Lesley Whyte
+64 27 4747 347

Central North Island Landscape Photography Retreat

Come join Women in Photography’s annual small group “Capture to Print Retreat” at Blue Duck Station located at Blue Duck Station which is situated inland south of Taurmanui, north of National Park and borders the Whanganui River in New Zealand’s North Island.

We are passionate about Blue Duck Station, we lead two photography tours here each year and we want you to be enchanted as much as we are so check out this YouTube Hyundai Country Calendar’s programme.  Blue Duck Station is a place of beauty, rawness and rugged, unspoilt surroundings where there are still 800 year old Totora trees growing.  The station’s core values are to conserve its endangered wildlife, increase the health of native bush and rivers, and preserve the history of the area, while educating visitors about the endangered New Zealand blue duck, other native species and local history.  Blue Duck Station is located where there is no cellphone coverage, there is although WiFi at the station’s central cafe.

Photographers of all levels of experience are welcome to join us, from beginners to hobbyists to serious.  Lesley and Meghan will coach you how to use simple composition techniques and help you master your camera’s settings; ISO, aperture and shutter speed.

We will help you to take your RAW images and produce you two awesome printed images. This weekend has Lightroom and Photoshop tuition sessions throughout, don’t worry if you don’t have these loaded on your laptop, we can work to prepare and print your image for you. Not only will you have an amazing time, but you will also come away with having met some amazing photography buddies and be more confident with your photographic skills.

On our photography retreats we are up early and head to bed late – we are out exploring the landscape so you come away with some awesome images!  We also have nightly photo sharing sessions. Chatting over a glass of wine with your dinner we’ll likely be exchanging composition ideas.

Over the four days that we are away, we will be totally immersed into the beauty, tranquility and rawness of Blue Duck Station and will experience:

  • Pre-dawn 30 minute ATV ride to the highest point on the station to capture images of the sun rising above the clouds – spectacular #golden & #bluehour photography
  • Capture images of the stations waterfall, both from up top and down below
  • Enjoy a sedate canoe paddle through a pristine gorge with vertically rising walls, water dripping to capture images – waterproof camera, GoPro are so suited here to capture underwater images
  • Full day excursion jet boat trip to the iconic Bridge to Nowhere and along the 45-minute walk to the bridge capture beautiful images of the dappled light on the undergrowth
  • Capture images of the historic buildings on the station; early settlers hut, ammunition hut, post office and creamery
  • Capture images of stock being worked – a specially run opportunity just for Women in Photography
  • Capture images at night of old rusting trucks lit by torches and a light stick
  • If you comfortable with astro photography – the night skies here are clear and crips (except when there is cloud cover)
  • In the evenings we will run Lightroom & Photoshop sessions while enjoying a glass of wine & nibbles or maybe just enjoy our wine & nibbles around a campfire
  • Come away with one of your images printed in A3, securely packed for travelling home.

Just pack your bag, bring your laptop and camera gear – everything else is included – from the time you step onboard our min-coach until you get off at the end of the four days there are no additional costs; unless you want to buy some of Blue Duck Stations honey or books.

Limited to a maximum of 10 a $500 deposit secures your place.  Limited numbers of own cabins are available at additional cost of $300.  The balance payable 21 days prior.



  • A general level of fitness is required to carry your camera backpack up small, steep and narrow paths and walking on unstable farmland, at times in low light conditions.  Some walks at Blue Duck Station are 30-45 minutes in duration.
  • Walking on slipery wet rocks is also likely plus walking at night in unlight areas at Blue Duck Station.Pre-dawn 30 minute ATV ride to the highest point on the station to capture images of the sun rising above the clouds – spectacular #golden & #bluehour photography

What’s included:

  • Mini-coach return transport Auckland via Hamilton – departing at 7.00am, returning around 5.00pm
  • Pick-up & drop-off at Auckland’s Greenlane/Ellerslie Novotel Ibis hotel
  • Pick-up & drop-off at Hamilton’s The Base Mitre10 Mega carpark and Hamilton Airport
  • All (substantial) meals while away, fully cooked breakfast, lunch, two course dinners with wines
  • Whio Lodge – bunk style warm, cosy, shared accommodation (linen included) Check this link
  • Option of your own Eco bush cabin (linen included but all bathrooms are located at Whio Lodge) a 60 seconds walk away from Whio at additional cost – check this link
  • Our own private lounge to relax in at night for Lightroom & Photoshop session
  • Two photography mentors – Lesley & Meghan Maloney.

Limited to a maximum of 10 a $500 deposit secures your place.  Limited numbers of own room in Eco Cabin available are available at additional cost of $300. Book now by paying your deposit – balance payable by credit card on receipt of invoice 21 days prior to departure.

T&C’s available here

NOTE:  Women in Photography Alumni discount applies to this retreat – enter code at checkout to receive $150 discount.

COVID-19 Information

Women in Photography has the necessary protocols in place to operate under the the COVID-19 Protection Framework red, amber and green levels. For your safety, that of your fellow passengers and those leading leading Women in Photography’s events, we are have robust processes in place to ensure that we can operate safely at red, amber and green levels of the COVID-19 Protection Framework. Click here to know more about this policy and the requirements of you as an attendee.




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Book Event

Sharing a cabin deposit $500

This is the deposit for sharing a cabin with 2 other awesome photographers

Available Tickets: 6
The Sharing a cabin deposit $500 ticket is sold out. You can try another ticket or another date.
I’d like my own cabin - deposit $500

This is the deposit to join this photography retreat and your own Eco cabin (bathrooms are shared across all cabins). NOTE: You will be invoiced an additional $300 on your final invoice for your own cabin.

Available Tickets: 2
The I’d like my own cabin - deposit $500 ticket is sold out. You can try another ticket or another date.


30 Sep 2022 - 03 Oct 2022




Blue Duck Station
Ruapehu District

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