What does a photo tour with Quietlight look like?
I can customise and give you any trip you like with less or more walking and any departure time that works for you, but this is what a trip could look like at this time of year. I like to work with small interest groups or family groups, that's your group. I do not provide cameras. Any camera is fine, even a phone camera or a sketch pad, a patient appreciation for good light. My special interest is seeing and I hope to send you home with something you might not see otherwise. I am an owner operator and what you do not get is Mr Plod the bus driver.
Milford is a big day wherever you start from, if you 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 am aiming to bridge the gap between bus and car. Usually people speed past all the best spots completely oblivious. The Milford Road has a lot to offer.
I like to leave at 11 am to 1 pm depending. There should be plenty of time to explore multiple 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, also many of the standard photo opportunities.
Cruise 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.
Walk through the forest and alpine terrain 1 to 1 ½ hours from the Divide to Key Summit for sunset/evening light. 8:30 pm. 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. We can also walk the alpine Gertrude Valley.
Rather than making rigid plans, sometimes it is liberating just to follow your interests and make it up along the way.
An 8:55 am cruise will require a 6:30 am departure from Te Anau but then leaves the day open to explore the Milford Road.
I carry spring water, tea and coffee, some snacks and fruit.
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 1pm usually gives the best light.
Stop at the Kiwi Burn for a short photo wander in the forest. The dappled light is enchanting deep in forest. We cross an interesting and potentially vertiginous swingbridge across the Mararoa River.
Take a peek at the Remarkables.
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, Hikuraki, 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.
There is a lot to see and explore. An 8 to 9 am departure makes most sense.
We go to Lake Hauroko and walk a short and easy forest loop.
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 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.
We are likely to return to Te Anau at 5-6 pm, travelling through less visited rural and backcountry Southland.
Dark Sky Tours
Walk up Key Summit in the dark for astro photography or star gazing.
For a shorter 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.
Where do we meet to start our tour?
My preference is to collect you from your accomodation in Te Anau. There is a box in the checkout procedure where you can enter the name of the place you are staying. If I have any doubt over where to find you I will be in contact by email or phone.
I could be there up to 10 munutes before our scheduled departure. I will be in a grey Hyundai iMax van registration number GED361.
If you prefer I can collect you from the Fiordland Community Event Centre which is on the main street of Te Anau accross the road from the Caltex garage and Subway, 20-22 Luxmore Drive, Te Anau. There is plenty of parking if you need to leave a vehicle. Please state Event Centre in the relevant box during checkout.
What is the maximum group size?
My van is certified to carry five passengers by the New Zealand Transport Authority.
What is your refund policy?
If a trip has to be cancelled unexpectedly you will be refunded in full.
If you have to cancel unexpectedly thats ok until 24 hours before departure, please contact me. I am not here to make anyone miserable.
If you miss the bus, sorry. You can be certain that I did everything in my power to find you.
What currency do you bill in?
Quietlight is based in Te Anau, New Zealand and bills all transactions in New Zealand Dollars.
What payment methods are available?
Visa, MasterCard and direct deposit.
Is my information secure?
We use FetchTM (Kiwibank Limited’s payment gateway) to process your credit card payments so your order is safe and secure. We do not receive your credit card number from Kiwibank.
How do I know my booking has been confirmed?
You will recieve a response by email within 30 minutes, confiming your payment and your place on the seeing tour that you selected.
How does my trip benefit conservation?
Is there something I can do for the community?
How do I leave feedback?
How do I check your visitor feedback?
Are you GST registered?
Yes we are GST registered, Quietlight Limited's IRD number is available on request.
Can I book visitors on their behalf?
Yes, feel free to do so. My telephone number is 027 7561938, leave a message if I am out of range or contact me. My preference is for you to do so online on this site, to prevent overbooking. I only have 5 seats available. Please take the Agents/Tour Operators payment option. I do offer commision and payment terms are 7 working days from invoice. IRD number, bank account number and standard comission rates will be sent to the email address used in the checkout.
Can I use your images or other content?
Not without first contacting me. All images and content copyright Quietlight Limited, 2016. All rights reserved.
Do you have an unanswered question?
Drop me an email and I will answer asap.