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The Best of Autumn | 22 April – 1 May 2024

A photographic journey with Grand Master of Photography Paul Hoelen and Accredited NZ Photographic Leader Rachel Gillespie

Lake Tekapo, Aoraki Mount Cook, Twizel, Lake Ohau, Arrowtown,

Glenorchy, Queenstown, Milford Sound, Fiordland, New Zealand

Paul Hoelen and Rachel Gillespie have custom designed a trip to journey through some of the grandest and most spectacular scenery the South Island has to offer at the most colourful and stable time of the year

They will guide you through a myriad of superb shooting locations over 10 magnificent days through some of the most visually diverse and dramatic landscapes in this part of the world. 

From astonishing glacial lakes and river deltas, grand alpine peaks, ancient moss-covered rainforest, hidden coves and ravines, historical huts, quiet reflective lakes, visiting the Arrowtown Autumn Festival, taking the unmissable Milford Sound Cruise, and with options for aerial photography in two of the best locations in the country, this trip has it all!

While travelling through such a rich and majestic array of breath-taking features and variety of landscapes, you’ll be sure to come away with both rich memories and wonderful imagery to enjoy and celebrate for many years to come

Apply for more info to limited spaces only 8 per tour

Accommodation, transport by van and driver, boat tour, 2 tutors are all included

Meals not included

​DAY 1 | 22 APRIL
Pick Up: Christchurch Airport – 10:30am
Journey to Lake Tekapo
Accommodation: Lake Tekapo – 1 night 
Explore: Lake Tekapo, Lake Alexandrina and  Church of the Good Shepherd

DAY 2–3 | 23–24 APRIL 
Aoraki Mt Cook region  
Accommodation: Twizel – 2 nights
Explore: Mt Cook Road, Hooker Valley, Tasman Glacier, Lake Ruataniwha,  Wairepo Arm, Lake Poaka and Lindis Pass

DAY 4–6 | 25–27 APRIL
Queenstown region 
Accommodation: Kawerau – 3 nights 
Explore: Arrowtown Autumn Festival, Glendu Bay, Wanaka Tree, Glenorchy sister’s trees, Glenorchy Wharf and Lagoon Lookout, Lake Hayes Jetty, Shotover River Gorge, Moke Lake and Crown Range.

DAY 7–9 | 28–30 APRIL
Fiordland Region
Accommodation: Te Anau – 3 nights
Explore: Milford Road, Mirror Lakes, Eglington Valley, Marian Falls Track, Homer Tunnel Lookout and Milford Sound Foreshore. 
Included: Milford Sound Boat Cruise
Optional: Scenic flight over Milford Sound

DAY 10 | 1 MAY
Te Anau to Queenstown drive
Shooting along the way we’ll enjoy a beautiful drive with an early evening finish in Queenstown on May 1 where we can drop you off at your own pre-organised accommodations.

SOUTH ISLAND NZ - The Best of Autumn
Flexibility to Suit the Conditions
The shoot locations above are suggestions only.  Paul and Rachel will put their local knowledge and planning skills to excellent use guiding you to where the perfect locations are each day based on the light, tide, and weather to allow you the very best opportunities to come away with a folio of wonderful imagery.
Variety and Scope
As conditions present themselves over the course of the trip, we will have the potential to explore a wide range of photographic genres including Landscapes, Seascapes, Forest, Waterfalls, Wildlife, Macro, Long Exposure, Nightscapes, Milky Way, Aurora Australis.

Education and Tutoring 
Paul and Rachel, while running the trip, will aim to make themselves available to support all aspects your technical and aesthetic approach to image taking. Whether it’s long exposures, focus stacking, astro photography, macro, or wildlife there will be ample opportunity to experiment and explore them all. There will be scope for individual and collective image critique during the trip and potentially some post production, though the general emphasis will be focused on location shooting and camera craft.

They will share their shoot planning techniques and approaches so you can feel more empowered to apply these insights and skills to your own photography sessions in the future to better get yourself in the right place at the right time, wherever you choose to go.

Fitness Level 
Moderate or relaxed, we will be mainly driving to the shooting locations and photographing relatively near the vehicle or within a shorter, non-technical walk.

We will all be taking care of ourselves on this trip. Firstly, this helps to keep the cost down but most especially gives us the flexibility to stay with the light and conditions when it’s good and not have to leave just to fit into the local chef’s timing. Almost all accommodations will have kitchens available or dining out options close by.  

$8495 NZD twin share
Deposit $1000 upon booking to confirm your place.   Balance due April 10.
Includes: All accommodation after pick-up in Christchurch, all transport with private coach driver, parks 
entrance fees, Milford Sound Boat cruise, all tuition and instruction.


Doesn't Include: Flights to and from the trip start and finish, accommodation before pick up or after workshop drop off, meals, alcohol, travel insurance.

Note: Aerial flights at Mt Cook and Fiordland are an optional extra, though we have negotiated a special 
commercial rate for you.


When you book your spot, you either pay in full or a deposit and payment plan

If you are booking flights and accommodation outside of our workshop inclusions we recommend you make sure you can either change dates or have travel insurance to cover this.

If you have any questions please get in touch with me and I will happily answer you privately


Call or email Rachel now to book the last 2 places or for a chat

+64275 178 732

Download our full brochure here

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Paul Hoelen

Grand Master Photographer

A talented working professional portrait, travel, and landscape photographer for several decades now Paul has been acknowledged as a Grand Master of Photography in the NZIPP, won innumerable awards for his work, judged regularly at a state, national and international level, runs photo workshops worldwide and written for numerous publications. An experienced wilderness guide, educator, speaker, and entertaining storyteller to boot – with an approachable, down to earth style – you’ll thoroughly enjoy your time and learn a bunch while travelling with Paul on any journey you choose to take with him.


Paul Hoelen


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Rachel Gillespie

Professional Photographer + Guide

Use this space to introduce yourself and share your professional history.

Rachel Gillespie runs an accredited full time Guiding and Tourism Photography Business roaming the length and breadth of the South Island. Born and bred here and with a great passion for landscape photography, she’s the perfect person to guide us through her backyard to more magical locations than you’d ever know were there. Astrophotography is also a great love of hers and she is a whole hearted advocate for the Aoraki Mount Cook Dark Sky Reserve and running focused astro workshops. She thoroughly enjoys supporting people to master the fundamentals of all aspects of landscape photography, get results they’re happy with and is always up for some really great adventures along the way!

Rachel Gillespie  


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