Kevin Kubota's Middle-earth Photo Journey South Island New Zealand

Kevin Kubota's Middle-earth Photo Journey

By Kubota Image Tools

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Kevin Kubota’s Middle-Earth Photo Journey
Soaring Mountains, Turquoise Lakes, Lush Rain Forest, Award Winning Wines; all wrapped up in unspoilt wilderness!

This 11-day New Zealand South Island (Aotearoa, Te Waipounamu) adventure will highlight the best of New Zealand’s unspoilt landscape. Sample fine food and wine as we take you on a journey through the land of the long white cloud.

As the ideal location for The Lord Of The Rings - Middle-earth, we’ll visit ancient forests and sweeping plains, crystal turquoise lakes and rugged snow-capped mountains ringed by glaciers.

Take a scenic plane ride around Aoraki/Mount Cook and land on the Tasman Glacier for a champagne brunch. From sweeping vistas over vineyards to fjords where thundering waterfalls plunge direct into the ocean, there are stunning views around every corner.


Your lead workshop facilitator, Kevin Kubota, has helped to provide thousands of digital photographers the critical skills necessary to make professional digital photography beautiful, profitable, and fun! Kevin has been a Nikon sponsored speaker at major national conventions and conducts workshops worldwide. American Photo Magazine named Kevin one of the "Top 10 Wedding Photographers in the World." Kevin has a passion for teaching and is dedicated to "Empowering Photographers." This is your opportunity to learn his secrets of success first hand.

PHILLIP NORMAN - Guide Partner
From an early age Phillip has had a deep connection with the natural landscape, growing up spending annual holidays camping in many of Australia's amazing national parks. It is there that his first inspiration into photography came while hiking with his father who always had a camera in hand. Moving to New Zealand in 1997 deepened Phillip's connection with the landscape where he further developed his pursuit of rock climbing, skiing and mountaineering, all the time photographing the wilderness around him.

Photos © Phillip Norman


The workshop cost covers the following...
  • Ko Tane Maori Welcome Dinner
  • Mt Cook/Glacier plane ride and champagne breakfast*
  • Queenstown hot air balloon ride with champagne breakfast*
  • All accommodations
  • All breakfasts
  • 5 lunches
  • 5 dinners
  • All transportation
  • All national park fees
  • Instruction by Kevin each day
*The costs for the plane and hot air balloon ride are included in total price, but will be paid directly to the providing companies. These activities are weather dependent. If we need to cancel them due to bad weather, there will be no charge.


The following schedule is tentative and is subject to change.

Day 1 - Christchurch

Arrive in Christchurch. The tour starts at 5pm with a traditional Māori welcome and hāngi dinner at Ko Tane.

Day 2 - Twizel

We will make our way to the heart of the South Island; MacKenzie Country. An afternoon photography class will prepare you for a sunset shoot overlooking Mt Cook. Accommodation for the night is in Twizel.

Day 3 - Twizel

We will explore the incredible scenery of MacKenzie Country, adjacent to Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park and New Zealand’s highest mountains, that includes shimmering green grasslands backed by snow capped peaks and mesmerizing iridescent blue glacier-fed lakes.

We'll visit the foothills of Mt Cook and explore the alpine glaciers like you've never seen before with a scenic flight and champagne brunch on the glacier. In the afternoon there will be an optional four-hour moderate return hike to the spectacular Hooker Glacier Lake with spectacular views of Mount Cook and Mount Sefton. The optional hike will include a chance for a sunset photograph with Mt Cook. There will also be optional late-night star photography. Accommodation will be in Twizel.

Day 4 - Te Anau

After a beautiful sunrise over the lake, we will leave the plains of MacKenzie Country and head deep into Fiordland where our base for the next two nights will be at the lakeside town of Te Anau. We'll explore the ancient forests and lakes of the region. Along the way we'll stop for lunch at the spectacular Mt Difficulty, a Bannockburn winery. Enjoy afternoon free time to explore. Take an optional trip to the glowworm caves, which includes a cruise across Lake Te Anau. We will be staying at the beautiful Radfords on the Lake.

Day 5 - Te Anau

Our journey this day takes us through the mountains and over to the west coast fjord, Milford Sound. We’ll take a boat cruise under thundering waterfalls falling from snow-capped peaks, plunging directly into the Sound. There will be an on-location photography class and after sunset we'll return to Te Anau.

Day 6 - Queenstown

In the morning we'll explore some of the other beautiful locations around Te Anau. Options include either visiting some of the Lord of The Rings film locations or one of the most spectacular moderate hikes in New Zealand, a four-hour return trip to Lake Marian. After lunch we'll head back north to the adventure capital of the world, Queenstown. More snow-capped peaks and crystal blue lakes offer a spectacular playground for the next two nights. Following an afternoon photography class we will venture out for a sunset shoot along Lake Wakatipu. Accommodation is at the beautiful lakeside Hotel St Moritz.

Day 7 - Queenstown

An early start for sunrise at the spectacular hidden alpine lake, Moke Lake, followed by a leisurely day enjoying the beautiful lakeside town of Queenstown with many great restaurants, pubs, and cafes all set against the stunning views of the surrounding mountains. Many optional activities will be available including whitewater rafting, bungy jumping, and much more! We will also fit in an afternoon photography class.

Day 8 - Fox Glacier

An early rise for an optional hot air balloon ride over the Canterbury Plains with views of the Southern Alps, followed by a champagne breakfast. Then we will head north past the stunning Lake Wanaka, and up through Haast Pass. We'll photograph forests and beautiful waterfalls along the way before arriving at our next destination, Fox Glacier. We will end the day with a photography class followed by a sunset shoot.

Day 9 - Fox Glacier

We'll visit Lake Matheson for a spectacular sunrise over Mt Cook reflected in the mirror like lake. Then we will explore this amazing area with lakes, an ocean, and lush forests and have an afternoon photography class.

Day 10 - Maruia Hot Springs

We will journey up the stunning west coast, stopping along the way at beaches, forests, and the spectacular Punakaiki (Pancake) Rocks, before once again heading back into the mountains to stay at the beautiful Japanese hot springs at Maruia. A beautiful way to relax at the end of an amazing adventure in Middle-earth!

Day 11 - Christchurch

On the final day we will finish the tour with a scenic drive over Lewis Pass, and down through the vineyards of Waipara and North Canterbury, followed by a gourmet lunch at the award-winning Pegasus Bay Winery, just north of Christchurch. Upon return to Christchurch, you will be dropped off at your continuing accommodation or airport if you have a late afternoon flight.


Airfares to and from Christchurch, international visas, travel insurance, gifts, personal items, remaining meals, and additional or optional tours, activities, and excursions. Tipping is not customary in New Zealand, however is at your discretion.


In order to give you the most training for your dollar, we strictly limit the number of participants to 25 people. We do this to assure that you will receive all the individual attention you deserve.


Can't make it to this photography workshop? Kevin is available for one-on-one consulting. Let him know exactly what you need and he'll let you know how he can best help. Free 15-minute initial consultation when you sign up!