New Zealand Photo Tour: Majestic Icons of South Island New Zealand

Tour Intro

2019 details to be announced.

Nowhere in the world can one find such a land as New Zealand for sheer beauty and scale. Volcanoes, glaciers, high mountains, fiords, tussock lands, and geothermal springs — the country is a treasure trove of natural wonders. Our trip will concentrate on the highlights of the South Island. The South Island has some of the most dramatic scenery in the world, with towering peaks, glaciers, majestic fiords, and pristine lakes. We’ll spend all of our time here, moving about to photograph the diverse landscape and changing colors of its breathtaking beauty.


Tour Highlights

• The dramatic, moody and tempestuous West Coast
• Hike through Mount Cook National Park and enjoy the spectacular views of the expansive glaciers in Hooker Valley
• Capture the spirit of the captivating Moeraki Boulders
• Magnificent Milford Sound in Fiordland National Park
• Photograph a high country sheep station, a part of New Zealand’s economy and culture
• Victorian architecture of Dunedin and Christchurch provide wonderful settings for night photography

Tour Itinerary

December 6-7: U.S. - Christchurch
New Zealand

Photo By: Ron Rosenstock

Photo Location: New Zealand

Leave the U.S. today for New Zealand, flying across the Pacific. A day is lost en route as you cross the International Date Line. Flights need to be booked landing in Christchurch (CHC - South Island), and return from CHC. (meals on plane)
*Note: If you would like to depart earlier to rest and get over jet lag in Christchurch, Strabo will send recommendations in your first packet of pre-departure materials.

December 8: Christchurch

Photo By: Cathy & Gordon Illg

Photo Location: New Zealand

We arrive in Christchurch and have the day to adjust/explore Christchurch a little and rest up. HOTEL RENDEZVOUS, CHRISTCHURCH (D)

December 9-10: Twizel

Photo By: Ron Rosenstock

Photo Location: Hooker River New Zealand

We leave this morning early for Mount Cook, exploring arid landscapes around the lakes before we get there - including Tekapo.  Arrive in time to do afternoon and sunset light on the mountains.

The next day enjoy sunrise photography and have the day to enjoy and photograph the sheer majesty and grandeur of the place, the alpine vegetation, and the results of recent and continuing glaciation with the Mueller and Hooker Glaciers. We will devote the morning to a two-and-a half-hour walk through the moraine of Hooker Valley, with magnificent views of the glaciers. We'll use the afternoon for additional hikes and photography, or for optional scenic flight over Mt Cook. Overnight MACKENZIE COUNTRY INN, TWIZEL (B, L, D; B, D)

December 11: Dunedin

Photo By: Ron Rosenstock

Photo Location: Moeraki Boulders New Zealnd

Optional sunrise shoot this morning followed by breakfast and depart for Dunedin. Once on the coast to the north of Dunedin we visit the famed Moeraki Boulders. Late afternoon arrive in Dunedin. This afternoon we will have time to explore Dunedin’s historic architecture. Overnight SOUTHERN CROSS HOTEL, DUNEDIN (B, L)

December 12: Te Anau

Photo By: Ron Rosenstock

Photo Location: New Zealand

This morning there are further photo opportunities on the spectacular Otago peninsula, or if you prefer the Victorain architecture of historic Dunedin. This afternoon cross the southern South island to Fiordland.  Overnight DISTINCTION LUXMORE, tonight. B,L,D

December 13-14: Milford Sound

At times stunning, at others awesome, and in places, even tranquil, this area encompasses New Zealand’s largest national park. Valleys gouged by glaciers and lakes nestled between range-upon-range of snow-capped mountains characterize the landscape. The next day starts with an early morning excursion on a cruise of Milford Sound, the northernmost fiord in Fiordland National Park, and offers the opportunity to see New Zealand fur seals, Fiordland crested penguins, and bottlenose dolphins, as well as absolutely remarkable scenery with waterfalls, rainforest and towering mountains. Milford Sound is regarded as one of the most beautiful fiords in the world — certainly the most famous. Kipling described it as the eighth wonder of the world. Majestic mountains rise vertically from the water’s edge to over a mile high, while thread-like waterfalls plunge from hidden valleys into the ebony waters below. MILFORD SOUND LODGE (B, L, D both days)

December 15: Lake Wanaka
New Zealand

Photo By: Mike Brown

Photo Location: New Zealand

After travelling east from Fiordland the road follows the upper Mataura Valley. In this valley are located several high country sheep stations, the backbone of the New Zealand wool industry.  This morning experience the workings of such a farm – enjoy watching the mustering, shearing and the renowned sheep-dogs at work. This is no tourist farm, but a family owned and run working farm. We shall also explore by coach the wonderful tussocklands of the upper Nevis Valley at the back of the farm, as we are guided by the farmer.  Late afternoon continue to Wanaka.  Overnight WYNDHAM RESORT (B, L, D)

December 16-17: Fox Glacier
New Zealand

Photo By: Ron Rosenstock

Photo Location: New Zealand

We travel alongside Lakes Hawea and Wanaka and continue up over Haast Pass with stops for waterfalls, forest scenes, and more along the way, arriving in Fox Glacier this afternoon. The next day early morning sunrise photography at Lake Matheson; afternoon options include heli-hiking and Fox Glacier & Franz Josef photography, perhaps with excellent views of Mt. Cook. We'll take a drive up to Okarito Lagoon for sunset photography with mountains reflected in the lagoon (today or tomorrow depending on weather). WESTHAVEN LODGE (B, L, D; B)

December 18-19: Punakaiki
Pancake Rocks New Zealand

Photo By: Mike Brown

Photo Location: Pancake Rocks Coast New Zealand

After breakfast, we head northward, exploring the Whataroa Valley, stopping for lunch along the way, and an afternoon exploration of the Hokitika Gorge before arriving in the afternoon at Punakaiki. Our sunset session will be at the Pancake Rocks area. Another full day to discover your favorite photographic spots on the Paparoa coast – the famed pancake rocks, truman’s track and beach, the wild surf, and the Nikau Palm forests. PUNAKAIKI ROCKS HOTEL (B, L, D both days)

December 20: Christchurch - Home

Photo By:

Photo Location: Mount Cook New Zealand

This morning there will be free time to photograph in Christchurch, departing for the airport in the afternoon (time to be announced). Fly back home today, likely having a connection through Auckland. (B)

Photo Leader

Ron Rosenstock
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Ron Rosenstock

Ron started leading photo tours in 1967. In those years he has led hundreds of tours to many destinations worldwide. Ron has retired from Clark University after teaching photography there for thirty years. He has published three books of his exquisite black and white photographs: The Light of Ireland, Hymn to the Earth, Chiostro (Cloister),and his new color book Journeys. Ron’s work has been featured in over one hundred exhibitions, both in the U.S. and abroad, and his photographs are to be found in the permanent collections of the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University, the Worcester Art Museum in Worcester, Mass., The Polaroid Collection in Cambridge, Mass., and the International Center of Photography in New York City.

Ron is happy to share his vision and insights to all who travel with him. Although he now only photographs with a digital camera, his philosophy of teaching hasn't changed since the early large format film days. He firmly believes that the photograph comes from within, not from without. Meaning you can't buy creativity, however, you have to learn to recognize that creative spirit within. Ron teaches exercises that will help that creative spirit come to the surface. These may consist of: 1) Entry ways to seeing, 2) photographing in the NOW, 3) practical aspects of printing, exhibiting and getting your work out there. During the photo tour he will teach and use a digital projector several evenings. Most people who travel with Ron have a basic understanding of how the camera works, and others who know everything about the camera. He doesn't focus on technical knowledge, rather places the emphasis on a more zen approach. Ron believes it isn't necessary to know all the latest digital technique, but it is necessary to know yourself.

Please feel free to view Ron's website and e-mail regarding any questions.


Why do you LOVE nature photography?   by Ron Rosenstock

Let me use some of the same words, Nature photography is LOVE!  Since the very beginning of our species starting to walk upright, we have been recreating nature in various art forms, from cave paintings to digital photography. Technology has changed, but what is most important, hasn’t. The worlds greatest artists have received their inspiration from nature. We are as much a part of nature as nature is a part of us.  For those of us that take the time to smell the flowers, it’s so much more.  Poets but their feelings into words, painters paint and we photograph.  Each image we make is showing us on a deeper level, who we really are. “Listen, my heart, to the whispering of the world.  That is how it makes love to you”  Tagore.

Icebergs remind of Buddhist sand mandalas. Fleeting moments of incredible inspiration.  As our planet warms, there are more and more tremendous icebergs floating by the coast of Greenland, and on to warmer waters only to become part of the ocean once again.

It was great to travel with Ron, whose work I've long admired, and who knows the area, its people, and is so flexible with the itinerary. Aside from being inspired by his photographs, discussions, and the beautiful and interesting places he led us to, it was a wonderful to meet his local friends and even to be welcomed by some to their homes.

S Skoloff

Pricing and Details

Terms and Conditions

Unless otherwise noted, this information applies to all tours.


Contact Strabo Tours if you would like rates on International Airfare. Please note on your trip application form if you would like us to assist you with your airfare needs, a charge is added for this service. If making your own arrangements, it is important to discuss flight times with Strabo Tours before booking any airline tickets. This will avoid you having to pay airline cancellation penalties. Please contact Strabo Tours for destination airfare estimates, specific flight time arrivals, and departures.

The land cost includes:
  • Group transportation for tour events in the tour van.
  • Accommodations based on two people sharing a room, singles are assigned on a first come, first served basis.
  • Services of driver, English speaking cultural guide (if applicable) and photographic leader, during the tour.
  • Meals as listed in itinerary (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner).
  • Park entrance fees, day tours and excursions as shown in the itinerary.
  • Extensive pre-departure information and services.
The land cost does not include:

Domestic or International air fare; other airfare if noted in exceptions; air fare tax; airport departure tax; airport transfers; additional transfers or accommodations that may be required by those not traveling with the group; excess baggage charges; meals not included in itinerary; activities taken on your own; passport/visa expenses; personal medical or travel insurance; any expenses of a personal nature, such as room service, laundry, beverages not included with meals, medical expenses, photographic equipment, any activities not specified in tour itinerary or listed as optional, or any items not listed in what is included; fuel surcharges; exchange rate surcharges; upon the completion of your trip, modest gratuities to the local guides and the drivers are customary; tips for meals not included in itinerary.

Fitness and Health

The majority of trips are not strenuous (see exceptions below for particular destinations) and anyone who is reasonably fit should be able to take part in most of the activities. You may experience general fatigue due to the long flights and the change in time zones. You will need to be sufficiently agile to climb in and out of the tour van and be able to carry and manage your own equipment. We will frequently hike trails ranging from easy to moderate. Some hotels do not have elevators or air conditioners.

If you have any special needs or any physical condition that you feel might prevent you from fully participating, please contact Strabo Tours with your concerns (607-756-8676).

You should also be aware that medical services or facilities might not be readily available during all or part of your trip. This could include emergency medical care, presence of physicians, or adequate medication.


The following destinations require more physical activity. Bhutan, China, Patagonia, Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, New Zealand, Scotland, Domestic tours. On the African Safari you will spend many hours in a vehicle on game drives, land travel will sometimes be over very bumpy and dusty roads. Galapagos Cruise accommodations are in upper and lower berths (bunk beds) only.

The following destinations require more physical activity. Bhutan, China, Patagonia, Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, New Zealand, Scotland, Domestic tours. On the African Safari you will spend many hours in a vehicle on game drives, land travel will sometimes be over very bumpy and dusty roads. Galapagos Cruise accommodations are in upper and lower berths (bunk beds) only.

Deposits, Cancellations AND Refunds

A deposit of $750 ($500 on domestic tours) per person is required. Specific tours may require an additional deposit due to accommodation bookings or transportation requirements. If applicable these will be noted on your invoice. Payment in full is required when bookings are made less than 120 days before the departure date. Space is subject to cancellation by Strabo if payment is not received when due.

If a passenger wishes to cancel they must send notification in writing to: Strabo International Tour, Co., P.O. Box 580, Dryden, NY 13053; fax 208-545-4119. At the time we receive your notification, the following per person charges apply:

  • 91 days or more before departure: $300 cancellation fee ($150 fee on domestic tours), plus Strabo’ costs, as well as fees that are charged by the suppliers providing the services included in your tour, and/or the airlines providing the air transportation.
  • 61-90 days before departure: $500 ($250 on domestic tours) minimum cancellation fee, plus Strabo’ costs, as well as fees that are charged by the suppliers providing the services included in your tour, and/or the airlines providing the air transportation. Fees may range from 25% to 100% of tour costs.
  • 60 days or less before departure or anytime after departure: NO REFUND.

Refunds for services that are voluntarily not used by you cannot be made.


Each participant must be covered by medical insurance that is valid overseas.

We strongly urge you to evaluate your risk and to take out insurance on your trip. It is vital for you to realize that if you experience a delay or find it necessary to cancel or cut short your trip for any reason, you will lose part or the entire sum you’ve invested in it (see the section “Deposits, Cancellations and Refunds” in the trip brochure).

Travel insurance helps to minimize the risk of monetary losses you would incur in the event of a delay of your departure due to weather, airline strike, missed connection, etc., your inability to travel for reasons such as illness, injury, unforeseen financial complications and other personal circumstances, or if you were required to cut your trip short for medical or any other reasons.

There are restrictions and limitations on any insurance program. For this reason, please read carefully the enclosed pamphlet, which outlines their program of trip cancellation, baggage, and medical insurance. Trained agents are available to answer your questions, so don’t hesitate to call the toll free number in their brochure. It is to your advantage to apply for insurance at the earliest possible time, so don’t delay in making a decision.

Subject to Change

Itineraries have been carefully constructed to assure participants the best each destination has to offer; however, should events arise that are beyond our control, activities and hotel arrangements are subject to change without notice. The itineraries summarize typical areas you will explore. Since there is no possible way to visit all of them, your guides will plan each day considering the interests of the group and the weather at hand. Be assured that we will make substitutions that are as similar in quality and interest as possible.

Photo Release

Strabo International Tour Company, Inc. reserves the right and permission to use photographs of individuals on tour for use in promotional and publicity purposes. We also reserve the right to use clients photographs for promotional and publicity purposes, when submitted to Strabo International Tour Company, Inc.

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