2022 - Volcanic North Island Photo Tour - 7 Days
- Duration: 7 Days
- Location: Auckland
Join Ken Wright and Shaun Barnett on this seven-day, round-trip photography tour from Auckland. Take in many of the most magnificent volcanic landscapes of New Zealand, including the World Heritage Tongariro National Park and Mt Taranaki—arguably the country’s most shapely mountain—before looping back around to Auckland.
Taking the time to fully explore these wonders should not be underestimated, as their aura can inspire some amazing photography. Whilst exploring, you shall also view stunning lakes, spectacular waterfalls, mysterious boulders, and pools of bubbling mud, with geysers to boot; an experience one could only have in New Zealand.
- NZ’s four largest volcanoes
- Amazing waterfalls & dramatic coastline
- 4WD trip across private farmland
- Rotorua Geothermal Area
- Tongariro National Park
- Mt Taranaki and Taranaki coastline
DAY 1 - Auckland - Rotorua
After early airport and city hotel pickups, we depart Auckland for Rotorua, passing through the lush, rolling farmland of the Waikato en route. Rotorua marks the edge of the land of volcanoes. A hub for geothermal activity in New Zealand, the city features hot springs, waterfalls, bubbling pools of mud, and impressive hues from acids boiling beneath the earth. It is a land of mysteries; a photographer’s dream.
DAY 2 - Rotorua
Today we explore the Rotorua area, capturing a hidden hot water waterfall that is often missed by many. Later today, we travel further afield—deep into the forest—to experience the Bay’s most majestic waterfall, 65m tall in full flood. This location is simply breathtaking; and if we like, we can go above the cliff line to photograph another hidden fall. After dinner, we will end our day with a long-exposure session at one of the many jetties along Lake Tarawera.
DAY 3 - Rotorua - Tongariro
This morning, we head out to photograph a geothermal reserve close to Rotorua before moving on to Taupo, visiting Huka Falls en route. Although not particularly high, these falls are one of the most voluminous in New Zealand: here, the entire Waikato River (New Zealand’s longest river) plunges over an ignimbrite cliff. After we’ve had our fill of the falls, we journey south, past Lake Taupo. This is both New Zealand’s largest lake and the site of the country’s greatest-ever recorded eruption (186AD): an event noted by both the Chinese and the Romans. We spend the evening photographing the sunset over Mt Ruapehu—at 2797m, this is the highest mountain in the North Island, and the country’s loftiest volcano.
DAY 4 - Tongariro
Active volcanoes Mt Tongariro and Ngauruhoe offer striking subjects for a sunrise shoot; Ngauruhoe, in particular, bears the distinctive “classic” volcano shape. Today, we explore a number of the area’s stunning waterfalls, staying again within Tongariro National park for another chance of a sunset over the mountains.
DAY 5 - Tongariro - Taranaki
We pass through several small towns today, pausing to capture the landscapes of the Rangitikei Gorge en route to Taranaki. Flowing from the Kaimanawa Ranges, this important river carves its way through pale cliffs made of papa, a type of mudstone that creates impressive features. During the afternoon, we take a 4WD trip across private farmland to visit a set of unusual round boulders in a forest. We arrive in Taranaki in time to photograph the sun setting over a dramatic coastline—a scene including volcanoes that have eroded into offshore islands.
DAY 6 - Taranaki
If any New Zealand volcano has the perfect shape, it is Mt Taranaki—which, at 2518m, is the second-highest peak in the North Island. This volcano forms the centrepiece of Egmont National Park, one of the country’s oldest national parks. Wonderfully stunted forest and shapely waterfalls flowing over old lava escarpments offer excellent photography opportunities. This afternoon, we can journey further south—to the North Island’s western-most point at Cape Egmont, well known for its iconic lighthouse—or north, to capture dramatic black sand beaches.
DAY 7 - Taranaki - Auckland
Today we start the return trek toward Auckland. We head back through the Waikato via Raglan, where we shall stop by Bridal Veil Falls—the highest waterfall in the North Island. In the afternoon, we drive back to Auckland to meet with late flights connecting to main centres.
- 7 days’ photography guiding by Ken Wright & Shaun Barnett
- 6 nights’ hotel accommodation (twin-share, single upgrade available) mostly 4✩
- 6 breakfasts
- Entry to Rotorua Geothermal Reserve
- 4WD trip across private farmland
- Transport during the tour
- DOC (National Park) concession fees
- Copy of our Pocket Guide to Landscape & Wildlife Photography
- Donation to our Conservation Fund
- Native tree planting to Carbon Offset your tour