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

Tour Intro

Contract Strabo Tours for future tour dates/leaders, or a Group Tour for your photo companions and &/or family. Local guide versed in our photo tours.


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 Queenstown provide wonderful settings for night photography

Tour Itinerary

March 13-14: 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.

March 15: Arthur's Pass National Park

Photo By: Cathy & Gordon Illg

Photo Location: New Zealand

After early morning arrival, we depart Christchurch to Arthur’s Pass National Park, passing across the Canterbury, ending with rugged mountain scenery of the Southern Alps Arthur’s Pass Wilderness Lodge is a breath-taking place where high, often snow-capped, mountains, and mountain beech forest blend with a high country sheep station breeding Merino sheep for the renowned Icebreaker merino clothing.. Overnight ARTHUR’S PASS WILDERNESS LODGE (L, D)

March 16: Arthur's Pass - Punakaiki
Pancake Rocks New Zealand

Photo By: Mike Brown

Photo Location: Pancake Rocks Coast New Zealand

We spend the morning in the lichen and moss festooned beech forest adjacent to the lodge before traveling along the coast, through the Paparoa National park, to Punikaiki. Visiting the famed Pancake Rocks this afternoon, we further explore this wonderful coast with a gentle walk along the Truman Track. Our stay tonight is in a dramatic coastal setting just south of Punakaiki, at PUNAKAIKI ROCKS HOTEL (B, L, D)

March 17-18: Fox Glacier
New Zealand

Photo By: Ron Rosenstock

Photo Location: New Zealand

Ancient forest, bush clad lakes, glistening glaciers, and impetuous rivers make Westland an area of imposing beauty. This morning we will travel down the wild and wet West Coast on avenues framed by the green lushness of rainforest. In the afternoon we will visit the famous Franz Josef and Fox Glacier regions, perhaps with excellent views of Mt. Cook.

If weather permits, you will have photo opportunities at Lake Matheson – with morning reflections of the Southern Alps, or perhaps glacier viewpoints of Fox glacier or Franz Josef Glacier in Westland National Park. WESTHAVEN LODGE (B, L, D both days)

March 19: Lake Wanaka
New Zealand

Photo By: Mike Brown

Photo Location: New Zealand

Early this morning we will make a special journey to the famed Lake Moeraki and a walk to Munroe’s Beach. The landscape undergoes a dramatic change in coastal relief just south of Lake Moeraki, as we cross from the lush rain forests of the vast South-West New Zealand World Heritage Area to the arid tussock landscapes of Central Otago. Mountain lakes and dripping moss-clad beech forest will enthrall all this morning before crossing the Haast Pass, western gateway to Central Otago - a great fragmented schist plateau that now appears as a series of block mountain ranges. A region of climatic extremes, the dry core of New Zealand has much to offer the naturalist and photographer. We will stop along the shores of Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea. With its shimmering, bright blue waters, Lake Wanaka is one of the largest of the southern lakes. Overnight at WYNDHAM RESORT (B, L, D)

March 20: Queenstown

Arriving in Queenstown later this morning, you will have time for exploring on your own. Queenstown lies on the shore of Lake Wakatipu, the second largest of the southern glacial lakes. In the background is the remarkable mountain range. You can stroll through the waterfront area, visit the Government Tourist Gardens, and take a ride on the Skyline Gondola. Overnight KINGSGATE TERRACES HOTEL (B, L) (Lord of the Rings was filmed here)

March 21-22: Te Anau & Milford Sound

After travelling south alongside Lake Wakatipu, 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 we experience the workings of such a station, 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. Lunch will be served in the woolshed before continuing through to the Fiordland World Heritage Area.

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. DISTINCTION LUXMORE, TE ANAU (B, L, D both days)

March 23: Dunedin

Leaving the magnificent fiordland, we will drive across southern New Zealand to the coastal town of Dunedin, taking a break en route in Gore. This afternoon we will have time to explore Dunedin’s historic architecture. Overnight SOUTHERN CROSS HOTEL, DUNEDIN (B, L)

March 24: Dunedin - Twizel

Photo By: Cathy & Gordon Illg

Photo Location: New Zealand

Traveling north from Dunedin we will reach the Waitaki Valley and the Mackenzie Basin. Stopping off at Moeraki this morning to photograph the renowned Moeraki Boulders scattered through the inter-tidal zone on the beach. There may also be time to admire the enjoy the Victorian architecture in the port region of Oamaru, before turning inland and traveling passed the hydro lakes to Twizel. Overnight MACKENZIE COUNTRY INN, TWIZEL (B, L, D)

March 25: Twizel - Christchurch

We leave very early this morning and drive west to Mount Cook National Park, home of New Zealand's tallest peak, reaching over 12,300 feet. We arrive at sunrise and have the day to enjoy and photograph the sheer majesty and grandeur of the place, the alpine vegetation, and the results of 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 have a picnic lunch at the park and use the afternoon for additional hikes and photography. This afternoon we continue our drive back to Christchurch. HOTEL RENDEZVOUS, CHRISTCHURCH (B, L, D)

March 26: Christchurch - Home

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)

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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