Otago
Photography Tours

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Our most recommended Otago Photography Tours

Queenstown: Kawarau River Jet Boat Adventure

1. Queenstown: Kawarau River Jet Boat Adventure

Discover Queenstown’s untouched and pristine wilderness during an authentic jet boat adventure across Lake Wakatipu and along the historic Kawarau River. Choose from a 25-minute or 1-hour experience and spend more time on the water with a convenient departure right from the heart of Queenstown. Depart from Thunder Bay next to Steamer Wharf in the heart of Queenstown and travel far up the Kawarau River, covering a distance of 47 km. Along the way, listen to interesting commentary from your experienced driver. After getting equipped with a life jacket and spray jacket, climb on board and experience exhilarating 360-degree spins, skimming the water at speeds of up to 95 km/hour.  Then, travel down the river where it is calmest, even when the lake is rough. Take your camera along to capture the stunning scenery of your jet boat experience with frequent photo opportunities.

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Wanaka: Self Guided Bike Tour from Lake Hawea to Lake Wanaka

2. Wanaka: Self Guided Bike Tour from Lake Hawea to Lake Wanaka

Get the most bang for your buck as you experience the most popular of any bike trip in Wanaka. Start your journey in Wanaka Town center where you will meet the experienced team to get you fitted for your equipment and receive a comprehensive safety briefing. Then, enjoy a leisurely shuttle from downtown Wanaka to the neighboring lakeside town of Hawea. Feel free to grab a coffee from a local cafe before setting out on the Hawea River Track, an easy riverside amble set in mountainous surroundings. Pass by Albert Town, where there are a few places to grab a refreshment, before continuing along the mighty Clutha River towards its source at Lake Wanaka. A picturesque lakeside trail will lead you back to Wanaka township, where ice cream and the famous Wanaka Tree await. After arriving back to Wanaka, extend your ride with a visit to Rippon Vineyard at your leisure. This is an exceptional ride offering great value for money. Upgrade your trip to an e-bike for an easier ride.

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Queenstown: Small-Group Tour to Milford Sound with Cruise

3. Queenstown: Small-Group Tour to Milford Sound with Cruise

Join a fully-guided, small-group day tour from Queenstown or Te Anau to the world-renowned Milford Sound; the crowning jewel of Fiordland. Highlights of the drive will include Lake Wakatipu, the Devil’s Staircase, the truly majestic mountains of Fiordland, Mirror Lake, the Chasm, and Homer Tunnel. You will also enjoy multiple stops along the way for photo opportunities and Kea bird spotting (the world’s largest alpine parrot). You will then travel through the mind-blowing Homer Tunnel, emerging as the valley descends sharply down to Milford Sound, with its hundreds of waterfalls cascading into the crystal clear waters beneath. At Milford Sound you will take an intimate cruise on a smaller boat that gets right up close with nature and wildlife. Onboard your cruise you will have up-close views of thousands of waterfalls, Mitre Peak, as well as local wildlife, providing you with hundreds of amazing photo opportunities along the way. Following your cruise you will begin the return journey back to Queenstown, stopping again in Te Anau for a quick break. At the end of the day, your guide will drop you back to your Queenstown accommodation, or you can opt to upgrade to a scenic, one-way flight back from Milford instead (to be booked during the booking process). Choose this option for the ultimate view over the mountains and region during your return journey.

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Queenstown: Milford Sound Flight and Cruise

4. Queenstown: Milford Sound Flight and Cruise

Take flight a small luxury plane leaving Queenstown. Admire the awe-inspiring scenery from your very own window seat as you soar over Fiordland National Park, listening to the pilot's commentary. Landing at Milford Sound airport you will be escorted to the Cruise Terminal either by shuttle or 15 minute nature walk to meet your boat. Enjoy 2 hours of spectacular scenery and wildlife on the Gem of the Sound, learn all about the history of the area from the skipper as he skillfully pulls the boat underneath waterfalls and right up to the base of famous Mitre Peak. Your pilots will meet you off the cruise at the Terminal and take you back to the awaiting plane for your return to Queenstown. Your complimentary shuttle will drop you back to your hotel with plenty of time to enjoy the legendary dining scene.

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Glenorchy & Paradise Scenic Half-Day Tour from Queenstown

5. Glenorchy & Paradise Scenic Half-Day Tour from Queenstown

Just 45 minutes from Queenstown, Glenorchy is nestled on the northern shores of Lake Wakatipu and is home to what many say is New Zealand's best scenery and a slice of Middle-Earth magic. View stunning scenery and alpine vistas as you are guided in style aboard a luxury Mercedes van. Enjoy an overload of sightseeing and views packed into a fun half-day adventure to Glenorchy and beyond. Upon arrival in Glenorchy, you will be awe struck as you gaze at the mountain ranges and native beech forest which set the backdrop for this rustic town. You will have some time to check out the town's local sites and hidden gems, while also learning about Glenorchy and its fascinating Maori history. After Glenorchy, visit Paradise, view Diamond Lake, and explore the surrounding areas. There’s endless natural beauty and scenic stops along the way, ensuring you’ll go home with some postcard-worthy photos. View multiple Lord of the Rings movie locations, such as Twelve Mile Delta, where the first fight between Faramir's Rangers and the Giant Oliphaunts took place. In a location called "Paradise," you will also get to see the famous locations of Isengard and Saruman's Tower. Costumes are available, so you can re-create scenes and dress as a character from the movie. Whether you are a Lord of the Ring’s fan or not, you will be impressed with the stunning scenery surrounding these locations. Taste a kiwi-style morning and afternoon tea with a spectacular back drop. Your guide will set up the ultimate picnic in one of a number of picturesque locations, consisting of classic, kiwi delights. With a stunning natural backdrop comprised of majestic mountain ranges and native beech forest, Glenorchy is sure to leave you speechless.

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Queenstown: Milford Sound Scenic Flyover with Hotel Pickup

6. Queenstown: Milford Sound Scenic Flyover with Hotel Pickup

Experience unimpaired views of New Zealand's South Island's South West Coast from the comfort of your window seat as you fly through a landscape of unbelievable grandeur and beauty onboard a fixed-wing aircraft. Your expert local pilot will provide interesting and informative commentary on the 1 hour 10 minutes flight. Depart from Queenstown Airport and head north over the Coronet Peak skifield, historic Skippers Canyon and the Shotover River - the second-richest gold-bearing river in the world. Enjoy panoramic views of Lake Wakatipu and glacier-fed braided rivers as you fly along the Dart River Valley into the World Heritage Area of Mt. Aspiring National Park. Continue your breathtaking journey into the Fiordland National Park, over the rugged West Coast and the Tasman Sea before a quick U-turn descending into Milford Sound itself. Fly down the middle of the Fiord, with the dramatic sheer mountains on either side, and aerial views of the cascading Stirling Falls. Return to Queenstown on a different flight path over the stunning World Heritage Area, over Lake Quill and the Sutherland Falls. Snap memorable pictures along the way or simply sit back and marvel at the stunning landscape beneath you.

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Dunedin: City Highlights and Otago Peninsula Scenery

7. Dunedin: City Highlights and Otago Peninsula Scenery

Meet your tour guide at 9 AM at Port Chalmers, from where you will enjoy a 20-minute scenic drive with photo stops to Dunedin City. Make the first stop at the world’s steepest street, and spend about 10 minutes grasping this extreme location. From there, head to Signal Hill's lookout point, which offers a gorgeous panorama of Dunedin and the surrounding area. Then, take a short guided stroll at the upper botanic garden to view a variety of plants, as well as native New Zealand birds. Drive through one of the oldest cemeteries of Dunedin where the William Larnach family and Thomas Bracken are buried, as you hear all about their fame. Later on, stop at the oldest New Zealand’s University, Otago University. Drive through the main shopping street, George Street and Octagon, which comprises the heart of the city. Next up, stop to view one of the finest churches, the First Church of Otago before you visit the stunning Dunedin Railway Station and hear all about how busy it used to be. Following the city sightseeing, sit back to enjoy the most breathtaking scenery of the Otago Peninsula via Highcliff Road with some great photo stops. After a 1-hour scenic drive, stop at the end of the Peninsula, the Royal Albatross Centre, and enjoy some free time to grab some snacks and drinks at the lovely cafe. You can also explore outdoors, walk down to the beach to spot seals on rocks or in water, view royal albatross gliding if it is windy enough, and enjoy the ocean and lighthouse views. Following a break on the Otago Peninsula, drive via a low road to enjoy some different scenery along the harbor. Later on, return to Port Chalmers or choose to stay in the city for some shopping before making your own way back to the port. Alternatively, upgrade your tour to include a 1-hour wildlife cruise so you can learn more as you view Otago Peninsula's unique marine wildlife.

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Milford Sound Premium Day Tour and Cruise from Queenstown

8. Milford Sound Premium Day Tour and Cruise from Queenstown

This coach trip includes a Milford Sound cruise aboard a comfortable, purpose-built cruise boat with optional lunch and refreshments. Enjoy multiple stops on your way to Milford Sound which makes the day even more amazing! When you arrive in Te anau - your first stop of the day - enjoy a toilet break and time to grab something from the cafe. They have great coffee, muffins and snacks! Enjoy a stop at the mirror lakes, a beautiful 5 minute boardwalk through a rainforest and other photo opportunities that make your journey to Milford Sound even more special.  On arrival at Milford Sound you immediately proceed to the boat terminal, where your driver will give you your boat pass and direct you to your cruise boat. On boarding, make yourself comfortable in one of the saloons or catch the scenery from the decks. Milford Sound is famous for its waterfalls, and if it's raining it's even more spectacular. The boats nudge right up to the base of the waterfalls, often challenging visitors to fill a glass of water from the cascading plumes! This luxury tour already has reserved window seating for you - so no need to worry about getting a seat! On board feel free to buy yourself snacks and sandwiches from the cafe or treat yourself to a buffet lunch! The boats are often escorted by pods of dolphins, while seals bask on the rocks. Take in the stunning scenery while your skipper gets you as close as possible to the wildlife for some fantastic photos. The cruise will take you out to the point where the fiord meets the open sea, and it is here at Anita Bay that the Maori collected their sacred Pounamu or Greenstone – prized for making tools, jewelry and ornaments, and still a highly-valued stone today. 

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Milford Sound Scenic Helicopter Flight with Glacier Landing

9. Milford Sound Scenic Helicopter Flight with Glacier Landing

Discover isolated valleys of ancient forests, pristine rivers, and mountains sculpted from ice over thousands of years–from the air! Upon landing in Milford, enjoy a short nature walk and snap that iconic Mitre Peak photo. Experience an exhilarating flight past spectacular mountains and blue-green ice falls, and land upon and land on a glacier/mountain in the heart of Fiordland National Park. Today, many of the local landscapes can be recognized because of their use as film locations. You can even fly over where the Lord of the Rings movies were filmed! The pilots regularly work with film production crews and are happy to share plenty of stories of life on the film set. Finally, for the photo opportunity of a lifetime, alight on a glacier and enjoy panoramic views. These highly experienced, well-known local pilots can’t wait to share with you their extensive knowledge and history of the area while showing you the best of New Zealand's amazing scenery. Please note that there may not be snow on the day of your flight depending on the season, especially during summer.

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Milford Sound & Te Anau 2-Day Small-Group Tour

10. Milford Sound & Te Anau 2-Day Small-Group Tour

Day 1: Leaving Queenstown, travel around Lake Wakatipu with amazing views of "The Remarkables" Mountain Range with some stops to take fantastic photos. Then, enter Fiordland National Park and visit Eglinton Valley, Mirror Lakes, Lake Gunn, Hollyford River, Falls Creek, the Darran Mountains, and Homer Tunnel. Next, board your cruise on a small boat for an informative and personal tour of Milford Sound. Get closer to the wildlife and nature, including the New Zealand fur seals basking on the rocks. See massive rock faces rising hundreds of meters out of the sea and waterfalls cascading from ancient rainforest high in the mountains. Marvel at the awe-inspiring Mitre Peak, an iconic steep triangular peak, rising high up above the reflective waters. As day 1 comes to a close, enjoy an overnight stay in Te Anau where you can have dinner at a local restaurant or take an evening stroll around the lake. Day 2: Start Day 2 with pickup from your hotel and first visit the Te Anau Bird Sanctuary. Take a guided tour of the sanctuary and see some of the rarest birds in the country, including the Takahe and Kaka. Visit your first Lord of the Rings attraction at the Dead Marshes and Rainbow Reach. Enjoy a viewpoint overlooking The Dead Marshes from an elevated position. At Rainbow Reach a cable bridge over the Waiau River, known as The River Anduin in the movie series leads you into the forest and Kepler Track. Next, explore the shores of Lake Manapouri and hear more about its history. Have a quick break at one of the local coffee shops before heading to the Mavora Lakes, which is one of the most famous LOTR sites in the region. After some free time here, continue back to Te Anau where you can take part in some more optional activities, with the final drop-off in Queenstown in the early evening.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Otago

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What people are saying about Otago

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 157 reviews

My wife and I had one of the best scenic flight with Glenorchy Air here in Queenstown. We booked the 80 Minutes Milford Sound Scenic Flyover and got a bonus when our very friendly and accommodating Pilot Ian Anderson told us that instead of a flyover at Milford Sound, we will be making a landing and picking up some hikers back to Queenstown, which we are ok with. The flight from Queenstown to Milford Sound was so picturesque as we flew above mountain lakes, lush rain forests, snow covered mountains & glacier. We will definitely do the Milford Sounds Scenic Flyover again next time we are in Queenstown again. A big thank you to Pilot Ian Anderson, Mikaela and Jasmine of Glenorchy Air for the memorable experience. Felix & Evelyn Auckland, NZ

Out of this world, Luke the pilot was great and the other couples we travelled with were also good to talk to. The champagne on the snow at 6900 feet to celebrate our wedding anniversary was the icing on the cake. Awesome trip and would do again at maybe a different time of day/year. The staff in the office were also very friendly and great service.

It’s well worth the 9 am start to experience the beautiful drive to Glenorchy & Paradise. Andy was a very informative guide and I appreciated his personal knowledge of the area. We enjoyed a simple but tasty morning tea before driving home after plenty of photo opportunities. If you are a LOTR movie buff, you’ll enjoy the experience even more.

Brilliant driver leader. Arils provided excellent commentary. Great information was very helpful and pleasant

Great tour guide, he was extremely enthusiastic and witty. Exactly what you need for a big day!