Ten Day “Hunter Valley Bird and Nature Photography Tour and Workshop”

When: Next Workshop TBA

Where: Hunter Valley Region, NSW

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Join experienced adventuring professional travel photographer and bird photography expert Mark Rayner and Australian bird expert Dick Jenkin on a bird and nature photography adventure not to be missed.

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Itinerary and Program of Events

Day One- 23 October
We will get together for the official welcome where Mark and Dick will outline the week ahead. We will discuss and assess everybody’s skill levels and expectations for the week, fine tune camera settings and be ready to shoot! Meet and greet in the lounge at 5 P.M. Our accommodation for the first five nights is in Cessnock, the heart of Hunter Valley wine country.
Day Two- 24 October
We head to Maitland this morning to visit Walka Water Works. This is a fantastic resource for birds, both water and bush. An amazing old 19th century pump station has some wonderful colours in its brickwork too. A 3km walk around the lake takes in bushland as well. It is one of the few places in our region reliable for Great-crested Grebe, and Musk Duck and sometimes Blue-billed Duck are present. Water birds can be numerous here at times, including coots and cormorants. We will have a picnic lunch here before heading out for an afternoon of some of Dick’s secret locations around the area.

Day Three- 25 October

This morning we will search for some birds in local bushland and in the afternoon a visit to the Hunter Valley Zoo will yield an amazing variety of birds and animals. Many wild birds abound as well, allowing some more opportunities to photograph local birds.
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Day Four- 26 October

This morning we will visit the Hunter Valley Gardens, where as well as beautifully landscaped gardens, many birds will be about too. There may be time in the middle of the day to wander around Pokolbin Village to sample wines, cheese, chocolates, browse through the shops or grab a cup of coffee.

In the afternoon, Mark will weave his magic with a Post-Processing session.
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Day Five- 27 October

Today we will head off again for some quite localised natural bush birding and photography opportunities. A casual day spent on a great private property in a wonderfully isolated spot, surrounded by birds.
We will have a picnic lunch here and enjoy the peace and serenity of our surrounds.

Day Six- 28 October
Check out today and we aim to leave here after breakfast and transfer across to the Apollo International Motor Inn at Charlestown for the next 4 nights. Whilst on the highway, it backs on to bushland and is very quiet and the food is awesome! On the way we will visit Blackbutt Reserve where we have a combination of both wild birds and some in aviaries, providing some opportunities to photograph some different species of birds not normally found in this area.

To complete Day 6, we will head to Nobby’s Beach for some amazing scenery, sunset, and a few birds thrown in for good measure, after which we will return to the Apollo for dinner.

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Day Seven- 29 October
Today we will bounce out of bed full of enthusiasm for a 6.15 A.M. breakfast and then off to Swansea, a short drive away, to board our boat for the morning. The skipper assures us that the salmon are running in October and the birds are plentiful. There will be opportunities to photograph several species of sea birds up close, including shearwaters and hopefully, albatross. Seals and whales are also possibilities this time of the year. We will moor off Moon Island, a big seabird nesting site close to shore, and add to the challenges of photography whilst rocking on a boat, gently we hope!

Day Eight- 30 October
(Optional sunrise shoot at Newcastle Baths for the keen)
After breakfast we will visit the Hunter Wetlands Centre with a full day to explore the 45-hectare site which abounds with many bush birds, water birds and even a rainforest section. There is a resident population of Magpie Geese plus they have a Freckled Duck breeding program and birds can be viewed and photographed in an enclosure. If water levels are right, many different species of crakes and rails inhabit the fringes of the ponds. We will have a packed lunch at the centre and coffee, drinks etc. are available at the Spoonbill Café.

Day Nine- 31 October

This morning we will visit a local birding spot, then in the afternoon we will travel to Stockton Sand Spit, an incredible area under the Stockton Bridge across the Hunter River. This is a high tide roost for migratory waders, some have come from as far away as the Arctic Circle, and others like the beautifully colored Red-necked Avocets are more local as are many species of tern, Pied Oystercatchers and Red-capped Plovers which all call the SSS home. The adjacent mangroves also support some bush birds such as Mangrove Gerygone, Brown Honeyeater and Double-barred Finches are often present.

Day Ten- 1 November

After our final breakfast together, the trip finishes at 10AM when we check out and we say our goodbyes until the next time. Itinerary subject to change or rearrangement due to weather conditions or at the whim of the birds.

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About Dick Jenkin:

Dick is passionate about birds and has spent his entire life pursuing countless species all over the globe. More recently, having observed all but six regular Australian birds, he has decided to revisit his secret places with camera in hand. Dick is now a full-time photographer pursuing this new goal.

Together with his wife Lynn, also a passionate photographer, he is setting about making bird photography more accessible to everyone.

In short, if there is a bird in the bush, Dick knows what it is and how to find it. His knowledge will be invaluable as we bring you this bird and nature photography workshop in the Hunter Valley region of NSW.

Photographic Prerequisites:

This amazing photography tour workshop is designed to suit the beginner or serious enthusiast.

A digital SLR or mirrorless interchangeable lens camera camera is recommended. Best lenses to bring include a longer zoom or prime. Lenses such as Canon 100-400, Nikon 80-400, Tamron or Sigma 150-600 are ideal as are 400, 500 and 600 primes. 1.4x and 2x teleconverters are also very useful.

A sturdy monopod or tripod is recommended, preferably fitted with a gimbal head. For the reptile and other animal sessions a shorter zoom or macro lens would be ideal.

A standard zoom (24-70) would also be advisable as some landscape opportunities will present. An external flash could be useful in certain circumstances.

Some of the topics that will be covered:

• Bird Photography techniques
• Wildlife
• Composition
• Lighting
• Exposure and metering techniques
• Streamlining your digital workflow and image post-processing techniques

This amazing tour always fills up quickly, so please book your spot asap.

Cost for the 10 day tour : Twin Share $ 4582.00 per person

Single $ 4912.00 per person

$600.00 per person deposit required to secure your position.

Balance payable 60 days before workshop.

Click here to book.

Inclusions :

  • 9 nights accommodation
  • All Dinners
  • All Lunches
  • All Breakfasts
  • All Ground transport (Newcastle to Newcastle)
  • Charter boat fee
  • Reptile and Wildlife park fees
  • Wetlands fees
  • Guiding and tuition


  • Alcohol
  • Items of a personal nature

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is recommended and remains your responsibility.

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