This is easily my best photo tour ever. The Australian Outback is an incredibly inspiring landscape for photographers, but most people need months of driving to explore the remote charms of the bush, the desert and the top end. Indeed I've spent months in recent years getting myself out to shoot various parts of the Outback. When I met the guys at Air Adventure Australia I knew the combination would be sensational.
Our first run of this tour was in May 2009, and it wont be the last. Three things make this a great tour. Firstly the scenery is stunning. Massive canyons and monoliths in the Red Centre, remote coastline of the Kimberley, birds and crocs in the far north of Australia, cattle stations and mountain ranges dotting the rest of the trip. Second reason this tour works is the excellent service of Air Adventure Australia. Great accommodation, close ties with local operators on the ground and a willingness to re-arrange the schedule to ensure we make the most of sunset opportunities. They really get it.
Finally, the whole concept of taking a private aircraft to hop into remote regions is just fabulous. The twin-engine plane is small enough to land on dusty tracks, but fast enough to make long hops across the Outback in 2 hours stints. You shoot in the morning light, get aboard the plane and arrive in time for the afternoon and sunset. Perfect.
This is not an inexpensive tour, but it is exceptional value. Australia is not cheap for a holiday, and the cost of fuel and accommodation goes through the roof once you get into rural areas. Maintaining the small-group style adds pressure to the price. Personally I don't believe a group of 15 people qualifies as a "small group". My maximum group size is 8 people, and once we put a pilot, tour leader and photographic instructor into the plane we only have 8 seats remaining. Perfect.
I say this tour offers great value, because all costs are included. Every meal is covered, every transfer and every entrance fee. Souvenirs are your major expense, which can be very expensive when you land the plane in a remote indigenous community and start buying up artwork. But this is a once in a lifetime tour and the travellers who join us are naturally inclined to make a once in a lifetime purchase. Indigenous art is truly special, as it reflects the beauty of the landscape.
After the last flying photo tour of the Australian Outback I made a new edition of the "Photography for Travellers" book, filled with images from across the country - most of which were shot during the tour. For every participant of the trip we provide a copy of the book to accompany the journey.