7-Day South Island Photography Tour from Queenstown to Nelson

Multi-day & Extended Tours, Queenstown to Chrichchurch airport or local hotel drop off

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Tour description provided by Viator

Join top New Zealand photographers Richard Young and Shaun Barnett on this exceptional 7-day photography tour of the South Island’s wild West Coast. Timed at the end of winter, when the light is crisp and low, the West Coast Photography Tour offers excellent opportunities to capture the wild beaches of the area, its forests and waterfalls, as well as views of the snow-covered Southern Alps.The South Island’s West Coast boasts more forests, mountains and protected lands than any other region of New Zealand. Here, wild and remote coastlines are flanked by primeval rainforests, with the high peaks and glaciers of the Southern Alps rising beyond.Highlights include amazing coastal sunsets, Lake Masterson sunrise, jet boat into the Waitangiroto Reserve and the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage area.
Day 1 – Wanaka / QueenstownThis morning we drive to Queenstown then onto Glenorchy, capturing en route the beauty of tranquil Lake Wakatipu with its surrounding snow-capped mountains. The day finishes by photographing sunset over the lake Wakatipu.Day 2 - Queenstown / HaastToday we drive over the Crown Range then climb up to Haast Pass, the gateway to the West Coast, where we stay overnight. Along the way we photograph a number of extraordinary waterfalls, including a beautiful 30-metre cascade in stately beech forest. Tonight we capture our first West Coast sunset.Day 3 - Haast / Fox GlacierWe travel along the West Coast exploring some of the magnificent rainforest of the Te Wahipounamu, a UNESCO World Heritage area, before heading to Fox Glacier. At sunset, we visit a remote West Coast beach which offers panoramic views of the snow-covered peaks of the Southern Alps.Day 4 - Fox GlacierThis morning we photograph sunrise at Lake Matheson, capturing the often-perfect reflections of Aoraki/Mt Cook and Mt Tasman - New Zealand’s highest mountains. If the weather is right you will have the option (at additional cost) to take a helicopter flight onto the vast upper neve of the Fox Glacier for some unparalleled photo opportunities. Sunset tonight will see us heading out to Okarito Lagoon offering panoramic views of the Southern Alps, rising beyond a vast extent of rainforest.Day 5 - Fox Glacier / PunakaikiThis morning we drive up the coast to Whataroa, stopping here for a jet boat trip up the Whataroa river, the only way to access the Waitangiroto Nature Reserve. Here we will photograph the country's only nesting site for the beautiful White Herons (Kotuku) along with the Royal Spoonbill. After this we drive further up the West Coast, with several stops en route, including the turquoise waters of the Hokitika Gorge. We reach Punakaiki and its famous Punakaiki rock formations in time for sunset photography.Day 6 - PunakaikiThis morning we explore the exquisite limestone and river landscapes of Paparoa National Park. We will spend the rest of the day exploring the exceptional coastline in this area, sunset will see us heading out onto stunning beaches to capture the last light hitting the coastline and huge breaking waves.Day 7 - Punakaiki / NelsonToday we will head away from the West Coast, following the Buller River to its source at the first of the two National Parks we visit today, Nelson Lakes to photograph the beautiful lake and mountain backdrops. We then head to Kahurangi, to walk out of a short track to capture beautiful beech-forested valleys of one of New Zealand’s largest untouched wildernesses. We then arrive at the top of the South Island in the city of Nelson to connect with late afternoon flights.

What’s included

  • Tuition by two professional photographers; Richard Young and Shaun Barnett
  • 6 nights hotel accommodation (in a twin room with another person from the workshop. If you wish, there is the option to upgrade to a private hotel room at extra cost)
  • 6 breakfasts
  • Jet boat ride up the Whataroa river
  • Transport for 7 days during the tour
  • Printed notes covering special techniques, settings and tips
  • Department of Conservation National Park concession fees
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off (selected hotels only)

What’s not included

  • Optional glacier flight
  • Dinners
  • Lunches
  • Alcoholic drinks (available to purchase)
  • Gratuities


  • Led by a professional photographer
  • Led by a local guide
  • Multi-Day Trip
  • Small group ensures personal service