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Are you ready for an extraordinary photography adventure that will transport you to the untamed landscapes of New Zealand's South Island? Join world-renowned photographer Tom Mackie in April 2024 for a 15-day workshop that will ignite your creativity and leave you with breathtaking images of a lifetime.

Boasting over 9000 miles of coastline, thousands of lakes and only 1.1 million inhabitants, South Island is a photographer's paradise, with ample space and serenity to capture its essence. Tom will personally guide you through a carefully curated itinerary that showcases its most iconic locations at the height of their autumn colours. Imagine standing in awe at the majestic Fox Glacier, witnessing the ethereal beauty of Milford Sound, and marvelling at the enigmatic Moeraki Boulders. You'll even have the exhilarating opportunity to photograph the towering peak of Mount Cook from a helicopter, capturing a perspective few ever experience. With personal and group tuition from Tom, you'll develop your technical and creative skills to make magical images you will treasure forever.


Join Tom in April 2024 for a breathtakingly beautiful, 15-day photography workshop featuring the most iconic landscapes New Zealand's South Island has to offer.

April is autumn in the southern hemisphere, so you'll be here right on time to catch the landscapes in their glorious autumn shades - and benefit from sunrises and sunsets at very civilised times. The weather at this time of year is generally pleasantly warm, sunny and dry, with little wind - perfect for hiking to your photo location.

The itinerary is carefully planned to minimise time on the road and maximise the time available for shooting, with key locations including Fox Glacier, "That Wanaka Tree", Milford Sound, Hokitika Gorge, the Moeraki Boulders, Lake Tekapo, and landscapes made famous in The Lord of the Rings. And with all transport included during the workshop, you can relax and enjoy the incredible landscapes between destinations.

Solar activity is expected to be high in 2024, so this trip is a superb opportunity to capture the aurora australis (Southern Lights). Lake Tekapo and Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park are particularly promising locations, as they are both in New Zealand's only UNESCO International Dark Sky Reserve, with no light pollution to dim the night sky.

With Tom's expert instruction and guidance, you'll refine your technical skills and nurture your creative eye, discover new techniques, experiment with different compositions, and learn how to create images that evoke emotion and tell compelling visual stories. Tom's personalised feedback and group discussions will inspire you to push your boundaries and capture truly magical moments.

This workshop is designed for photographers of all levels, from enthusiastic beginners to seasoned professionals. Whether you're looking to build a strong foundation in landscape photography or refine your existing skills, Tom will tailor his teaching to meet your individual needs and help you achieve your goals.

Spaces for this exclusive workshop are limited, ensuring a personalised and intimate experience. Don't miss this chance to join Tom on an unforgettable journey through South Island's captivating landscapes. Book your spot now and embark on an adventure that will elevate your photography to new heights, leaving you with a portfolio of extraordinary images and memories that will last a lifetime.





  • Country: New Zealand
  • Workshop leader: Tom Mackie
  • Exertion level: Moderate



Tom will use your email address to contact you if spaces for this workshop become available.


Please feel free to include any details you think may help Tom find you a suitable workshop.

Tom will contact you if & when places become available on this workshop.
He may also contact you if he feels there are suitable alternative workshops.



Moeraki Boulders

Littering the sands of Koekohe Beach on the Otago Coast just north of Dunedin, these curiously spherical rocks date back over five million years. Up to 2m (6ft) wide, some grouped companionably together, others sitting in splendid Garbo-esque isolation, and the odd one split open to reveal a hollow heart, they make intriguing focal points for dawn seascapes as the sun rises over the South Pacific.

Milford Sound

Hailed by Rudyard Kipling as the eighth wonder of the world, Milford Sound is truly breathtaking, its dark waters reflecting glacier-carved cliffs and sky-scraping snowy peaks. It's also the only fiord on the island accessible by road, and what a road it is, weaving through the Te Wahipounamu UNESCO World Heritage Site, believed to be the planet's best preserved example of the flora, fauna and geology of the primordial supercontinent Gondwana. Definitely a day that demands a large memory card!

Lake Wakatipu, Glenorchy and Queenstown

In the heart of Lord of the Rings country, Lake Wakatipu stretches its watery fingers some 50 miles through the Southern Alps. With the Remarkables (Middle-Earth's Misty Mountains) and the Hectors looming to its south, the charming hamlet of Glenorchy at its northern end and the adventure resort of Queenstown nestled into an inlet halfway down the lake, it's a landscape photographer's dream. And at this time of the year, there's the added bonus that the beech forests fringing its banks are resplendent in their autumn cloak of gold and red.

Lake Tekapo

Tekapo owes its startling azure hue to rock flour ground by glaciers and suspended in its waters. Located in the sparsely populated Mackenzie Basin in New Zealand's only UNESCO International Dark Sky Reserve, its lack of light pollution makes it an incredible spot for astrophotography - including the southern lights - with the rugged Southern Alps as a silhouetted backdrop.

Lake Wanaka and "That Wanaka Tree"

While Wanaka is a photogenic destination in its own right, in recent years it's become particularly famous for a lonesome willow that seems to float on the water a few metres away from the forested southern shore. Known the world over as That Wanaka Tree, it originally sprouted some 80 years ago from a humble fence post, and its crooked yet strangely graceful form is the perfect foil for autumnal images and sunset silhouettes against the summits of Mt Aspiring National Park. There'll also be an optional predawn helicopter flight to Coromandel Peak to photograph the sunrise over Lake Wanaka (additional charge applies) - what a way to start the day!

Fox Glacier and Mount Cook, with optional helicopter tour

New Zealand's longest glacier carves its way eight majestic miles from the icy west face of Mount Cook - at 3,724m (12,217ft), the country's highest peak - plunging 2,600m (8,530ft) down into temperate rainforests almost at sea level. It's surprisingly accessible on foot for close-ups, but why not enjoy it from the air with an optional unforgettable helicopter tour of the glacier and Mount Cook (additional charge applies).

Lake Matheson

Just north of Fox Glacier, Lake Matheson owes its earthy brown waters to the organic material leaching from the surrounding native forest's floor - creating a magnificent mirror for reflections of Mounts Cook and Tasman. At dawn, with the rising sun kissing the peaks' ice-clad flanks, it's a truly enchanting experience.

Lake Mapourika

A short drive from Franz Josef Glacier, this is the largest of the West Coast lakes and unusually sheltered from wind, making it a superb spot for reflections. Although the name translates from the Maori as "flower of the dawn", it's equally good for sunrise and sunset shoots, with a simple wooden jetty leading the eye into the millpond waters.

Hokitika Gorge

Renowned for its milky turquoise river, the Hokitika Gorge has an almost otherworldly appeal. A picturesque trail leads you through lush rimi and podocarp forests, across two graceful suspension bridges and high into the canopy to a viewing platform that's ideal for panoramas encompassing the gorge's sculpted granite walls and the Southern Alps beyond.

Motukiekie Beach and Punakaiki (Pancake) Rocks

One of the West Coast's most intriguing seascapes, Motukeikie features eerily twisted stacks often shrouded in sea mists, a rocky shelved beach only revealed at low tide and a host of bright orange starfish that obligingly add a pop of colour for foreground detail. A few miles further north, earthquake activity and natural erosion have been the perfect recipe for creating the arresting Punakaiki Rocks, looking for all the world like stacks of pancakes, plus dramatic blowholes sending salty water erupting skywards like saltwater geysers.


What's included?
  • One-to-one and group tuition with Tom
  • 14 nights' accommodation
  • Private rooms (no single supplement)
  • Breakfast
  • Transfers to/from Christchurch Airport
  • Transport during workshop
  • Milford Sound boat trip
  • Helicopter trip to Coromandel Peak

What's not included?
  • Flights
  • Cost of the optional helicopter tour of Mount Cook
  • Travel insurance
  • Lunches, evening meals, snacks and drinks
Suitable for all skill levels, from beginner to semi-pro photographer.

You'll need either a digital camera with a 16GB memory card (and preferably 32GB to give you some margin on a long day's shooting), or a film camera (SLR, medium, large or wide format) - Tom has decades of experience working with all formats.

Additional kit - a tripod, shutter release and polarising filter will help you maximise your shooting opportunities, although they aren't essential.

Average fitness levels are required, as there will be quite a lot of walking, although nothing too strenuous.

April in South Island is characterised by clear, sunny days with little wind or rain, and highs of 16-18C - perfect for hiking to landscape photography locations. After sunset, temperatures fall to around 6-8C, but the skies tend to stay cloud-free, giving us chance to capture the southern hemisphere night sky (and the aurora australis, if we're lucky). Bring clothes you can layer for evening while staying cool during the day, and although a waterproof jacket isn't essential, it's always handy to have, even if it just ends up being used as a protective mat for low-angled shots. Decent walking or hiking boots with hiking socks are a must.

To ensure all participants have quality time for individual tuition, there are just six spaces on this unmissable photography workshop, so book now to avoid disappointment.


If you have any questions about Tom's photography workshops, please check the frequently asked questions page. Alternatively, get in touch with Tom directly and he'll be happy to help you.

Workshops FAQs Contact Tom

Tom Mackie has been a photographer all his working life. His degree in commercial photography took him first of all to Los Angeles, where he spent five years as an industrial and architectural photographer. It was during this period that he travelled widely in the Western States, discovering in himself a previously unknown fervour for the beauty of those vast 'cinemascope' panoramas.

Tom Mackie has been a photographer all his working life. His degree in commercial photography took him first of all to Los Angeles, where he spent five years as an industrial and architectural photographer. It was during this period that he travelled widely in the Western States, discovering in himself a previously unknown fervour for the beauty of those vast 'cinemascope' panoramas.

After that, the confines of a Los Angeles commercial studio were never going to hold him. Tom married his art to this new-found passion and embarked on a 'til death-do-us-part' relationship with landscape photography.


After that, the confines of a Los Angeles commercial studio were never going to hold him. Tom married his art to this new-found passion and embarked on a 'til death-do-us-part' relationship with landscape photography.