Loved by non-photographers too, our photo tour holidays offer the ultimate, small-group travel experience to the world's most wonderful and unique places - with special access away from the crowds. I love to travel, but I hate being stuck with loads of other people (especially when we've got nothing in common), being taken to the regular, over-crowded tourist attractions or wasting hours in an amazing country just relaxing by some pool. I want to get the most out of my holidays - I want to see as many different animals as I can, I want to travel through different landscapes and be shown hidden gems off the beaten path, I want to experience the culture, taste the food, meet new friends with similar interests, enjoy some luxury and importantly, I want to have the time to take some beautiful and unique photos of it all. This is what we strive for with our photography tours and workshops.
It's not enough for me to spot a distant lion, tick it off and move on - I wan't to have the option to try and get closer, on the correct side for best lighting and even wait for him to lift his head and stare directly down the barrel of my camera lens for a great photo - or to move on when I'm done - I want flexibility. I want the inside tips for the best photo location to be ready when the sun rises over the horizon and spills across the bay onto those boulders - and if I can't quite get my photo to work, it'd be awesome to have a friendly pro-photographer right there to offer advice (not one who'll stand in front of me to get the best shot themselves!). If there's a seal colony out on an island nearby, then I'd want to charter a boat tour out there just with my friends onboard so we can spend as long or as short as we want to get the photos without being crowded on a regular sight-seeing tour. If the seal colony was a bit of a tourist attraction on a local beach then I'd want to wait for the crowds to leave, and go down onto the beach after hours - just us as a small group, and a private ranger guide to photograph them at our leisure in beautiful evening lighting.
You don't even need to be a photographer to love this style of holiday - who wouldn't like a bit of luxury and a bit of extra patience from their tour leaders, or to be given the opportunity to fly over lakes covered in pink flamingos in Africa in a doors-off plane or over a beautiful coastline in a doors-off helicopter for some epic views? Stay on a private island, learn some new skills with your photography, make some new friends and have an unforgettable, unique holiday - all at the same time! Sound good? Well, there's a reason more than half of our guests come back again, and again on our photo tours!
Absolutely not! We have many non-photographers (and partners of photographers) enjoy our tours! As one guest said "It didn’t matter that I’m not a photographer - I used my iPhone. Just experiencing all these amazing locations at a relaxed pace, in comfort and without the crowds was wonderful!". The expert photography tuition is a bonus - the incredible access to experience the best places in a tiny group is the main thing! If you're traveling to take photos, or just as a holiday - in the end, it's all about seeing as many of the amazing animals as possible, experiencing the local food and culture, admiring the landscapes, breathing the fresh air and enjoying the whole unforgettable experience with a small group of friends. Whether or not you put a camera in front of your face doesn't really change this. We've had many non-photographers come on our tour, enjoying just spotting animals, identifying them, or watching their behaviour and by the end of the trip many of them do start picking up a camera (or borrowing one of ours) and start getting excited about photography too! Some have later gone on to become full-on photographers, to the delight of their partners! Either way, they have a ball and often come away with us again and again.
Most photography guests are beginner to keen-enthusiast level - so no need to stress that your photography may not be good enough - the whole point is to improve your photography, no matter what your level! Our tours are enjoyed by everyone from non-photographers, iPhone and happy-snap photographers right up to serious professionals. We start each tour with a quick photography crash-course, and our expert photography guides are there to help you throughout the whole tour. There is no better way to improve your photography than spending a solid week or two practicing, surrounded by amazingly inspiring subjects, with a small, friendly group of like-minded people. You will be amazed how much your photography will improve. We're there to offer as much or as little assistance as you'd like, at whatever level of complexity you're ready for.
The level of physical activity varies for each of our tours, however none involve strenuous hiking or anything like that. In Kenya, for example, the hardest thing you'll have to do is walk to and from your tour vehicle mostly, other destinations involve things like optional snorkelling, or may include short walks or humid conditions. We've had 83 year old guests, guests with bad knees and even heart-conditions do even what we consider our most strenuous tours, so rest assured the tour you're looking at is very likely achievable. If you're concerned, just ask us. The tour information booklet we provide for each tour gives a clearer indication of what's involved for each destination. We're very mindful of the abilities of our guests and can always provide less demanding alternatives for those wishing a break.
For each of our tours, we've carefully prepared (and keep updated) a detailed information booklet covering everything including our recommendations for what kind of camera & lenses we'd consider well suited for that trip, as well as also everything else like clothes, what type of power plug, what currency, what the climate is like, language tips and plenty of other information to help answer all your questions! We'll send you a copy of this information booklet when you book, or you can email us for one in advance. We also have a selection of lenses including telephoto lenses for hire, please email us in advance if you're interested.
We do have a selection of lenses (including macro, wide and telephoto lenses, for both Canon and Nikon) available for hire. Please just ask us about this if you're interested during your booking. There's no need for amazing camera gear though to enjoy our tours - some guests come as non-photographers or just with an iPhone camera and still absolutely love the experience of small-group, luxury and relaxed-pace travel to these very special places. It's up to you how serious you want your photography focus to be, and we do provide an information booklet for each tour including our recommendations for what kind of camera & lenses we'd consider best suited to maximise your photography for each trip. We'll send you a copy of this information booklet when you book, or you can email us for one in advance.
Fear not - more than half of our tour guests travel solo. To help you make friends before you even leave and to be reassured and aided by the advice of your fellow-travellers (and those who have gone before you), we've created an interactive Facebook group for our CBP Voyager Club members (that's anyone who's been on, or is going on any of our tours, which also gives them 10% OFF any future tours!). You can find out who's coming from your area, perhaps even meet up beforehand or fly together. This is a great resource and we encourage you to make the most of it if you're on Facebook! Anyone can read the CBP Voyager Club Facebook page, but you can only interact once you've paid your deposit.
We recommend that you book your flights and travel insurance with our dedicated, friendly travel agent Brenda as she can try and put you on the same flights and accommodations as your fellow travellers pre/post tour. Before you depart you'll be told exact details for who will be meeting you at the airport, holding what sign, and also give you contact phone numbers to call in the unlikely event that you are delayed or plans need to change.
And do not worry that most accommodation is twin-share - we're good at pairing you up with a roomie who you'll get along with - it has been the start of long-term friendships for many! We can't guarantee that we'll always be able to have you sharing with someone of the same sex - it depends on the gender split, but we do our best. You can request to purchase a single supplement (a room to yourself) if you really need to (subject to availability) though keep in mind that you're usually only in your rooms to sleep as we fill your waking hours with plenty to do, and the couple of occasions we have had guests request rooms to themselves, they end up regretting it when they see the amazing friendships that form between the other roomies.
Of course we can - even in places like Kenya we've successfully catered for vegan, gluten-free, lactose-intolerant and vegetarian guests, and all have had a wonderful tour.
Rest assured that we do not travel through any of the major danger hot-spots like those highly warned against in travel advisory boards etc. For example, in Kenya, we do not even pass through downtown Nairobi and we operate completely away from the coast / Mombasa region and the Somali border. The fact that we like to take you to the more tranquil, less-touristy places on our tours conveniently means we only ever spend minimal time in busy, built up areas or large tourist attractions where thieves or terrorists might target - most of the places we stay at are quite rural and private, and you'll quickly feel right at home & safe.
Our cancelation policies are in line with other leading tourism operators, and you can read all about them here in our Booking Terms and Conditions. We are proud to employ industry best-practices such as holding your payments in a trust-fund and have been awarded the T-QUAL tick (Australian Government's national symbol of tourism quality).
The Voyager Club is our photo tour loyalty program! As our photo tours apparently can be very addictive (we've had guests come to more than half a dozen of our tours!), we created the Chris Bray Photography Voyager Club, giving repeat guests 5% OFF future tours with automatic Silver Membership, and then 10% OFF as Gold Members after their fifth tour with us.
Either click the 'Book Now' button above and fill in your details, or simply contact us and let us know which tour you're keen to join us on, and we'll send you a deposit invoice to secure your spot, along with the tour information booklet and our Booking Terms and Conditions.
Our smiling photo guides will meet you at Adelaide Airport and introduce you to each other, and in the afternoon, your flight (included, and already reserved) will streak up and away from Adelaide and have scarcely reached cruising altitude 15 min later when it'll begin the decent to Kangaroo Island, arriving Kingscote! Luxury - especially compared to the slow, heaving car-ferry and associated seasickness that other trips commence with! We’ll jump into the tour mini bus and head to our jaw-dropping accommodation for the next two nights. Island Beach Lodge – words don’t suffice, drool over the photos on their website – our very own private luxury modern mansion overlooking the ocean, nestled into the bush land! After you've settled in, we'll present a brief photography crash-course / refresher and we'll then spend a pleasant evening getting to know each other, unwinding with some amazing local Kangaroo Island wine, cheese and biscuits, and then enjoy a gourmet seafood feast including fresh local prawns, oysters, salad etc. That should set the mood nicely, and also help you get to sleep ready for...
Once you've been brought to life with an early mug of coffee/tea, we're off to 'Duck Lagoon' for sunrise this morning, which is a real favourite Kangaroo Island location of ours. Likely chilly and misty at first, as dawn breaks this lagoon comes to life - black swans slide through the golden veils of sun-lit mist, blue fairy wrens flit from twig to twig, lorikeets, rosella and galah screech and chatter overhead, swallows swoop through the beams of light and if you look to the trees, it shouldn't be hard to find yourself a lazy Koala or two. I love it here, and you'll get some magic shots - there's even some little wooden bird hides along the shore. When we're done, we'll head back to our accommodation for breaky. Next up it's all aboard our privately booked boat from Kangaroo Island Marine Adventures but with a bit of a twist: We know the operator, and we've got a special photography trip planned, taking you to some stunning locations, also to see some sea lions (seals), various birds, and also out to hopefully find the resident pod of wild dolphins, which usually come right up and play with the boat - or your waterproof camera on a stick! Amazingly, you can even jump in and swim with them if you dare, and they just hang around, without ever being fed or bribed. It's an unforgettable experience, not to mention the photos! While cold in the water, we'll revive you with hot drinks and lunch onboard before we then we're off in the minibus again back to our Lodge for a tutorial on using Adobe Lightroom to keep your photos organised and tweaked to perfection. After an early dinner we’ll head out to the wonderfully remote Pennington Bay where clambering around on the rocks here you can get some fantastic photos of the headlands, the movement of the waves, practice getting tufts of spinifex up close to add some depth to your landscape shots etc. After we’ll drive back to the lodge and have a wonderful nights sleep, unless you want to stay up and try for some star-trail photos with me - I'll show you how.
We're up early this morning heading out in our private mini bus to a wonderful sunrise shooting. When the light gets a little harsh, we'll head back to our lodge to enjoy a tasty breakfast, pack our bags and checkout. We’ll head on to the Stokes Bay Bush Garden. Bursting with over 1,100 plant species, this amazing and unique collection of plants and flowers spread over a three dreamy hectares is a wonderful place to loose yourself with a macro lens for a few hours, practice flash work, or try for one of the many visiting birds with a longer lens. Later we'll head back to Stokes Bay and slip through literally a crack in the rocks to reveal a concealed beach for some more macro & other photos before eating a tasty lunch at the Rockpool café. It’s not long before we're off in the minibus, heading over towards the SW side of Kangaroo Island. 'Raptor Domain' is where we've scheduled a private free-flight bird showing, presenting you with some excellent opportunities to get some perfect bird portraits, of species like wedge tailed eagles that you'd never normally get close enough to see and admire, let alone photograph. After this we head on towards 'Seal Bay'. Here we've organised another very special treat - after the beach has closed to the regular tourists (ie just when the lighting starts to become perfect for photography!) we'll be escorted by our own park ranger down onto the sand, photographing up close and personal with dozens of sea lions at our leisure. Wonderful! Our accommodation for the next two nights are two houses next door to each other at the quaint beachside village of Vivonne Bay (voted best beach in Australia a few years ago based on the whiteness of it's sand, the clarity if the water etc). We'll unpack and unwind here before our tasty BBQ catered dinner.
It'll be an early start this morning when we all jump in the mini bus and drive 10mins down the road to 'Vivonne Bay wharf' to capture the local wharf in the morning light, reaching out into the blue water. It’s a beautiful sunrise location! After breakfast back at the house, we’ll head down the road to the Kelly Hill Caves where we've negotiated special access with our own guide, to take us underground for an unhurried photography experience before the regular tour groups start filing through. We can take our time lighting up the impressive stalactites, turn off all the lights and do some cool light-painting effects in the pitch dark. Once back at the house in the late morning, we'll organize some one-on-one photo sessions - a chance to see how everyone's photos are looking, and provide some friendly feedback and ideas. Lunch is at Hanson Bay Cafe, and afterwards, we'll go for a stroll through the local Koala walk, where you're guaranteed to find some of the lazy grey bundles in the trees to photograph, sometimes quite close to ground level. The area is also alive with bird-life! Eventually we'll have to pull you way to head on to the Lighthouse in Flinders Chase National Park, pausing on the way at a special little spot we found where kangaroos and geese like to pose for photos. We'll also visit the famous rock formation 'Admirals Arch' for some silhouette shots. Keep and eye out amongst the rocks for some New Zealand Fur Seals too. When the light starts to spice up a little we'll head over to the iconic rock formation famously known as 'The Remarkables'! It really is quite remarkable, wandering in and around these immense and impossibly sculpted, balanced rocks overlooking the ocean. The photo opps are endless, and by the time the sunset colours paint the sky you'll have found your favourite spot and hopefully capture some truly remarkable photos! We'll have a catered picnic dinner here on the rock itself before heading home for a well earned sleep!
It's your call this morning – most of you will love the idea of a slightly slower start this morning, while some of you ‘early birds’ might love to venture out in the pre-dawn light to capture the sunset over the gorgeous Vivonne Bay, just down the road.
We'll have another fantastic cooked breakfast before packing up and driving north, up to Emu Bay. The dolphin cruise of the first day is always such a memorable highlight for our guests, so today we’ve arranged another unique boat charter experience – this time along the incredible north coast to visit a sea lion colony! It’s sure to be another highlight! This will be a beautiful day out on the water and may even provide the opportunity to hop in the water and snorkel with the playful and inquisitive sea lions! Keep an eye out for sea eagles, peregrine falcons and wedge-tailed eagles too as we cruise along the stunning coastline, dramatic cliffs and beaches. And of course, there is always the chance of more curious dolphins keen to play alongside the boat!
We’ll find a lovely spot to pull in for lunch before heading back along this amazing section of coastline, and then onto our ‘home-away-from-home’ – Island Beach Lodge. Tonight we’ll celebrate what has been an amazing tour with another equally amazing dinner prepared by our chef, Sue. For anyone that still has energy, it’s worth setting up for a star trail after dinner too!
You're not going to want to do anything this morning except enjoy the luxury of our accommodation, sleep in a little and enjoy, enjoy the view (or go out and shoot it if you wish!) before an in-house gourmet breaky. All too soon we'll have to pack up and head into Kingscote, where we'll drop you off at the airport for your departure back to the hustle and bustle of Adelaide, and eventually, back home. You'll be on a high for days though, and still sorting out your thousands of photos for months, and best of all, remain a better photographer for the rest of your life from the lessons learnt and experience gained from the last 5 unforgettable days on Kangaroo Island!
IMPORTANT - Ensure you have read our Tour Booking Conditions prior to booking. A copy will be sent with your deposit invoice, and must be signed and returned to us (an emailed scan/photo of your signed copy will suffice), before we accept and confirm your booking. The document covers everything from your rights, inclusions and payment schedule, to our cancellation policy and extent of liability.
All our tours are subject to minimum numbers. Please ensure you have read our tour Booking Conditions for our cancellation policy (above).
We believe late October early November is the best time of year to Photograph Kangaroo Island - it's a balance between the likelihood of the best weather, the clarity of the water, quietness, and being Spring there's a beautiful display of flowers (except for the lavender farms which will be mostly green at this time hence we don't visit).
We also believe that in order to present you with the best photographic locations at the very best times, we can not be based from the same accommodation the whole time. While still 'compact' it takes perhaps two hours to drive from one side to the other, and pre-dawn and post-dusk Kangaroo Island is alive with wildlife on the (often gravel) roads. Trying to base the whole tour from one location yet still try and get you to the furthest reaches for the magic dawn and dusk lighting not only means you'll be having extremely long days and early pitch-dark starts, but it's just too dangerous on the roads, or of course the other option is that you simply don't get on location at the best times, which we don't feel is an option. For this reason we divide our time between the West and the East side of Kangaroo island, to give you the best experience possible.
The price of the tour does not include flights from your hometown to Adelaide, nor your return flight back home. However, the price DOES include the return flight from Adelaide to Kingscote, Kangaroo Island, flying REX airlines.
All meals and drinks are provided, and most dinners will be accompanied by a glass of fine local Kangaroo Island wine or beer. However excessive beverages must be purchased at your own expense.
Physical Activity - There won't be any strenuous hiking, but a reasonable level of mobility and fitness will be required to find the best photography spots amongst those orange boulders, walk down the seal beach, through the cave and things like that. The walks to seal bay, remarkable rocks, admirals arch and Kelly Hill Caves are all paved but are on a slight incline and do involve long sets of steep stairs, especially the cave. However, these walks are all optional and if you feel it's to far out of your comfort zone there will be other things to photograph near by! And we're in no hurry anyway, so you can take your time, using the excuse "Oh, I think 'pant' that I should 'pant' stop and take a photo of this..."
After you book, we will email you an extensive information document telling you everything you need to know from what camera gear to bring, mobile coverage, etc.
A non-refundable, non-transferable $1,000 booking deposit is required.