Milford Guide - Tours

Tours

Harrison Inlet from Milford Sound Foreshore, New Zealand
Tourist and caps hanging on a tree, Milford Sound, New Zealand
The Lion and The Elephant, Milford Sound, New Zealand
Tourist at Stirling Falls, Milford Sound, New Zealand
Tourists on a small boat, Milford Sound, New Zealand
Ferns, Lake Marian Track, Hollyford Road, Fiordland, New Zealand
The Eglington Valley Lookouts, Milford Road, Fiordland, New Zealand
Key Summit as the sun sets, Fiordland, New Zealand
Eglington river in unseasonal December snow, Fiordland, New Zealand
Mirror Lakes, Milford Road, Fiordland, New Zealand
Kea at Monkey Creek, Milford Road, Fiordland, New Zealand
Boats at Freshwater Basin, Milford Sound, Fiordland, New Zealand
Moody light on Milford Sound, Fiordland, New Zealand

Piopiotahi Milford Sound

  • Milford Sound is a big day wherever you start from, if you travel by bus you do a lot of sitting and you have no flexibility, if you drive you also miss out on local knowledge and you have to drive! I aim to bridge the gap between bus and car. People often speed past all the best spots completely oblivious to their value.
  • For a photo focus I like to leave at 1:30 pm or earlier depending on the weather, season and pace.
  • There should be time to explore photo opportunities along the way, perhaps stopping at Te Anau Downs for an historic hut, Boyd Creek, Lake Gunn, some places that may not be obvious.
  • Cruise on a small boat with Mitre Peak from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm. An earlier cruise may be advisable as the season progresses and once daylight saving ends. Milford Sound is very busy in the middle of the day and nearly deserted in the early morning and evening. The light may be best in the evening except in summer when the early mornings can be good too.
  • Walk through the forest and alpine terrain 1 to 1 ½ hours from the Divide to Key Summit for sunset/evening light. Walk down 1 hour and return to Te Anau late in the evening with as many photo stops as required on the way.
  • Some average level of fitness is required and the walk to Key Summit may not be for everyone, in which case we have some less demanding options with perhaps more diverse photo opportunities. Key Summit may not be advisable in all seasons or bad weather. We can also walk the alpine Gertrude Valley, and multiple other shorter walks.
  • Consider downloading my Milford Guide App to help your planning, available from the App Store and Google Play.
  • I carry spring water, tea and coffee, some snacks and fruit.
  • Maximum group size is 5.
  • Pickup is from your accommodation in Te Anau or surrounds.
  • Price is NZD 159 per person.
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Bald Hill and tussock grass from Lake Manawapopore, Mavora lakes, New Zealand
Lake Manawapopore, Mavora lakes, New Zealand
Winter on Lake Manawapopore, Mavora lakes, New Zealand
Sunset, Lake Manawapopore, Mavora Lakes, New Zealand
Bald Hill reflected on Lake Manawapopore, Mavora lakes, New Zealand
Bald Hill and Lake Manawapopore, Mavora lakes, New Zealand
Lake Hikurangi, Mavora Lakes, New Zealand
Swimmers, Lake Hikurangi, Mavora Lakes, New Zealand
Forest light, Mavora Lakes, New Zealand
Long Shadows, Mavora Lakes Road, Southland, New Zealand
Forest light, Kiwi Burn Track, Mavora Lakes, New Zealand
Upper Oreti, Mavora Lakes, New Zealand
Photographers at dusk, Mavora Lakes Road, Southland, New Zealand

Mavora Lakes

  • Mavora Lakes are a hidden gem, they have a beauty that is all their own. I love taking people to Mavora most of all. This is a good time of year to visit, with calm weather. They are equally good in clear and cloudy weather.
  • I think that leaving Te Anau at 1:30 pm usually gives the best light.
  • Stop at the Kiwi Burn for a short photo wander in the forest. The dappled forest light is enchanting. We cross an interesting and potentially vertiginous swing-bridge across the Mararoa River.
  • Take a peek at the Remarkables and the Upper Oreti.
  • Walk along the South Lake, Manawapopore, or down the Mararoa River. It is possible to walk up to 13 km but we generally do much less. Likely we will spend time observing the friendly Fantails, Robins and Riflemen, Black Swan, etc.
  • 7:30 pm the light is looking interesting and we visit the North Lake, Hikurangi, turn around, retracing our path home with many, many stops in the fading light.
  • Return to Te Anau around 9 pm
  • I carry spring water, tea and coffee, some snacks and fruit.
  • Maximum group size is 5.
  • Pickup is from your accommodation in Te Anau or surrounds.
  • Price is NZD 129 per person.
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Te Waewae Bay, Southland, New Zealand
Gemstone Beach, Southland Coast, New Zealand
Gemstone Beach, Southland Coast, New Zealand
View from Monkey Island to Orepuki, Southland Coast, New Zealand
View from Monkey Island to Orepuki, Southland Coast, New Zealand
Ferns in the forest, Lake Hauroko, New Zealand
Jetty in the rain, Lake Hauroko, New Zealand
View East from McCracken's Rest, Southland Coast, New Zealand
Sign at McCracken's Rest, Southland Coast, New Zealand
Sun rays over Te Waewae Bay from McCracken's Rest, Southland Coast, New Zealand
Photographers at Gemstone Beach, Southland Coast, New Zealand
Cosy Nook, late evening, Southland, New Zealand
Cosy Nook, Southland, New Zealand

Coastal Southland

  • There is a lot to see and explore. An 8:30 am departure makes most sense.
  • We go to Lake Hauroko and walk a short and easy forest loop.
  • We can walk on the South Coast Track, Te WaeWae Bay, Blue Cliffs, picturesque cribs around the Waiau River Mouth, Tuatapere, Gemstone Beach, Orepuki, Monkey Island, Cosy Nook, Garden Bay and many other places along the coast until Riverton. Te Hikoi, the Riverton Museum is a fantastic option.
  • There are so many options on the coast and we can’t do everything so what we do and where we go depends on your interests.
  • We are likely to return to Te Anau at 5-6 pm, travelling through less visited rural and back-country Southland.
  • Food is available to purchase in Tuatapere, Orepuki, Colac Bay and Riverton. There is a restaurant/cafe in Orepuki that comes highly recommended.
  • Maximum group size is 5.
  • Pickup is from your accommodation in Te Anau or surrounds.
  • Price is NZD 129 per person.
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Secret Waterfall at night, Fiordland, New Zealand
Aurora Australis, Mavora Lakes, Southland, New Zealand
Aurora Australis, Mavora Lakes, Southland, New Zealand
Piopiotahi Milford Sound on a dark stormy night, Fiordland, New Zealand
Freshwater Basin, Piopiotahi Milford Sound at night, Fiordland, New Zealand
Te Anau Domain at night, Fiordland, New Zealand
Spot the Southern Cross, Southland, New Zealand
Sirius over the South Fiord, Lake Te Anau, Fiordland, New Zealand
Aurora Australis over Mount Luxmore, Lake Te Anau, Fiordland, New Zealand

Dark Sky Night Photography

  • For a 3-4 hour night photography trip we can visit spectacular light pollution free locations along lake Te Anau, Te Anau Downs, Boyd Creek and the Eglington Valley. I do have some tripods that I can lend out for the evening. Explore techniques such as painting with light and have a go at astro photography.
  • For a longer trip Walk up Key Summit in the dark for astro photography or star gazing.
  • Weather dependant.
  • Best during the long nights of winter, autumn and spring.
  • Departure is 9 pm.
  • Maximum group size is 5.
  • Pickup is from your accommodation in Te Anau or surrounds.
  • Price is NZD 129 per person.
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Start Planning Now! Contact David