Photo by: Ron Rosenstock
Location: Moeraki Boulders New Zealand South Island
Majestic Icons of South Island New Zealand
Contact Strabo Tours for complete details
- 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
- Photograph a high country working sheep station, a part of New Zealand’s economy and culture
- Magnificent Milford Sound in Fiordland National Park
- Victorian architecture of historical Dunedin and Queenstown provide wonderful settings for night photography
per person, double occupancy*
*U.S. dollars based upon minimum of 6 participants.
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 focus on the South Island of New Zealand. 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 our time here. Our trip has been timed to coincide with New...
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 focus on the South Island of New Zealand. 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 our time here. Our trip has been timed to coincide with New Zealand’s glorious fall time, a period of breathtaking beauty and life.
What to Expect: Trip Focus, Activities, and Accommodations
This trip is designed to show you New Zealand’s natural wonders with the focus on photography. We use local guides in each location, who have a wealth of information to share. Where possible, we favor lodges and smaller hotels and motels located close to natural areas, rather than larger tourist hotels located in shopping or resort areas. Accommodations are not always luxurious, but they are comfortable and clean. Meals consist of hearty buffet-style breakfasts and lunches, and either buffet dinners or set menus, usually with a choice of two or more entrees and desserts.
The trip is not strenuous and anyone who is reasonably fit should be able to take part in most activities. There will be long flights to and from New Zealand with many hours in the air. The change in time zones will add to the general travel fatigue. We will frequently hike trails ranging from easy to moderate. Some hotels do not have elevators.
I can’t say enough about Ron. I’ve been on four Ireland trips and New Zealand last January with him. Iceland is now on my bucket list. He is a master leader who’s perfect at getting us to the best places at the best time with the best photographic guidance. His willingness to share his companionship and knowledge (always with good humor) were immeasurable gifts to all of us. This was one of my most memorable trips ever.
— S. Corbin
April 1-2: Home - Christchurch
Leave home 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 round trip Christchurch (CHC). (meals on plane)
April 3: Arthur's Pass
After early morning arrival, depart Christchurch to Arthur’s Pass National Park, passing across the Canterbury, ending with rugged mountain scenery of the Southern Alps. Your lodge in Arthur’s Pass 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 (L, D)
April 4: Arthur’s Pass - Punakaiki
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, 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, Overnight PUNAKAIKI ROCKS (B, L, D)
April 5-6: Fox Glacier - Milford Sound
Ancient forest, bush clad lakes, glistening glaciers, and impetuous rivers make Westland an area of imposing beauty. This morning travel down the wild and wet West Coast on avenues framed by the green lushness of rainforest. In the afternoon 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. Overnight FOX GLACIER (B, L, D both days)
April 7: Lake Wanaka
Early this morning 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. 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 LAKE WANAKA (B, L, D)
April 8: Queenstown
Arrive in Queenstown late 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 QUEENSTOWN (B, L) (Lord of the Rings was filmed here)
April 9-10: 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. Overnight TE ANAU (B, L, D both days)
April 11: 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 DUNEDIN (B, L)
April 12-13: Twizel
Traveling north from Dunedin you 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 TWIZEL (B, L, D)
April 14: 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. Overnight CHRISTCHURCH (B, L, D)
April 15: 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)