June 24, 2024 10:00 am - June 28, 2024 11:00 am Chatham Island

*** SOLO TRAVELLERS NO EXTRA FOR OWN ROOM *** Have you discovered that the Chatham Islands are not just a photographer’s dream but also a haven for endemic birdlife? This hidden gem of New Zealand remains a well-kept secret to many. Join us on our photography retreat and immerse yourself in the breathtaking landscapes and unique avian species of this beautifully rugged destination.

Join Lesley from June 24th to 28th for an unforgettable journey through one of her beloved photographic destinations. Delve into the art of landscape and birdlife photography while mastering focus stacking for pristine landscapes.  

This small group, maximum of 6 photography retreat is suitable for beginner, hobbyists through to advanced photographers, especially those who have a passion for capturing bird images.

For those wanting photography mentoring, you’ll have multi-award winning photographer Lesley Whyte to coach you on how to use simple composition techniques and help you master your camera’s settings. She’ll work with you to enhance your images and will help you to take your RAW images and create an awesome images using both Lightroom Classic and Photoshop on your laptop.  If you don’t have a laptop, you can load free versions of Lightroom & Photoshop Mobile on your tablet or use our loan one.

Each day you’ll enjoy a cooked buffet breakfast, packed lunch plus dinner (with desert).

Not only will you have an amazing time exploring part of New Zealand, capturing images of the both endemic & Chatham Island sub species birds that not many others have the opportunity to capture, but also come away with having met some amazing photography buddies and be more confident with your photographic and image processing skills.


Monday 24th: 

You’ll be meeting Lesley at Auckland Domestic Airport at 10.00am for pre-retreat photography chat.  You’ll  departing on our Air Chathams’ flight at 1.30pm.  Once we land at the Chatham Islands around 5.00pm we will be meet you on arrival and transferred to our accommodation at Hotel Chathams.  Once you’ve settled into your accomodation and over dinner we will review the day by day activity and Lesley will be able to answer any questions you may have.

Dinner included

Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday: Over these three days there is such a variety awesomely mind-blowing landscapes, seascapes images to capture from sun rise through to sunset.  You’ll be taken to shoreline and inland locations where you can see the most amazing birdlife to photography. You’ll visit some wild windswept seascapes, some of which not normally accessible, but Lesley has permission to take you to.

Capture early morning images of the sun rising on the wet sand of Waitangi’s beach – think wet sand reflections of the birds standing on the shoreline and the beautiful peat coloured steam at Waitangi.   On one of the days, we’ll be heading out on the water to capture images of birdlife – some of which we’d likely see are Mollymawk (one of the smaller great albatross), Wandering Albatross and the Buller’s Albatross.   Back on land, you’ll be able to capture images of coastal birdlife – the Chatham Island Oystercatcher and the Chatham Island Pipit.  We may even spot the elusive Parea (the Chatham Island pigeon) and is around 20%-30% more chubbier than the New Zealand Kereru.

Lesley although reckons, the best place is Port Hutt where there are two shipwrecks to photograph, this is her favourite location as quite often the Chatham Island & Pitt Island Shags are often seen.  Don’t worry if we don’t see any of the shags here as we’ll be heading to a shoreline location to capture these.

Pack some good walking shoes and layers of clothing, gloves, beanie and puffer jacket PS don’t forget a torch or headlamp!  If you’re a super keen birder then maybe a small tripod type stool to sit on.

While at Chatham Islands you have Lightroom & Photoshop workshops and a dedicated print preparation workshops where Lesley will work with you to demystifying the print preparation and printing workflow process – showing you how easy it is to prepare and print your images.

You will come away with a selection of your Images printed on professional, quality photographic paper using an Epson P706 A3+ photographic printer.

Breakfast & lunch plus dinner

Friday 29th: It’s gone far too fast, as today is your last morning and time to pack-up and head for an early breakfast before you are transferred to the Airport to board your flight to Auckland where you’ll be landing before lunch.   Plan for your onward flight home after 2.00pm.



  • Breakfast, lunch and two course dinner as outlined above
  • Tea & coffee from the coffee station at the hotel (Barista or speciality coffees own cost)
  • Four nights accommodation at Hotel Chatham – choice of two different types of single rooms available
  • Return flight to Chatham Island from Auckland
  • Both coastal and a boat excursion to capture images of Chatham Island sea birds, many of which are endemic to Chatham Islands
  • Mentoring from multi-award winning photographer
  • Take home a selection of your images printed in A3+ & A4, ready for framing – value $500+
  • Learning how to create high resolution multi-image panoramas using Lightroom Classic for processing
  • Learn simple process workflow techniques for both Lightroom Mobile & Lightroom Classic
  • Mentoring to enable you to become comfortable at working in manual; mastering the exposure triangle
  • Expert advice on how to create stunning images in Lightroom and Photoshop (laptop & tablet) and demystify the print preparation process
  • Daily photography and processing review sessions
  • NOTE: Activity is weather dependant and sequence of photographic opportunity may vary.


A general level of fitness is required to carry your camera backpack on unstable farmland – some walks are 30 minutes, while others are only a few steps.  Walking on slipery wet rocks is also likely plus walking at in low light (evening or morning) in and dark areas.


  • Flights to connect with your Air Chatham flights
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Barista or speciality coffees
  • Alcohol with dinner
  • Items not mentioned above.

Want to know more about this retreat – contact lesley@hotelchathamstours.co.nz


Air Chathams flight times are sometimes changed and weather can delay departure, therefore it is recommended that you book your connecting flights as “fully flexible” as we are not responsible for the cost to change your connecting flights.


You can secure your place with a $500 deposit, the balance payable 6 weeks prior to travel.


$3,500  per person – ground floor single room, single bed, shared bathrooms and showers, Sky TV

$3,800 per person – single room. Ground floor Bayview room with ensuite. Sky TV and tea making facility, door opening out to deck.

Ticket Type Price Cart
2024 Winter Wonderland Photography Retreat ground floor Bayview room (sharing) - deposit per person $500 Tickets are sold out.
2024 Winter Wonderland Photography Retreat ground floor Bayview room (own room) - deposit per person $500 Tickets are sold out.
2024 Winter Wonderland Photography Retreat ground floor single room (shared bathroom & shower) - deposit per person $500 Tickets are sold out.