Adam Burton Photography

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  • South Island, New Zealand
  • 03rd - 15th May, 2025

  • £7995pp - Deposit of £2,000.00pp

    • 13 Days Photographic Tuition from two professional tutors

    • Expert guidance from a Kiwi resident and professional photographer

    • 11 Nights Accommodation in 4* hotels - Sole Occupancy

    • Overnight luxury boat cruise on Milford Sound

    • 3 Course dinner while on boat cruise

    • Helicopter ride up to Coromandel Peak to shoot sunrise

    • Boat cruise excursion on Okarito Lagoon

    • Cooked breakfasts

    • Transport between locations during workshop

    • All National Park Passes & Permits

    • Flights to/from New Zealand

    • Meals not specified

    • Insurance (e.g. travel, liability, photographic & personal accident)

  • Moderate

  • 12 nights / 13 days

  • 7

  • NewZealand2025

South Island, New Zealand

Fully Booked
  • 03rd - 15th May, 2025

  • £7995pp - Deposit of £2,000.00pp

I am tremendously excited to be announcing that, in 2025 I will be running a tour to an area close to my heart; New Zealand's South Island.  Known by the resident Maori as Aotearoa or 'the Land of the Long White Cloud', New Zealand has for many years been right up there as one of my favourites, if not my actual favourite destination.  I first visited the islands on a backpacking trip in 1997 and was captivated by the scenery and friendly people.  I've since returned on two more occasions, always to the stunning South Island, and for a long time now have been dreaming of a way of running a tour there.  

This breathtaking landscape is amongst the world's most sought after destinations for outdoor lovers and photographers alike, and for very good reason.  Dramatically different from it's near neighbour Australia, New Zealand's landscapes are at the same time familiar and yet altogether exotic and mysterious.  An island with roughly the same proportions as the UK, and like Britain the country enjoys a temperate climate and comprises mountains and forest, countryside and stunning coastline.  But look closer and you will notice that everything about New Zealand is also completely different!  Long stretches of remote wilderness coastline give way to deep fiords and evergreen rainforest rich with huge tree ferns.  If ever there was a landscape reminiscant of Jurassic Park, this would be it.  

The landscapes of New Zealand are of course spectacular, and offer tremendous variety in a relatively small geographic area.  Throughout this trip we will be photographing snow capped mountains, pristine alpine lakes, rainforest jungles and fast flowing rivers as well as wild, spectacular coastline.  It really is a landscape photographer's dream location, as well as of course being the Middle Earth from Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings movies.  Of particular highlight on this trip will be an overnight cruise on the world famous Milford Sound, where we will be able to shoot stunning mountains, waterfalls and forest directly from the boat, as well as enjoying all the comforts of this beautiful cruise.  A few days afterwards, while we are staying around the gorgeous Wanaka area, an early morning helicopter ride will take us up to the summit of Coromandel Peak to shoot sunrise over the expansive Lake Wanaka below.  An iconic view with zero effort involved, and not too early a start either.  In fact, as we will be visiting New Zealand in late autumn our dawn and dusk trips will be at very respectable hours, with sunrise being around 07:45 and sunset at around 17:30.

In order to offer you the best photographic opportunities this 13 day trip will involve us travelling throughout many of the South Island's most breathtaking areas, and therefore we will be staying at a range of different, quality hotels.  Showing us around, as well as driving our minibus, and providing his expert tuition as a second tutor will be professional photographer and New Zealand resident Neil Protheroe.  Although originally from Britain, Neil has been living in New Zealand for the past 14 years now, and is an experienced guide, running regular tours in and around New Zealand for both local and international photographers alike.  With his local knowledge, as well as his photographic expertise, Neil is a perfect guide for this trip.

To ensure we have the space both on location and while travelling the trip will be limited to a maximum of seven guests.  We will be travelling in a 12 seat high roofed Mercedes Sprinter minibus, ensuring that while on the road we are comfortable and not crowded, leaving you to relax and take in the amazing scenery all around.

In order to whet your appetite on what is truly going to be the trip of a lifetime please have a read through our proposed itinerary below. 

Saturday, 3 May 

We’ll meet at our centrally-located hotel in Christchurch this afternoon for introductions and an overview of our activities for the next 12 days. Before dinner, we’ll head out for our first shoot of the trip: sunset over the Lyttleton estuary, from the Port Hills.

Sunday, 4 May

For our first morning shoot we’ll drive the short distance to the beach at New Brighton, whose modern pier offers many sunrise composition opportunities. After breakfast and check-out, we’ll board our comfortable Mercedes minivan and head inland towards the Mackenzie Basin and the heart of the Southern Alps, with a couple of stops along the way. Our next two nights are in the small town of Twizel, gateway to Aoraki-Mount Cook National Park. Arriving in the afternoon, we’ll stop to photograph the area around Lake Tekapo and then onwards to Lake Pukaki for our first view of the majestic Mount Cook, which we’ll shoot at sunset.

Monday, 5 May

A picture-perfect view of Mount Cook at sunrise from Peter’s Lookout, a short drive from our hotel. After breakfast we’ll explore a little of the area around Twizel and the late autumn colours around Lake Ruataniwha. Later we’ll head to Mount Cook Village and the Hooker Valley track for some spectacular photography: snow-capped peaks, glaciers, a thundering river, swing bridges are all on offer here, along an easy to navigate walking track taking us into the alpine wilderness of the Hooker Valley. Our sunset location is at a ‘secret spot’ in the Tasman Valley for a unique view of the central alps. 

Tuesday, 6 May

An early start this morning to return to the National Park, this time to photograph Tasman Lake and the terminal face of the Tasman Glacier. We’ll return to Twizel for breakfast and check-out.

Our journey continues to the town of Te Anau, gateway to Fiordland National Park and the UNESCO World Heritage Area of South West New Zealand. Along the way we’ll stop at the Clay Cliffs of Omarama and Lindis Pass. We’ll be in Te Anau in time for sunset.

Wednesday, 7 May

We’ll start the day with a sunrise shoot over Lake Te Anau towards Mount Owen and the Murchison mountains. After breakfast we’ll head out for the day, exploring some of the spectacular Fiordland scenery along the Milford Road highway. Among the highlights are Te Anau Downs, a hidden forest waterfall, the enormous Eglinton Valley, Lake Gunn, and the beech forests which line parts of the highway. We’ll return to our hotel for rest in the afternoon, and then shoot sunset at nearby Lake Manapouri. 

Thursday, 8 May

We’ll check out very early this morning, as we’re going to drive all the way to Milford Sound for sunrise from the foreshore. After a picnic breakfast, we’ll spend the rest of the morning shooting the sights and sounds around Milford: the crystal-clear Cleddau River, towering waterfalls cascading down the massive granite rock faces which surround us, lush green beech and rainforests, and more rugged mountain peaks. 

In the afternoon we board the Milford Mariner for an overnight cruise on Milford Sound. As well as offering some unique photographic opportunities within the fiord, this is a chance to truly relax, enjoying a great dinner and cooked breakfast on board, and for the more adventurous, the chance to land ashore, kayak in a tranquil cove, or even swim! We may expect to see some wildlife such as penguins, fur seals and dolphins, but above all, we’ll hope for some really moody mist and cloud deep inside the fiord at each end of the day. 

Friday, 9 May

After disembarking our ship we’ll retrace our steps to Te Anau, stopping at any places we have missed on the way in. From there, our next stop is the lakeside resort town of Wanaka, but on the way we’ll visit one or two spots near Queenstown, including Bennett’s Bluff for a spectacular view across Lake Wakatipu towards Glenorchy and Mount Aspiring National Park. We’ll be in Wanaka for the late afternoon, and a sunset shoot at Glendhu Bay. On a clear evening we’ll see the distinctive peak of Tititea-Mount Aspiring in the background. 

Saturday, 10 May

Sunrise at the famous Wanaka Tree. After breakfast we’ll have an opportunity for some down time before heading out to the remote back country of the Matukituki Valley, with its tree-lined rivers, waterfalls, sheep farms and rugged natural beauty, dominated by the Rob Roy glacier. A taste of real rural New Zealand in pictures.

Sunday, 11 May

This morning we have a treat in store: a helicopter flight to a nearby mountain peak boasting the most spectacular and unforgettable views over Lake Wanaka and Mount Aspiring National Park, and an hour of amazing sunrise photography. 

After breakfast we leave Wanaka for the West Coast, crossing the Alps over Haast Pass. Our drive today will take us alongside Lake Hawea, Lake Wanaka, and then Cameron Flat. Over the Divide we’ll stop at the impressive Thunder Creek Falls and then Pleasant Flat for a dramatic view of the Mount Hooker Icefield, which we’ll photograph from the stony shallows of the Haast River. Later, a short walk among towering kahikatea trees in the Ship Creek rainforest, and an opportunity for some creative photography on the beach at Bruce Bay, with its long stand of ancient rimu trees and ever-changing field of beach driftwood. Our base for the next two nights is Franz Josef Glacier. 

Monday, 12 May

An early start to shoot sunrise at Lake Matheson. Here, a moderate walk from the car park to our viewpoint is rewarded with one of nature’s most beautiful and serene scenes: the dawn illumination of Mount Cook and Mount Tasman, reflecting perfectly in the still waters of the lake in front of us. After a hearty breakfast, we’ll spend some time photographing the area around Fox Glacier, the enormous glacier itself being the centrepiece. In the afternoon we’ll head to the coastal settlement of Okarito, where we will board a small boat for a private and expertly-guided cruise on the lagoon. Birding enthusiasts will see some of the rare species endemic to this area, including the kōtuku, or native white heron. From the lagoon, we’ll enjoy some of the distinctive flora of the West Coast wetlands, and a unique perspective of the Southern Alps as a backdrop. At sunset we’ll photograph the historic Okarito wharf from the beach and across the lagoon.

Tuesday, 13 May

Sunrise at Lake Mapourika, and just afterwards at nearby Lake Wahapo, where we’ll hope to enjoy morning mist among the backlit flaxes and kahikateas. After breakfast and a leisurely check-out, we’ll head north again, calling at the turquoise-blue Hokitika Gorge river on the way to the Great Coast Road and Punakaiki. Our sunset location is Motokiekie, a beach location with sharp rocky sea stacks close to shore. At low tide, colonies of starfish can be spotted on the rocks exposed by the receding water; our visit is timed to enjoy sunset and low tide simultaneously, giving us the best chance of photographing this unusual and colourful phenomenon. 

Wednesday, 14 May

Today we’ll explore the coast around Greymouth, visiting Rapahoe, Coal Creek Falls, Lake Brunner, a rainforest and river scene at the start of the Paparoa track, and finishing the day with a sunset shoot at the Pancake Rocks and Blowholes, an extraordinary pocket of coastal limestone erosion with great views of the West Coast. 

Thursday, 15 May

Our last day, and a journey back across the Alps to Christchurch. This scenic drive takes in the braided Otira and Waimakariri rivers, dramatic mountain views, and another spectacular waterfall at Arthurs Pass. We’ll make as many stops as time permits, including one at Castle Hill, a site of eroded limestone boulders in the Canterbury High Country, and sacred to Māori tribes. 

We aim to be in Christchurch no later than 4pm today and onward travel plans can be made thereafter. 

Accommodation

Being an extensive tour of New Zealand's South Island, we will have a number of hotel bases throughout this trip, the majority of which we will stay for 2 nights each.  Each 4 star hotel has been carefully chosen by Neil due to its  quality and convenience to the locations we will visit during each day.  For our Milford Sound cruise we will be staying overnight on a yacht, where you will have an en suite cabin during your time on board.  For more info on the cruise and vessel please visit this link.

The hotels we intend to stay at are listed below, with links to each so you can get a feel for each:

Distinction Hotel, Christchurch.

Distinction Hotel, Twizel.

Distinction Hotel Luxmore, Te Anau

Distinction Hotel, Wanaka

Scenic Hotel, Franz Josef

Scenic Hotel, Punakaiki

What to Bring

To enable you to get the most out of the workshop please bring the following camera gear:

  • Digital camera, lenses and memory cards
  • Spare batteries 
  • Tripod
  • Filters 

Recommendations

"As you know, I said that I hope to get one photo per day that I regard as "great". Well, on this workshop, I have achieved one photo every location we stopped in. That's 13 "great" shots for me. That's down to your knowledge, experience and guidance at each location. This is one of the best workshops I have attended and that's down to you. Your coaching and support was great. Just watching you create your own images was educational. I will definitely try to attend some of your other workshops."

Mark, Anglesey & Snowdonia Discovery Tour (2023)

"I must confess as someone who is naturally quite shy, I was a little apprehensive about going out for a whole day 1-2-1 with someone I didn't know. Within minutes of meeting up with Adam, he had put me at ease and I was completely relaxed and looking forward to the day ahead. We had a full itinerary of locations near my home, which at the end of the day even when I knew them I was able to look at with a fresh and more critical eye. Having got a drone for Christmas and having only a vague understanding of how to use it, Adam quickly got me up to speed with all the flight and camera controls. We were both surprised at how capable my drone was, and as a result it was not long before I was literally flying it off a cliff across open water to take pictures looking back at the shore. I am now much more confident using my drone and am really looking forward to exploring new and old locations to use it and see things with a completely different perspective. Do not think twice about booking a workshop with Adam, you will not regret it."

John, 1-2-1 Drone Tuition Day

"Just a short note to say how much Helen and I enjoyed meeting you on the Aurora Photographic workshop last week. Your presence on the workshop as principal tutor made the trip a complete success. I was particularly impressed with your willingness to help any of the participants, irrespective of their skill level and equally impressive was your patience. It was great to have shared the Icelandic experience with you and I hope that our paths will cross again. "

Neil, Iceland Aurora Workshop

"Just wanted to say a special thanks for your hard work in organising reorganising to get some workable locations in spite of some very trying conditions."

Simon, Anglesey & Snowdonia Discovery Tour (2023)