’s Bay, a sweeping 19 kilometer crescent of sandy beach that has to be seen to be believed. Mason Bay’s  is home to the highest population of kiwi in the world. And with some luck, you’ll be able to capture these shy nocturnal birds in their natural environment.

From here, we’ll take a boat ride to the predator free bird sanctuary of Ulva Island. An inimitable experience, here you will be greeted by the ethereal birdsong of its’s native population of birds. Hark to the call of the tui and bellbirds, and delight in the inquisitive weka and unique Stewart Island robins. We’ll enjoy dinner together at our retreat here and overnight.

Day 5  Stewart Island – Bluff Hill. We’ll be up at dawn to experience the morning light on Stewart Island. Then, it’s breakfast at the Rakiura retreat before taking the ferry back to the Bluff on the South Island mainland. At the top of Bluff Hill, panoramic opportunities will be yours for the taking. Then, it’s off to our briefing on the Hump Ridge Track hike we’ll be taking tomorrow morning. We’ll spend the night at Last Light Lodge.

Day 6 Hump Ridge Track. Today is day one of our three day hike along the Hump Ridge Track. This expedition winds  55km across some of NZ’s wildest land. We’ll travel along the south coast, up to the sub-alpine zone, and over historic viaducts in the heart of native forest. Be prepared to experience stunning beach, forest and mountain views.

The highlight of the hike are the soaring limestone towers and panoramic views of south-west Fiordland, the Southern Ocean, and Stewart Island. Hector’s dolphin – one of the smallest cetaceans and found only in New Zealand – can often be seen from the beach at Port Craig. Dinner and overnight will be had at Okaka Lodge.

Day 7 Hump Ridge Track. On our second day, we’ll descend to Te Wae bay to enjoy stunning views of  the South Coast, Waitutu terraces and the mountains of Fiordland. We’ll cross three mighty wooden viaducts on our way to Port Craig Village, all framed against a magnificent coastal backdrop. Dinner and an overnight stay will be had at Port Craig Lodge.

Day 8 Hump Ridge Track – Lake Te Anau. Breakfast will be served at Port Craig Lodge before starting off on our third and final day on the  Hump Ridge Track. On today’s hike, we will meander through native bush canopy and walk along beautiful golden beaches. Once we’ve looped back to the beginning of the trail, we’ll drive on to Te Anau.

This township lies on the eastern shore of Lake Te Anau. Sprawled at the feet of high rugged mountains, two of New Zealand’s great walks start here: the world renowned Milford Track and the popular Kepler Track. Accommodations will be head at the Bella Vista Motel.

Day 9 Milford Sound. We’ll spend the day at Milford Sound, a fjord carved out by glaciers during the ice ages. You’ll be surrounded by towering cliffs and peaks, view waterfalls cascade into the fiord and luxuriant rain forest clings to sheer rock faces. Prepare to be overwrought by the iconic Mitre Peak, a stunning series of cliffs that rise more than a kilometer out of the dark waters. We’ll spend another night at the Bella Vista Motel.

Day 10 Lake Wakatipu – Queenstown. Today, we’ll drive towards the shores of Lake Wakatipu. The surrounding mountains provide a dramatic backdrop to the crystal waters. Get ready to drink in the magnificent alpine scenery as  we take a trip out on the water aboard the refurbished vintage steamship the TSS Earnslaw.

The cruise ends at Queenstown, where you’ll have the afternoon off to explore the region’s many attractions. Enjoy a winery tour, go bungee jumping, jet boating, white water rafting or maybe even take in a spa treatment. Accommodations will be had at the Kawarau Hotel.

Day 11 Queenstown – Arrowtown. Our final day in New Zealand will be spent amidst driving and hiking through the spectacular landscapes surrounding Queenstown. Then, we’ll tour the vibrant history of the gold-mining town of Arrowtown. We’ll spend our final night at the Kawarau Hotel.

Day 12 Queenstown International Airport. We will transport you to the Queenstown International Airport for you to catch your outbound flights.

Larnach Castle Stables, Dunedin

The historic Stables are a 140 year old Category 1 listed historic building situated in the grounds of Larnach Castle, beside Larnach Lodge. The lower part of the Stables includes the breakfast area, guest lounge, laundry, internet site, and a display highlighting the original Stable horse stalls. The upper part of the Stables includes six guest rooms.

  • double-rooms
  • shared bathrooms
  • internet

Larnach

 

Surat Bay Lodge, The Catlins

This friendly hostel is situated in New Haven on the edge of the Catlins Estuary, right next to beautiful Surat Bay, home to many native New Zealand Sea Lions. 

  • double-rooms
  • shared bathrooms
  • wifi

 Surat_bay

 

Rakiura Retreat, Stewart Island

Rakiura Retreat is ideally located for our nature photography activities planned on Stewart Island. The motel is close to native bush, native birds and the beach.

  • double-rooms
  • shared bathrooms
  • wifi

Rakiura_retreat

 

Last Light Lodge, Fiordland

Tucked away in the most south westerly corner of New Zealand, with nothing but coastline to the south and Fiordland to the west, Last Light Lodge is the last place to see the light of the day in New Zealand.

  • double-rooms
  • shared bathrooms
  • wifi
  • cafe & restaurant

last_light

Okaka Lodge, Hump Ridge Track

Okaka Lodge is located just below the summit ridge of the Hump Ridge and is only accessible on foot or by helicopter. At 890m, its elevation commands extensive views eastward across Te Waewae Bay the Waiau Valley and the Takitimus mountains. From here, you will experience of the most spectacular sunrise in New Zealand.

  • 8-bed bunk-rooms
  • shared bathrooms

Okaka_lodge

 

Bella Vista Motel, Te Anau

Te Anau is nestled on the outskirts of Fiordland National Park, one of the largest in the world, and a World Heritage area. Some of the wildest and dramatic scenery can be found right here. Located at a quiet location near the entrance of Fiordland National Park, Bella Vista Motel is a modern accommodation with easy access to the town center and the picturesque lakefront.

  • double-room
  • private bathroom & shower
  • wifi
  • tv

bella_vista

Kawarau Hotel, Queenstown

Set on New Zealand’s South Island, by the tranquil shores of magnificent Lake Wakatipu, the superbly located Karawau Hotel is a fifteen minute car or bus ride from the centre of Queenstown, and only 8 minutes by water taxi.

  • double-rooms
  • private bathroom & shower
  • wifi
  • tv

kawarau

Pricing & Dates

Dates: 08-19 December 2017
Masterclass leader: Karim Sahai
Price: 3900 € (twin share)
Single supplement: 600 €
Deposit: 700 €
Group size: 10 max
Arrive: Dunedin, New Zealand
Depart: Queenstown, New Zealand
Lodging: hotel, motel, back-country lodge
Meals: breakfast & dinner
Photography level: all levels

Group size

For the comfort and enjoyment of this unique photography-focused adventure, the group is limited to a maximum of 12 travelers.

 

Included

  • 9 nights in
  • 2 nights in 8-bed bunkrooms
  • 7 x breakfasts
  • 4 x lunches
  • 4 x dinners
  • 2x airport transfers
  • dedicated vehicle & driver
  • ferry to/from Stewart Island
  • 3-day Humpridge Track passes.
  • boat cruise on Milford Sound
  • boat cruise on Lake Wakatipu
  • local logistical assistance

Not included

  • travel to and from start and end points of the tour
  • alcoholic beverages
  • gratuities
  • phone calls
  • gifts
  • airline baggage fees
  • airport and departure taxes
  • travel insurance

 

Recommended photography equipment

To make the most of your Greenland Photography Adventure, we highly recommend that you bring:

1 or 2 digital camera bodies, preferably digital SLRs or mirrorless
camera charger & several camera batteries (at least 2)
wide angle lens or zoom (24 mm or wider)
medium range lens or zoom (24 to 85 mm)
telephoto lens or zoom (ideally, longer than 100 mm)
mechanical or electronic shutter release
variable neutral density filter
sturdy tripod with adjustable head
several memory cards
memory card reader
laptop with photo editing software
portable hard drive(s) for backup
 (HyperDrive ColorSpace or equivalent)

Notes

Because both of day 4’s Stewart Island scenic flight/hike/boat options are weather and tide dependent, the cost of these excursions is excluded from the overall trip price. Participants can pay Stewart Island Flights directly once the excursion is confirmed. The exact price per person depends on how many people book together. As a guideline you can expect to pay 225-275 NZD/140-175 EUR. www.stewartislandflights.com

For those choosing not to book either of the flight/hike/boat options, or in the event these excursions are cancelled due to weather or sea conditions, there are many other guided and unguided options available from Stewart Island. See: www.stewartisland.co.nz

The three-day Hump Ridge Track hike (days 6, 7, 8) includes two nights’ back-country lodge accommodation in 8-bed bunkrooms, with pillows and pillow-slips, but no sleeping bags or bedding. The lodges offer shared bathrooms; hot showers; flush toilets, solar lighting, and all cooking and dining equipment and facilities. Refreshments, snacks, beer and wine are available for purchase at both lodges.

The following are options you may wish to add to your Hump Ridge Track:

  • upgrade to private twin/double rooms at the lodges (with linen & bedding included): 100 NZD/65 EUR per room per night (maximum of 2 people per room)
  • helicopter transport for your backpack and camera equipment: 80 NZD/50 EUR per day, per backpack (maximum: 15kg/33lbs) – recommended for at least the first day, which is almost all uphill
  • helicopter transport for you (non-hiking option): 200 NZD/130 EUR per day
  • sleeping-bag & liner hire: 10 NZD/7 EUR per night

 

Adventure highlights

  • Stare in wonder at the towering peaks of Milford Sound as they seem to scrape the very sky
  • Marvel at the sheer cliff faces of the Otago Peninsula
  • Grab some action shots of Hector’s dolphins frolicking among the waves
  • Visit the remarkable gem that is the bird sanctuary of Ulva Island
  • Let yourself be captivated by the sweeping cliffs of Rakiura and the spectacular natural splendor of the Catlins