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2023 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 October 11-19, 2023, during the best time to photograph the Australian Outback, enjoy dark nights, and capture the outstanding Southern Hemisphere Milky Way arch.

Milky Way arch over an abandoned house in the Australian Outback

OVERVIEW

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 calm 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.

Tree in the Australian Outback during a colorful sunset

Australia PHOTO TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

    • Photo tour from October 11-19, 2023
    • Group size: 11 participants + 3 instructors
    • Main topics: Landscape and night photography
    • Main areas: NSW Australian Outback
    • Best time of the year to capture Milky Way Arch panoramas
    • Private rooms included
    • Transportation included during the photo tour
    • Private Milky Way tour in the Mungo “Walls of China” with an aboriginal guide
    • Advanced Milky Way photography instruction and editing sessions

Download the official Australia Photo Tour brochure

2023 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 advanced astrophotography techniques, 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.

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 Oct 11th

Our Australia photo tour will begin at the Broken Hill Airport, where we’ll pick you up by 1:30 PM and meet with the rest of the group at our accommodation in Broken Hill.

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 quick gear review to ensure everything is ready for our night photography session.

To end our day, we’ll do our first night photography session, then return to the hotel to prepare for the next day.

Milky Way arch over an abandoned house in the Australian Outback with intense green airglow

DAY 2: Australian Outback Photo Tour – October 12th

On the second day of our Australian Outback photo tour, we’ll start the day by photographing the sunrise at the historic town of Silverton, which perfectly captures the charm of the Outback.

We’ll walk on the same land where some of the first Australian aboriginal tribal groups roamed thousands of years ago. We’ll also visit the never-ending Mundi Mundi Plains, which served as the perfect setting in the post-apocalyptic movie Mad Max.

Right before sunset, we’ll explore abandoned buildings in Silverton, which will serve as the perfect foreground for our Milky Way session later that night. This area boasts some of the darkest skies on Earth.

Milky Way arch over a desert in Australia

DAY 3: Australian Outback Photo Tour – October 13th

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; however, we’ve prepared composition ideas for shooting from the shoreline if the water level is too high.

After we leave our luggage at the hotel, we’ll photograph the sunset and the Milky Way at the Menindee Lakes.

Menindee lakes with dead eucalyptus forest during a colorful sunset

Colorful sunset at Menindee lakes in the Australian Outback

Milky Way arch over the Menindee lakes with some trees in the foreground

DAY 4: Australian Outback Photo Tour – October 14th

On the fourth day of our Australian Outback photo tour, we will start the day photographing the sunrise at the Menindee Lakes, then eat breakfast and check out of our hotel.  After that, we’ll 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.

After leaving our luggage at the accommodation, we’ll do a private sunset and Milky Way tour at the Walls of China with an aboriginal guide. This is one of the most spectacular areas in the park, which is restricted to the public, and we’ll have the privilege to photograph the night skies over the spectacular formations of Mungo.

Lunettes with a textured foreground in Mungo National park in the Australian Outback

Milky Way arch and intense airglow over a lunette in Mungo National Park in the Australian Outback

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

DAY 5: Australian Outback Photo Tour – October 15th

On the next day of our Australia photo tour, we will explore new areas in Mungo National Park 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.

We’ll photograph the sunset and take this opportunity to scout for compositions to photograph the Milky Way that same night.

Lunettes in Mungo National Park during blue hour

Two kangaroos keeping watch in the Australian Outback

Milky Way arch over windmill silhouette in the Australian Outback

DAY 6: Australian Outback Photo tour – October 16th

On the sixth day of our Australian Outback photo tour, we’ll photograph one last sunrise at Mungo National Park, then after breakfast, we’ll head over to our next location.

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.

After checking in to our hotel, we’ll head out to the lake to photograph the sunset and get ready to photograph the Milky Way.

Sunset light reflected over the shallow and calm waters of Lake Tyrrell in the Australian Outback

Colorful and dramatic sunset reflected over the calm waters of Lake Tyrrell in the Australian Outback

Soft golden sunset light reflected over shallow salt lake

DAY 7: Australian Outback Photo Tour – October 17th

On the next day of our Australian Outback photo tour, we’ll keep exploring the Lake Tyrrell Wildlife Reserve area, looking for unique salt formations that will make for the perfect subjects to photograph alongside the Milky Way.

During this day, we’ll do an editing class with 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.

At night, we’ll head out once again to photograph the Milky Way one last time in Lake Tyrrell.

Milky Way and stars reflected over Lake Tyrrell with the silhouette of a woman in the middle of the image

DAY 8: Australian Outback Photo Tour – October 18th

On the eighth day of our Australian Outback photo tour, we’ll photograph the sunrise at Lake Tyrrell, then eat breakfast before making the 3-hour drive to our final location of the trip, Wentworth.

Wentworth is a region of great diversity, and it offers the opportunity to see magnificent ancient eucalyptus trees, plenty of wildflowers, and fauna such as kangaroos and blue finches.

After leaving our luggage in the hotel, we will explore the Perry Sandhills, located just outside of Wentworth. These sandhills originated after an ice age thousands of years ago. This site has immense archaeological value since the sand dunes are constantly shifting and uncovering prehistoric remains of giant mega-fauna and aboriginal settlements.

We will shoot our last sunset and Milky Way of the trip here at the Perry Sandhills before going back to our hotel to rest for the night.

Sand dunes on a clear day with blue skies

Sand dunes on a clear day with blue skies and diffused soft light

DAY 9: Australian Outback Photo Tour – OCtober 19th

After waking up on the last day in Wentworth, we’ll pack up and drive back to Broken Hill Airport where we’ll wrap up this Australian Outback photo tour. Make sure not to book any return flights before 1 PM since it’s a 2.5-hour drive from Wentworth to Broken Hill Airport.

Sand dunes with bushes during a clear day with blue skies

PRICE: $6,900 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.

WHAT DOES THE PRICE INCLUDE?

INCLUDED

    • Pick-up and Drop-off at Broken Hill airport (BHQ)
    • Transportation during the trip
    • Gas and parking fees
    • Accommodation in hotels with private rooms
    • Sunset and Milky Way private tour in Mungo National Park
    • Photo guide services from Dan Zafra, John Rutter, & Ascen Aynat, professional landscape and astrophotographers

*Bonus

NOT INCLUDED

  • Flights to/from Broken Hill Airport
  • 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: Passenger vans are not available for rent in the Australian Outback, so, for driving, we will need a driver from our group so that we can travel comfortably in 4 vehicles. We will offer a discount of $250 USD off the trip price to the driving volunteer. Roads are very straight and easy to drive in Australia and the vehicles we will be driving will most likely have automatic transmissions, but please consider that we will drive on the left side of the road if you are not from Australia.

What will I learn during this Australian Outback photo Tour?

This workshop is focused on advanced Milky Way photography. 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.

    • 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

Your instructor on this AUstralia Photo Tour

Dan will be the tour leader throughout this Australian photo workshop. He will make sure that you get the best photography results and experience out of this tour, as well as help you with composition, technique, and post-processing in your Milky Way images using advanced methods and star trackers.

He is an experienced astrophotographer with years of experience and has had his work published by renowned organizations such as National Geographic, Forbes, NASA, and more.

Dan’s mission is to help others discover, learn, and master their Milky Way photography. He has spent years pursuing this passion, both online through articles, guides, and ebooks, and offline on his signature photo tours.

He’s also the creator of the popular “Capture the Atlas Milky Way Calendars,” which help 50,000+ photographers plan their shots around the world every year, and the creator and curator of “The Milky Way Photographer of the Year”, an award-winning annual list that inspires hundreds of thousands of people to go out and photograph the Milky Way.

You’ve probably seen Dan in…

John will be the second 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 and is an avid educator who has helped many through courses, presentations, and his unique YouTube channel.

Ascen is a professional photographer based in the USA. She has lived and traveled all around the world, and she is an expert in long exposure and night photography.

Apart from shooting, Ascen’s passion is sharing her knowledge with others, and she has been running photography tours worldwide over the last few years.

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

What to being 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 astrophotography workshop focuses on Milky Way nightscapes and not on deep-sky imaging. However, you can bring a telephoto/telescope and take your own deep-sky photos if you like.

 

 

Kangaroos keeping watch in the Australian Outback

Clothing

Temperatures in the Australian Outback during the month of 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
Money

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.

Documentation

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.

Accommodations

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).

Broken Hill outback resort in Broken Hill, Australia

Hiking

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?

Flights

This Australian Outback photo tour will begin at Broken Hill Airport (BHQ), where we’ll pick you up at 1:30 PM.

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

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

Meals

Meals are not included. Most days, we will eat snacks/picnic to maximize the time for photography and do a big lunch in one of the local restaurants each day.

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

Transportation

All transportation and fuel costs are included during the tour. We’ll be travelling in four 5-seat vehicles for the entire trip.

For driving, we will need an assistant driver among our group. We will offer a discount of $250 USD off the trip price to the driving volunteer.

Roads are very straight and easy to drive in Australia, and the vehicles we will be driving will most likely have automatic transmissions, but please consider 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?

Immersive

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.

Intimate

Our Australia Photo Tour is limited to small groups with a ratio of no more than 4 students per instructor. This is also an important factor for providing the attentive instruction you need during the tour.

Exclusive

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.

Dedicated

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.

Proven

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.

Unforgettable

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.

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:

Glenn
Dan made certain everyone had the best experience and opportunity to capture photos that will long be enjoyed. His knowledge of choosing locations to make the best use of the time available and his recommendations for camera settings was greatly appreciated. Great job! I plan on going with Dan on future trips.
Glenn Mohs
Capture The Atlas offers excellent photography workshops for those who want to learn Milky Way photography in detail. Dan and Daniel were knowledgeable and considerate instructors who competently worked with participants of different skill levels, making all feel included. It is wise to do the assigned homework before the workshop to gain full value of their expertise.
Sharon Lindsay
Federico
Dan is an amazing instructor! I learned a lot. Dan spent time with everyone in the group and gave us a lot of recommendations and tips. The locations were perfect and the entire trip was perfectly planned. Dan is an expert in night photography. He shared with us his techniques, recommendations and process to capture the night sky. I highly recommend to anyone who is interested in diving much deeper into night photography and landscapes.
Federico Ponte
Dan was a great workshop leader. His knowledge was well above the level of most night photography workshops. With Dan's patient guidance, I managed to use a star tracker for the first time and to capture great images. I highly recommend Dan, especially if you are a seasoned night photographer and looking for personalized attention in a small group.
Graham Marriott
Lauren
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
Hiram
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

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

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 in one of the most impressive skies in the world to shoot our cosmos.

Designing this trip was one of our main goals throughout 2022, and we are happy to offer a unique experience that nobody has offered on a photo tour before.

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

Dan

Dan Zafra photography - Capture the Atlas

DAN ZAFRA