New Zealand: Landscape Paradise in Autumn
Join us on our ten day photographic journey through one of the most beautiful places on the planet, New Zealand‘s South Island. You‘ll be expertly guided by Muench Workshops pro Juan Pons and local guide Neil Protheroe. You‘ll photograph warm autumn colors against stunning glaciated mountains, seacoasts, lakes, braided rivers, alpine meadows, lush green rainforests, and waterfalls.
We’ll begin our journey in Queenstown and head directly to the Mackenzie Basin and Aoraki-Mount Cook National Park, in the heart of the Southern Alps. Here we’ll explore and photograph the amazing glacial valleys and their turquoise-blue lakes and rivers, and the towering snow-capped peaks which dominate the landscape. Weather permitting, we’ll have an opportunity to fly helicopters with the doors off. We’ll photograph Mount Cook in early sunrise light, and the amazing braided rivers of the Tasman and Godley Rivers. This flight will blow you away.
From here we head to the World Heritage Area of South Westland, a region which exemplifies New Zealand’s scenic diversity. We’ll have two full days photographing the mountains, glaciers, kettle lakes, rainforests and beaches of the wild and rugged West Coast.
Re-tracing our route back across the Divide at Haast Pass, we spend a further three nights in the picturesque lakeside town of Wanaka. Here, we’ll take a guided 4x4 drive to the remote Nevis Valley, an area rich in gold mining history and offering a high country landscape of river flats, tussock grasslands, huge rock tors and long-abandoned mining settlements. Weather permitting, on our second day we’ll take another early-morning helicopter flight up to Coromandel Peak, from the which the view over Lake Wanaka and towards Mount Aspiring is among the most spectacular in New Zealand. Later in the day we’ll drive into the back country of the Matukituki Valley, where the autumn colors of the willows and poplars lining the river banks contrast with the glaciers and mountain peaks on either side.
No visit to Wanaka is complete without photographing the famous Lone Tree, a compelling subject for landscape photographers, and which we will visit at sunrise. We’ll have some time to see more of the countryside around Wanaka before making the short return drive to Queenstown for some afternoon and sunset shooting, before checking into our hotel and enjoying a farewell dinner.
This workshop is for any level of photographer, and non-photographing significant others are welcome! There are no strenuous hikes or climbs on this workshop, but you should be able to walk a mile comfortably, and carry your photography gear. Our group is small, only 8 photographers maximum. Most workshops by others have 10, 12, or more! Plan on loads of personal instruction and a great time. Of course we are approved by the New Zealand Department of Conservation.
April 20–30, 2020
Itinerary and General Information
Fly to Queenstown (ZQN airport code) arriving not later than April 20, 2020. To stave off jet lag and travel snafus, we strongly suggest arriving a day or two early, and spending some time in Auckland or Queenstown or both. Contact us for lodging recommendations!
April 20, 2020: 3.00 PM Guests already staying in Queenstown can be picked up at their hotel between 2:00 PM and 2:30 PM by arrangement. We’ll then drive straight to Twizel, and check into our hotel for a meet and greet followed by our first sunset shoot, and dinner at a local restaurant.
April 21, 2020: We have reserved helicopters for an unforgettable doors-off flight at sunrise on one of the three mornings we're in Twizel. Based on the day’s weather, we'll take off at sun-up and fly through the Tasman Valley, past Mount Sefton and onwards for a dramatic close-up view of the summit of Mount Cook in the dawn light. We’ll then look down over the braided Tasman and Godley rivers, photographing them from this unique perspective. After breakfast we’ll spend some time shooting around Lake Pukaki and Twizel before heading out in the afternoon to photograph in the Hooker Valley until sunset, followed by dinner at Mount Cook Village.
April 22, 2020: Sunrise at Peter’s Lookout for a picture-perfect view of Aoraki-Mount Cook at the head of Lake Pukaki. After breakfast, we’ll take some time out for an interactive image review session discussing composition and post processing techniques. In the afternoon we’ll head out to nearby Lakes Alexandrina and Tekapo. This area is the world’s largest dark sky reserve and offers spectacular opportunities for photographing the milky way on clear nights.
April 23, 2020: Sunrise, breakfast and check-out. Today is a leisurely travel day as we drive to Fox Glacier on the West Coast. We will stop at several places to photograph along the way to break the journey. We’ll check into our hotel and take a casual dinner within walking distance.
April 24, 2020: Early morning walk to Lake Matheson, where the fog lingers just below the towering mountains above, reflected in a mirrored lake. After a great breakfast, we’ll spend some time photographing Fox Glacier and Mount Tasman from the roadside in the morning light. In the afternoon, we’ll stop at the Cook and Karangarua rivers and finish the day with a sunset shoot along the beach at Bruce Bay. Dinner in Fox Glacier.
April 25, 2020: Sunrise shoot at Lake Mapourika, and then breakfast in the town of Franz Josef Glacier. We’ll photograph the kahikatea trees on the shore of Lake Wahapo, Franz Josef Glacier itself and some waterfalls. In the afternoon we’ll head to the coastal village of Okarito, for sunset.
April 26, 2020: After breakfast we’ll re-trace our route to cross the Alpine Divide at Haast Pass and continue to Wanaka, stopping at several easily-accessed locations along the way, including a rain forest and a towering waterfall. Arriving in Wanaka in the afternoon, we’ll photograph the fall foliage around the Clutha River until sunset, before checking into our hotel for the next three nights. Dinner will be at our favourite local restaurant.
April 27, 2020: Today will be an early start to meet our guides who will take us on an all-day adventure into the Nevis Valley, a back country wilderness with a rich history of Central Otago’s old gold mining industry. We’ll spend the morning photographing the rocky valleys, tussock grasslands, rivers and abandoned buildings of the Nevis before heading back down to the colourful vineyards and fruit orchards of Bannockburn and Cromwell in the afternoon. We’ll finish the day with a sunset shoot over Lake Wanaka and dinner at another great local restaurant.
April 28, 2020: An early morning helicopter ride up to Coromandel Peak, where we will enjoy exclusive access to photograph one of the country’s most spectacular views, over Lake Wanaka and Mount Aspiring. We’ll then return to the hotel for our second image review and post-processing session, before heading out again in the early afternoon to the Matukituki Valley. Here we’ll find colorful willow and poplar trees lining the river banks, set against a backdrop of mountain glaciers and tumbling waterfalls. We’ll be photographing at three locations, returning to Wanaka at sunset and then a casual dinner in town.
April 29, 2020: An early morning to take advantage of the great light at the famous Lone Tree in Roy‘s Bay at Lake Wanaka. After breakfast, we’ll check out of our hotel and drive the short distance to Queenstown via the Crown Range. We’ll spend the afternoon photographing from the shores of Lake Wakatipu, before returning to town for a farewell dinner.
April 30, 2020: Our final sunrise shoot at nearby Moke Lake will be followed by breakfast and checkout. Book your departing flights for no earlier than 12:00 PM April 30, 2020.
What to Bring and How to Prepare for Your Workshop
Please see our How To Prepare For Your Workshop page now for guidelines on workshop prep, gear, and packing. Approximately 90 days before your workshop, you will be sent a PDF with more specific instructions.
Double occupancy lodging (single available, just ask)
All meals during the workshop
All transportation within New Zealand
All helicopter charters
Photographic guiding and instruction from two pros
Image reviews, post-processing instruction
Fun, inspiration and a great time!
What’s Not Included?
Transportation to and from Queenstown, New Zealand. Visa and passport fees. Medical Evacuation Insurance (required). Travel Medical and Trip Cancellation Insurance (optional, but recommended). Alcoholic beverages. Items of a personal nature. Anything not specifically mentioned in “what's included”, above.
Your deposit of $4,000 will hold your place on this workshop. Further payment of $3,000 is due by November 1, 2019, and the balance of $3,495 will be due not later than January 1, 2020. All of our standard terms and conditions apply. Need special payment arrangements for your deposit? No problem, just ask us.