2024 Australia Photo Tour

Astrophotography in the Outback

Join us for an Australia Photo Tour to capture some of the impressive and remote locations of the Australian Outback, the most ancient land known to humankind.

We are running this Australia astrophotography tour from September 27th – October 5th, 2024, during the best time to photograph the Australian Outback, enjoy dark nights, and capture the outstanding Southern Hemisphere Milky Way arch.


Our Australian Outback photo tour will take you through some of the darkest skies in the world, and you’ll see the sky the way the first Aboriginal Australians saw it tens of thousands of years ago.

From the dry land and Lunettes of Mungo National Park to the pinky waters of Lake Tyrrell, this Australia photo tour is mainly focused on capturing the best moments of light during the day and making the most out of the dark skies of the New South Wales Outback. To ensure we are close to the best Australian Outback locations and don’t miss any photo opportunities, we will stay in comfortable hotels close to the locations we will be photographing.

We’ll personally help you capture the best possible images, and we’ll show you the best techniques to shoot day and night landscapes, so you can return home with a greater knowledge of photography, and of course, unforgettable memories.

Milky Way arch over windmill silhouette in the Australian Outback


    • Photo tour from September 27th– October 5th, 2024 (2 LAST SPOTS!)
    • Group size: 12 participants + 2 instructors
    • Main topics: Landscape and astrophotography
    • Main areas: NSW Australian Outback
    • Best time of the year to capture Milky Way Arch panoramas
    • Private rooms included
    • Private Milky Way tours in the Mungo “Walls of China” with local guide
    • Advanced Milky Way photography instruction and editing sessions

Download the official Australia Photo Tour brochure

Australia astrophotography tour brochure

2024 Australian Outback Photo Tour Itinerary

The itinerary for our Australian Outback photo tour is flexible and will be adjusted according to the weather conditions so you can make the most out of this trip.

This tour is highly focused on astrophotography, and it will take place during the best time of the year to capture the Milky Way arch in the Australian Outback. Our galaxy will be visible from 9 PM until 1 AM, which gives us plenty of time to photograph the Milky Way.

This time of year also allows us to photograph Orion and the Summer Milky Way later in the night. If the weather conditions are conducive to a productive night photography session, we might adapt the morning sessions so we can have more time to sleep.

DAY 1: Australian Outback Photo Tour – Sept 27th

Our Australia photo tour will begin at the Red Earth Motel in Broken Hill, where we’ll meet with the group at 12:00 PM

Broken Hill is a large mining town in the far west of the NSW outback. Settled in the late 19th century, there are a lot of historic and abandoned buildings. Here, you can also find the iconic red clay dirt associated with the Australian Outback.

After the meet and greet, we will do our first orientation session, where we’ll go over the tour itinerary and details. Then, we’ll do a gear review to ensure everything is ready for our first-night photography session.

We’ll do the sunset at Silverton, an old mining town where Mad Max 2 was filmed and where you can find plenty of abandoned buildings and cars. 

To end our day, we’ll do our first-night photography session either at the iconic Red Hill Motel or Silverton depending on the shooting conditions.

DAY 2-3: Australian Outback Photo Tour – Sept 28-29th

On the next day of our Australian Outback astrophotography tour, we’ll leave Silverton and Broken Hill and drive around 60 miles (100km) to the Menindee Lakes.

The Menindee Lakes have been home to aboriginal camps in the past and were also used as a base camp by the first European explorers as they forged their way across the Australian Outback and the rest of the continent.

This area also features a forest of flooded eucalyptus trees that rise above the water with their tall and slender shape.

The lakes’ water level depends mainly on rainfall. Our main goal is to get close to the trees; where you can capture spectacular images of the dead trees in over some of the darkest skies in the Southern Hemisphere.

This area offers so many compositions and possibilities that we’ll spend two days exploring and maximizing the chances of capturing unique images.

DAY 4-5-6: Australian Outback Photo Tour – Sept 30th – Oct 2nd

On the next days of our Australian Outback photo tour, after breakfast, we’ll check out of our hotel and head over to one of the main highlights of the trip, Mungo National Park!

Mungo National Park is 2.5 hours away from Menindee and is a significant site for all of humanity due to its archaeological value. This UNESCO World Heritage area contains the oldest remains discovered in Australia and the second oldest in the world. It’s also where the oldest cremation ever was found.

The site is not only historically significant, but it’s also visually stunning. The dry lakes have allowed the wind to form huge sand dunes and clay deposits called Lunettes.

During our first two days in Mungo, we’ll do a private sunset and Milky Way tour at the Walls of China with a local guide. This is one of the most spectacular areas in the park, which is restricted to the public, and we’ll have the privilege of photographing the night skies over the spectacular formations of Mungo.

The compositions are endless, so we’ll have the chance to maximize the photo opportunities in this spectacular and restricted area by visiting it twice!

Apart from the spectacular sunsets on this area, it also offers the opportunity to capture both the Winter and Summer Milky Way arches.

On our last day in Mungo, we’ll start the day with an editing class where we’ll edit some of the photos captured during the photo tour. In this editing session, we’ll teach you how to do advanced techniques such as stitching tracked Milky Way panoramas and editing to extract the most detail out of the shots.

Later, we will explore new areas, such as the Red Top Lookout or different sand dunes. The Red Top Lookout is an unbeatable vantage point, offering a bird’s eye view of the park’s remarkable deep ravine, erosion, and textured landscape, as well as the drying Willandra Lakes.

For Sunset and Astro, we’ll visit a different and remote location where we’ll most likely be on our own with beautiful sand dunes and more lunettes where we can capture more unique images and Milky Way shots.

Milky Way arch over sand dune in Mungo National park in the Australian Outback

DAY 7-8: Australian Outback Photo Tour – Oct 3-4th

On the last two full days of our Australian Outback photo tour, we’ll photograph the majestic Lake Tyrrell.

Lake Tyrrell is a shallow salt lake located about 3.5 hours away from Mungo National Park and is renowned for its vibrant pink color and mirror-like reflections. Photographing the Milky Way from Lake Tyrrell is a surreal experience, as you can see the stars and our galaxy when looking at the sky and the ground. This illusion is only broken by a few salt formations and mining tools that can be found scattered across the lake.

This 120,000-year-old lake is regarded as one of the best places in Australia for stargazing. The dark skies here provide the perfect setting to enjoy the dazzling sight of the Southern Hemisphere’s constellations.

It’s also a paradise for abstract aerial images. Here, drone pictures from the air capture the unique colors, shapes, and textures of the different parts of the lake.

During the two days in the area, we’ll explore different parts of the lake for sunset and unforgettable Milky Way sessions. During this time, we’ll also do a second editing class where we’ll show you new techniques to unlock the full potential of your RAW images!

DAY 9: Australian Outback Photo tour – Oct 5th

After waking up on the last day in Lake Tyrrell, we’ll pack up and drive to Mildura Airport, where we’ll wrap up this Australian Outback photo tour. If you are flying, make sure not to book any return flights before 1 PM since it’s a 2.5-hour drive from Lake Tyrrell to Mildura Airport.

Kangaroos in Australian Outback

PRICE: $5,700 USD

Deposit: $2,000 USD

A $2,000 USD deposit is required to reserve your spot for this workshop. You can also pay in full at any time. The remaining balance is due 4 months before the start of the tour If the remaining balance is not paid in full by the due date, you will lose your spot.



    • Accommodation in hotels with private rooms
    • Photo guide services from John Rutter & JL Cantabrana, local experts, and professional landscape and astrophotographers
    • Two Sunset and Milky Way private tours in Mungo National Park
    • One private photo session at the Red Hill Hotel



    • Flights to/from Broken Hill Airport & Mildura
    • Transportation & Gas
    • Meals
    • Health/travel insurance (We can help you purchase the best travel insurance according to your needs)
    • Telephone, personal expenses, tips, etc. and any other service not mentioned in the “INCLUDED” section

NOTE: We will help you coordinate the share of car rentals with other participants. You can read more information in the transportation section below.



David McEldowney
David McEldowneyGREAT TOUR!
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The Capture the Atlas team did an exemplary of facilitating the photo shoots and helping with post-processing during our trip in Australia. They provided hands-on instruction, as needed, to ensure that we were getting the pictures we needed to produce fantastic Milky Way panoramas and also some very interesting single shots.
Geoff Sharpe
Read More
In October of 2023, I took the Outback Photography Tour with Dan Zafra, Ascen and John Rutter. The dark sky sites were impressive as the Milky Way Galaxy and Magenellic Clouds were naked eye visible as was the Zodiacal Light.
Hemi Patel
Read More
Capture the Atlas Australian Astro Workshop has some fantastic locations and amazing dark skies. The Tour leaders Dan, John and Ascen were awesome. It was great to live and breath photography for an entire week with people who share the same passion.

What will I learn during this Australian Outback photo Tour?

This workshop is focused on Milky Way photography, from the basics to more advanced. Considering you will already have a good foundation in this type of photography, you should progress very quickly during the workshop. Your instructors are professional landscape astrophotographers with extensive experience who will help you take your photography to the next level.

*Note: As soon as you sign up for this workshop, you will have access to Dan’s full Capture the Milky Way course, which will give you the perfect knowledge base before you join this astrophotography workshop.

    • Some of the photography basics you can learn during the workshop are:

    • Getting comfortable shooting different types of landscapes and photos in manual mode
    • Adjusting the best camera settings in each situation
    • Familiarizing yourself with the basics of night and Milky Way photography
    • Enhancing your compositions with the best techniques 
    • Designing your own shooting workflow to be more effective in the field 
    • Photographing daytime and night panoramas
    • Advanced Milky Way image planning and scouting– finding the best spots at the best time
    • Creating powerful nightscape compositions that engage the viewer
    • Designing your own effective workflow for shooting at night
    • Creating blue hour and long exposure blends to capture more quality
    • Focus stacking close foregrounds to bring out all the details
    • The best star-tracking techniques– operating your tracker with confidence
    • Tracking Milky Way panoramas
    • Setting Auto Trackers like the Benro Polaris

Some of the post-processing techniques that you can learn with the included tutorials are:

    • Image preparation in post-processing
    • Stacking using Starry Landscape Stacker
    • Advanced panorama stitching using PTGui Pro
    • Noise reduction techniques and plugins
    • All types of blendings (exposure, focal length, focus, etc.)
    • Advanced star reduction
    • Milky Way structure
    • Extraction of the night sky’s natural color
    • H-alpha simulation
    • Airglow enhancing

John will be the tour leader of this Australian Outback photo tour. John is an Australian expert astrophotographer whose passion for photography is only surpassed by his knowledge of the Australian Outback. He will help you make the most out of every location and take the best possible photos.

During his photography career, John has inspired countless photographers to discover the wonders of the Australian Outback, having led more photo tours here in the past with Capture the Atlas. He is also an avid educator who has helped thousands of astrophotographers through courses, presentations, and his YouTube channel.

John is also an avid explorer who knows the outback like the palm of his hand. He spends longs periods of time every year in these regions exploring and photographing new locations on his special astrophotography truck, “4ASTRO”.

JL Cantabrana is a professional photographer based in Sydney, Australia. He has lived and traveled all around the world, and he is an expert in long-exposure and night photography.

Apart from shooting, Jose’s passion is sharing his knowledge with others, and he has been running photography tours worldwide over the last few years in places like Iceland and around Australia.

JL will help you master your Milky Way photography in the Australian Outback while capturing sand dunes, dramatic wastelands, and the dazzling Southern Hemisphere constellations.

You’ve probably seen Capture the Atlas in…

What to bring on an Australian Outback Photo tour?

A complete list of everything that we recommend for this tour is sent to all participants upon sign-up. Below, you can find a summary of things you might need:

Photography Gear
    • A mirrorless or DSLR camera
    • A sturdy tripod and a remote shutter
    • A wide-angle lens, from 14 to 35 mm
    • A medium zoom lens, such as 35-50 mm
    • A star-tracker
    • A camera bag to transport all your equipment
    • Glow-in-the-dark tape for your tripod
    • A headlamp
    • An L-bracket to shoot vertical images
    • A laptop for the post-processing lessons

*While zoom lenses are fine for this workshop, prime lenses are recommended for Milky Way tracking. Some of the best lenses in this range are the 20, 24, 28, 35, 40, & 50 mm f/1.4 or f/1.8.

You can get them either from your camera brand or from third-party manufacturers like Sigma or Rokinon (Samyang).

This photography workshop focuses on Milky Way nightscapes, but we will also photograph other highlights of the Outback including his unique wildlife, such as Red Kangaroos, Emus, Lizards, birds, Echidnas, etc.

Photograph Kangaroos in Australia Photo Tour


Temperatures in the Australian Outback during late September and early October are mild, ranging from 53 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (12-27º C), and rain is rare. However, some nights can be windy, making the temperature feel a bit cooler.

For this reason, we recommend bringing the following clothing:

    • Several layers to wear at night (base layer, fleece, windproof layer)
    • A good pair of breathable boots (to protect your feet and ankles while hiking in terrain like salt flats or sand dunes)
    • A light hat and gloves for the night photography sessions in case it gets cold

The currency in Australia is the Australian Dollar (AUD). We highly recommend getting Australian Dollars in your home country, although, if that is not possible, you can always exchange currency at the airport.

Credit and debit cards are accepted in most places in Australia, no matter how small the amount, so you don’t need much cash for the trip. We do recommend taking $100-200 just in case.


If you are traveling to Australia from a foreign country, you must obtain an ETA. This document allows you to enter Australia as a tourist if you have an eligible passport. Also, make sure to check specific requirements when traveling to Australia from your home country.

We can help you with this process.


During this Australian Outback photo tour, we will be staying in the best hotels close to the photo locations, in single occupancy rooms with private bathrooms.

There is a $1,000 USD discount if you are traveling as a couple sharing the same room ($500 USD per person).


All photography locations are close to the parking lot, so there won’t be much hiking in this astrophotography tour. The only exception is Mungo National Park, where we’ll do a short 1.2-mile (2km) round-trip hike.

You should consider that we will be walking on uneven terrain, such as sand or rocks, so we recommend bringing comfortable hiking boots with good ankle support.

This tour is packed with a lot of shooting, driving, and activities, so we recommend being in good physical shape to enjoy the experience.


What Expenses should you consider for this Australian Outback Photo Tour?


If you are flying, the trip will begin at Broken Hill, so we recommend flying into Broken Hill Airport (BHQ). The endpoint is Mildura Airport  (MQL) for your trip back home.

The best and quickest way to get to Broken Hill is to fly from Sydney, which is a 2.5-hour flight, or from Adelaide, which is a 1.5 hour flight.

For Mildura, the main flights are also from Sydney, which is a 2.5-hour flight, or from Melbourne, which is a 1.5-hour flight.

The distance by car between Broken Hill & Mildura is about 3 hours if you decide to fly in and out from the same location.

Airline and ticket prices depend on the schedule and airport of departure, but flying from Sydney is approximately $400-500 USD.


Meals are not included except for the two private tours in the Mungo Walls of China where we’ll provide picnic-style dinners. Most days, we will eat snacks/picnic to maximize the time for photography and do a big lunch/dinner in one of the local restaurants.

We recommend preparing to spend about $60-$80 USD on food per day.


Transportation and fuel costs are not included during the tour. Our tour leader, John, will be leading the trip caravan with his truck, which is fully equipped for the Outback with a special bumper, radio, and first aid kit.

You can rent cars both in Broken Hill and Mildura Airports, and the main companies offer the chance to pick-up the car at Broken Hill Airport and return it at Mildura airport.

To share car rentals and minimize the cost and impact of the trip, we create a chat group where you can coordinate with other participants.

Roads are very straight and easy to drive in Australia, but please consider that we’ll be traveling on some dirt roads, and it’s a requirement for the trip to bring a high-clearance vehicle like an SUV.

Also, keep in mind that we will drive on the left side of the road if you are not from Australia.

All wheel drive type of car cruising into the horizon in a bright sunset in the Australian Outback

What makes this Australia Photo Tour unique?


Our workshops are completely centered on photography: finding the best moments of light during the day and at night, and creating an intensive experience that is conducive to learning and taking the best images.


Our Australia Photo Tour is limited to small groups with a ratio of no more than 6 students per instructor. This is also an important factor for providing the attentive instruction you need during the tour.


This photography tour is the only one of its kind , there are currently no other astrophotography tours being held in the NSW Australian Outback with this level of detail. We will be traveling with an experienced Australian photographer, and we will also rely on aboriginal guides for some locations.


We will design your photography plan and provide you with materials before, during, and after the workshop so the learning process is not limited to just the tour.


We have spent years designing national and international photo tours with successful results, helping photographers with everything from the simple task of getting off Auto to the ambitious goal of capturing complex images. Dan’s online courses have also helped more than 600 photographers over the last few years.


Beyond the photography, our photography tours help build strong bonds that last forever. After our trip, you’ll feel like you have been with a group of friends rather than on a standard tour. We are thankful to have plenty of repeat clients who keep traveling and learning with us.

Frequent questions about our Australia Photo tour

You don’t need to be an expert astrophotographer to join this tour, but a good foundation in Milky Way photography is ideal to make the most of the experience.

You should be able to manage your camera comfortably at night, be familiar with the best settings, and know how to focus on the stars at night and edit Milky Way images.

If you plan to track, it doesn’t matter if you have never used a star tracker before. We will show you all the steps so you can start taking your first Milky Way tracked images.

If you are an advanced astrophotographer, you’ll learn some top-notch techniques to track complex Milky Way panoramas with different blendings and at longer focal lengths and work on some specific post-processing techniques.

All the places that we will visit during this Australian Outback photo tour are very close to the road and parking lots, and we won’t be walking long distances. The only exception is Mungo National Park where we will do a 1.2-mile (2km) round-trip hike.

However, we will be driving, walking, and shooting a lot during the tour, especially at night to make the most of the dark skies of the Outback. Most of the terrain we will be walking on is rocky and/or sandy, so we recommend being in good physical shape to enjoy this experience to the fullest.

There is no age limit. This trip is perfect for anyone over 18 years old who wants to photograph the Milky Way in Australia with us.

Non-photographer companions are welcome to join the tour, and they need to book a spot under the same price and conditions as any other participant. (We don’t allow non-participant companions tagging along with the group). We have had plenty of non-photographer companions over the years and all of them enjoyed an amazing experience. As long as they enjoy nature, beautiful landscapes, and are a bit patient with the schedules of a photo tour, joining the trip can be a great experience regardless of the photography.

While not mandatory, having a star tracker is highly recommended.

There are four main models that we recommend for this workshop (any other trackers would also work):

You can also find more options in our best star-trackers list.

Our Happy Students!

I’ve had the opportunity to work with and help countless photographers over the last years:

Joined Dan, Ascen, and John Rutter on an Outback Astrophotography Trip in Oct 2023. We saw amazing skies, photography locations, and the teaching was top notch. I loved every minute. If you have the chance, go and see the Australian Outback's dark skies. There's nothing better in the world! You won't regret it.
Manjul Argawal
2023 Australia Photo Tour
During our 2023 Australian Outback asotrphotography tour, we had the priviledge to see some great locations, both during the day and at night. The night skies in the Outback are something out of this world; so dark and clear. Our tour leaders did and outstanding job as well, helping each participant individually and teaching us the best techniques to get stunning Milky Way photos.
David Marriott
2023 Australia Photo Tour
The Capture the Atlas team did an exemplary of facilitating the photo shoots and helping with post-processing during our trip to the Australian Outback. The spots they picked to shoot were spectacular with lots of interesting foregrounds. They provided hands-on instruction, as needed, to ensure that we were getting the pictures we wanted to produce. We shot some fantastic Milky Way panoramas and also some very interesting single shots. I highly recommend Capture the Atlas and I plan to do several more trips.
David McEldowney
2023 Australia Photo Tour
In October of 2023, I took the Australian Outback Photography Tour with Dan Zafra, Ascen and John Rutter. We visited some great dark sky locations. The dark sky sites were impressive as the Milky Way and Magellanic Clouds were visible to the naked eye. The Bortle 1 skies on this tour were very impressive. We had a good group of nightscape photographers, ranging from expert to beginners and everyone went home with great images. Compliments to Dan, Ascen and especially John who's local knowledge, bush craft, and astrophotography expertise provided an awesome resource of knowledge.
Geoff Sharpe
2023 Australia Photo Tour
Capture the Atlas Australian Astro Workshop has some fantastic locations and amazing dark skies. The Tour leaders Dan, John and Ascen were awesome. It was great to live and breath photography for an entire week with people who share the same passion. Ive been following Dans Astro stuff from his very early days and I cannot recommend Capture the Atlas enough. I've booked to go on another workshop in November!
Hemi Patel
2023 Australia Photo Tour
What an experience with Dan and Capture the Atlas! I struggle to find other words to describe the almost week-long adventure. Between the breath-taking landscapes and incredible Milky Way views offered by the area and the sincere and approachable teachings and guidance of Dan and his team, I was blown away. I think my favorite part was that I left feeling excited and inspired to get out and shoot more. I HIGHLY recommend Dan and Capture the Atlas if you're looking to get into landscape or astrophotography or if you're already into it and want to learn/explore more!
Lauren Laspisa
Capture the Atlas delivered. Our group had a wide range of experience, from professional photographers to amateurs like me. They were very well prepared, had backup plans for weather and provided good communication before, during and after the workshop. Not only did I learn to take Milky Way photographs, but I learned to improve my general photography skills and learned more about my camera’s functions. The group of people was great, too. Everybody worked well together, sharing tips and great moments. This was a great experience and it exceeded my expectation. I’m looking forward to doing more workshops in the future.
Bob Hurley
I already had relatively high expectations after going through Dan's excellent milky way post processing course online. The trip exceeded my expectations. Not only were Dan and Daniel extremely knowledgeable about techniques and locations, they were also great to hang out with. By the end of the workshop I was able to track a full milky way arch panorama at 35 mm. The locations that we visited would have taken me months to find on my own and were spectacular.
Hiram Shaish

Join the expedition


This tour is governed by these Terms and Conditions.

Astrophotography in the Australian Outback is something that you have to experience. Imagine no buildings, no cars, no cities…just billions of stars over some of the most impressive skies in the world to shoot our cosmos.

Add to this the stunning landscapes, formations, and lakes of the Outback, and you have the perfect ingredients for unique images.

Be ready to take your astrophotography to a whole new level in one of the best places in the world!